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August 14, 2005
Jody writes:

See our Esteros del Ibera photos.
See our Iguazu falls photos.

The bus was crap - a small, tin crate on threadbare tires, but at the least when we started our journey to Esteros del Ibera we were driving on tarmac roads. Five minutes later (and for the following three hours), the road turned to dirt and was so bumpy that we were afraid of opening our mouths in case our teeth shook out.

Esteros del Ibera is a nature reserve in north-east Argentina. Not many people go there, which means the animals are extremely friendly, at the cost of crap transport and boulder-filled roads.

We were heading there because Amy was set on seeing a Capybara. It's the world's biggest rodent - imagine a guinea pig the size of a pig-pig and you're there. (More information about the creatures from 'The Happy Capy' website). We didn't need to drive too deep into the park to spot one - a whole family of the giant beasts blocked the road on the way in.

The village we stayed in was so laid back that most of the locals wore slippers 24/7. On our first day, we took a boat out on a lake and spotted loads more Capybaras wading in the mud. The boat got so close to one that we could have stroked it, but the Capybara marked his disapproval by blowing a load of noisy bubbles in the mud with his arse. Perhaps he was unhappy that we ate one of his relatives in Peru.

Aligator, extreme close up
A bloody great aligator


We also got within feet of aligators, an anaconda, birds and deer - few of which gave a damn about our presence. Later in the day we went horse riding and following what happened in the Bolivian pampas, this time I got the crazy horse. The bugger bucked and flinched whenever I tried to steer him and he had it in for another horse in our group, riden by one of two English guys we'd befriended. Not happy with just biting and nudging the other horse, my equestrian nightmare got within striking distance and THUNK; cracked the other horse on the jaw with a headbutt. I spent three hours on horseback, braced to be chucked off in a way that hopefully wouldn't break my back. Eventually, I made it back to the village in one piece.

The previous week we went to Iguazu falls - a mammoth set of falls that we walked around and got soaked from. Before that we spent a few days in Villa General Belgrano - a bizarre German-theme town set up by disgraced German soldiers who were interned in the country during World War Two. I found it a strange place because it celebrates it's heritage by selling souvenirs emblazoned with the name of the warship that took the soldiers to Argentina (the 'Graf Spree' - more info).

An Argentine friend we made pointed to the name on a T-shirt and asked what it meant. "It was a Nazi ship!" I offered, helpfully. The lady in the shop had other ideas. "It wasn't a Nazi ship," she said. "It was mistaken for a Nazi ship." Why is there a statue of a German soldier in the park then, I wondered? Anyway, nice beer there.

Where are we? In Gualeguaychu, which our guidebook describes as "sleepy," but I'd put it closer to "comatose." We're only here to catch a bus into Uruguay later today.

Web cafes are so poor in Argentina that they should all be taken outside and shot. We'll try and blog more before we get home, and hopefully get some photos up. You'll all be hearing our stories for months when we get back to London, so you should all bloody well be pleased by the break.

posted at 4:34 PM | link

10 Comments:

  • London will seem boring after this, how will you cope? Not only that you have a week of sleepy Laxfield first.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:53 AM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:16 AM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:23 AM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:24 AM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:33 AM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:35 AM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:45 AM  

  • Sadly, our blog has been found by Spam Robots, which means messages are appearing about debt consolidation, viagra and 'hot girls in YOUR area.'

    So, I've changed the system to hopefully stop this, but now if you want to comment you'll need to register with blogger while adding your comment. You just need a username and password, I think. It's simple.

    By Blogger Jody, at 11:56 AM  

  • I came here straight away after reading on BBC News about a plane crash in a Peruvian jungle which killed half the 100 passengers on board.

    It appears you weren't near the tragedy thankfully.

    Hope you are enjoying yourself,
    Matteh - x

    By Blogger Matteh, at 10:17 AM  

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For older entries, see the archives at the top right-hand side of this page.
Jody and Amy have finished their 10 month adventure around the world, that began Nov 2, 2004, and ended Sep 2, 2005. They're back home in London now, doing normal things, like going to work and drinking tap water. You can see a map of what was their planned route, but we didn't quite follow it.
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