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Argentina flying by

Bloged in The gap 2010 by gu-ru on 05:31 AM
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Well, now we did it. Fleeing from the cold, we made it in 21 days from northern Patagonia to Brasil, to the Iguazu falls, to be precise. The 3 of us are pretty exhausted now as we had to cover up to 500km per day during the past 2 weeks. The reason for this hurry were Pimientas papers made by the chilean border vet. We only crossed into Brasil on their last day of validity; otherwise, we would have had to do the whole paperwork all over again – that’s what we thought. But the brasilian border official just joked with us (we only guessed the joking by his occasional smile as we understood less than a quarter of what he said). The he took his time to create all the necessary paperwork for our car. He barely looked at Pimientas documents from both sides, shook his head and said: “we’re not so strict in Brasil”… He was more interested to look up Switzerland on the Internet and telling us it was one of his dream destinations.

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Alright, besides all the hurry we still had time in Argentina to squeeze in some sightseeing. We couldn’t pass by world famous Península Valdés, after all it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, so we stayed a couple of days in Puerto Madryn, the city closest to the peninsula. Inbetween lies El Doradillo, a small protected area from where you can do whale watching. At this time of year, the whales mums are all over the bay with their “little ones” (5 meters and 4 tons each). Farther away you see the orcas jumping out of the water and occasionally the characteristic tail fin. An impressive show.
The peninsula itself was rather disappointing. We found the entrance fee quite high, but the clerk told us there were still many animals to watch and all those whales… We stayed 2 days and drove about 400km in total and saw: no whales, a dozen sea lions from half a kilometer, a small colony of penguins from even farther away. And dogs weren’t allowed to leave the car in the whole island, another thing the entrance clerk had ‘forgotten’ to tell us. After that experience, we stayed another night outside of the park at the beach in El Doradillo. There’s nothing like going to sleep while the whales thunderously exhale right next to you.
We remember mainly one thing of the long distance between Puerto Madryn and Rosario: everything flat and straight ahead. For hours we drove straight with very few actual curves. Especially at night it was impressive, when we saw another car’s headlights but only cross the car more than 20 minutes later, both driving at 80 to 100km/h. We spent the nights at truck drivers petrol stations, which mostly had hot showers, or we would drive a bit into small side roads off the main road.

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In Rosario, we had our first t-shirt day in how many weeks? We can’t say anymore. But the next day, we wore again our warm jackets when we visited the city center. We quite liked it. We also watched a bit the huge ocean steamers, which can come upriver up to here. Then there’s the monument for the argentinian flag with all the patriotism there is.
3 days later, we finally crossed the river into the province of Entre Rios, of which we had heard all kinds of horror stories of corrupt police trying to rip off foreigners. And indeed, on the second day we enter a routine control post on the road, Mo driving, and they wave us to the side. The officer has a very close look at our fire extinguisher. Then, after some sneaking around the car and controlling various papers with their stamps, his eyes start to look triumphant. He asks Mo to leave the car and informs her that we don’t have the reflecting sticker, and that also the max speed sticker was missing: two severe offenses! He asks Mo to step into their office, without her husband, it would be a minor thing… Of course, we go in together, and the spectacle unfolds there. The fines add up to almost 260USD he shows us on some printed list. We ask to see a book of law to prove his claim. “This list is a summary, no need to consult the law book.” But then he produces a heavy book and throws it on the table in front of us. I ask for the article and he starts searching in the book as if it was his first time ever. After a while he can’t help but open the correct article, which, of course, says what I had been telling since the beginning (thanks to Kai and Nadja): The two missing stickers are only required for commercially used vehicles, servicio de transporte. He just says: “But you are transporting the bed, aren’t you?” (*lol*). His excuses become desperate. (All the pickup trucks have these stickers as well, didn’t you see?) But we stay firm, and finally he asks us to step outside, locks the door, leaves the building through another door, confers with his boss at the side of the road, comes back through the other door, opens the office door from the inside and lets us in again. He then discloses to us, that, indeed, the law would say as I (Tino) had said. (Look at that, he just learned something as well?!?!… that naughty boy!) He returns our papers and murmurs something along: we should still put the stickers as soon as possible and dismisses us. Well, that was quick. We were prepared for some hours of fighting, but it didn’t take more than 15 minutes. Thank you!

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In the Misiones province, we visited some ruins of a Jesuit mission from the 17th century and headed directly for the Iguazu falls. They are very impressive, even though we had only 10 minutes of sunshine that day. It’s a bit strange to meet so many international tourists, to speak English again, and to walk in lines on the bridges and paths. Unfortunately, Pimi couldn’t come in so we hurried to not make her wait in the car for too long even though she had this huge bone. We cross into Brazil that same evening after having met Samira and Gabriel at the petrol station, another swiss couple with their car. Hopefully we will meet them soon again, they have the same way as we.

1 Comment »

  1. Hello Mo & Tino!! I love reading about your adventures! And dreaming.. Take care! xo

    Trackback by Maja (SKIP Oz) Monday November 12th, 2012 10:24 PM

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