Friday, December 08, 2006

Buenos Aires y Fuerzabruta (26/nov/2006)

En un plis plas estábamos otra vez en Buenos Aires para coger el vuelo a Ushuaia donde nos esperaba nuestro barco para llevarnos a la Antártica. Rápidamente aprovechamos para ver a Fuerzabruta, un grupo de circo acrobático moderno (no se muy bien como describirlo) primos-hermanos de De la Guarda, otro grupo al que habíamos visto en Londres hacia unos años. A pesar de que De la Guarda está en la vanguardia en este tipo de espectáculos Fuerzabruta no le tiene nada que envidiar.

Mar del Plata (22-25/nov/2006)

Para que os voy a engañar, las playas de Argentina NO son como las de Brasil pero no dejan de ser playas.

Mar del Plata es el Benidorm de Argentina pero en temporada baja se está muy bien. Es una ciudad bastante grande y la playa no es gran cosa pero nos sirvió para reponer el moreno y descansar antes de ir emprender el gran viaje al séptimo continente. Tuvimos algún día de mal tiempo que aprovechamos para ir a ver la mayor colección de conchas del mundo. Desde que entramos en una tienda de conchas del pacifico en Brasil no hemos parado de alucinar con ellas. Aunque no se si nos estamos volviendo raros porque le recomendamos el museo a otros chicos y les pareció un autentico coñazo.

En Mar del Plata nos quedamos en un hostal de lo más familiar. No era gran cosa pero se estaba genial y te sentías como en casa. Nos gustó tanto que a lo mejor volvemos unos días más.

Mi Buenos Aires querido (19-21/nov/2006)

Y allí estábamos otra vez, en el mismo hostal, a sólo unos metros de la famosa Avenida de Mayo, 10 meses después, en nuestro querido Buenos Aires.

Esta vez veíamos todo con otros ojos, ya somos viajeros experimentados y sabemos como funcionan las cosas. Solo íbamos a pasar 2 días en Buenos Aires y nuestro principal objetivo era comprar ropa de nieve para la Antártica. ¡Y lo conseguimos! después de patear durante horas y aprenderlo todo sobre las diferentes capas térmicas e aislantes de cada uno de los fabricantes de ropa de abrigo por fin encontramos lo que necesitábamos. Ya podíamos respirar tranquilos así que nos fuimos a ver un show de tango. Menudo timo! No había ni un argentino viendo en el local y hasta salieron unos andinos a tocar el cóndor pasa. Esta visto que para ver un tango en condiciones hay que conocer a la persona adecuada.

Misiones Jesuitas (16-18/nov/2006)

Tras visitar Iguazú fuimos a Posadas, en Argentina, para ver las misiones Jesuitas más famosas de Sudamérica, las misiones de San Ignacio en Argentina y las de Encarnación en Paraguay.

Las misiones de Argentina están bastante deterioradas pero entre los trabajos de restauración y las explicaciones del guía (de vez en cuando nos toca uno bueno) nos hicimos muy bien a la idea de lo que pasaba por aquellos lugares en el siglo XVI. Al ver los restos del confesionario de los indios se me cayó el alma al suelo. ¿Que pinta un indígena confesándose frente a un jesuita?

Debido a unas lluvias torrenciales y a que las carreteras en Paraguay no están asfaltadas no pudimos ir a ver las misiones de dicho país. Otra vez será…

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fuerzabruta (26/Nov/06)

Ushuaia, Argentina

Returned to Buenos Aires as we had the flight to Ushuaia the next day. As mentioned before, we have three tickets to various spectacles, and today was the day of the first of them, a performance art show called Fuerzabruta. It was started by a guy from De La Guarda, which we had seen in London a few years ago and really loved (a bunch of bungee jumpers doing all sorts of crazy shit above you to the sound of cool music and amazing lighting). Fuerzabruta did not disappoint. Not as impacting as De La Guarda (probably because then it was the first time we saw something like that), but with more innovative ideas.

5.5 times cheaper than the tango show. And 5.5 times better.

Mar del Plata (22-25/Nov/06)

Ushuaia, Argentina

Mar del Plata is where half the Porteños (Buenos Aires residents) go for their summer holidays. Probably all of them will be there this summer as the other half normally goes to Uruguay but Argentina and Uruguay are having a bit of a tiff at the moment over pollution by some paper factories on the border.

But now it is low season so we wanted to check it out without the crowds. It would be the equivalent of being slightly south of Madrid, at the end of spring, so weather can be a bit dodgy. First day we managed to spend the morning on the beach, but around 3ish we had to leave as it was getting cold (this is where the Patagonian winds begin) and went to a really amazing museum - a huge (in fact one of the biggest in the world) collection of shells. Well, we really liked it, but we later spoke to 3 other people and they weren't too impressed. Maybe being mesmerized because of suffering from a hangover helped.

Next day it rained, so not much happened. But the next two days we were back on the beach, giving our tan a last blast before heading south.

Cataratas de Iguazú (13-15/nov/2006)

Sin palabras!

Pensaba que ya no nos quedaba nada más impactante por ver en nuestro viaje, aparte de la Antártida claro, pero que equivocada estaba. Iguazú es uno de los top 10 del año. Es uno de los lugares donde más he sentido la fuerza y belleza de la naturaleza.

La mitad de las cataratas están en territorio argentino y la otra mitad en territorio brasileño así que para ver las de un país tienes que ir a los miradores y pasarelas del país vecino. El primer día fuimos al lado argentino y recorrimos todos las pasarelas con la boca abierta, hacia un día precioso y no nos podíamos creer lo que estabamos viendo. El segundo día fuimos al lado brasileño y otra vez se nos caía la baba. Las vistas desde los dos países son muy diferentes y hay mucha controversia entre cual es la mejor. Lo ideal es visitar los dos lados pero si no hay tiempo las vistas desde Brasil resumen mucho mejor lo que es Iguazú.

Circle complete! (19-21/Nov/06)

Ushuaia, Argentina

Arrived back at our starting point after more than 10 months of hard travelling. The circle is complete, but the trip isn't - there are still quite a few things to see, but we plan to use Buenos Aires as a base to leave all our gear as we shoot off in various directions.

As it was Sunday, the first thing we did was to go to San Telmo, which as fans of our blog will remember, we visited when we first arrived but it was raining. This time we saw the Sunday market in all its glory. And I finally had a steak I could cry over. Everybody goes on about how wonderful Argentinean beef is but until now I had only one steak I could call mind-blowing. And that was in an Argentinean restaurant in Mexico. My lack of amazing meat may have something to do with the kind of budget restaurants and the cook-it-yourself dinners you have to do when on a travellers budget. So after the mouth-watering treat; what better than a four hour siesta?

Next day we set out to hit the shops. Mountain gear shops to be specific - we had to buy a few things for the upcoming Antarctic adventure. It was a hard day, but in the end we got everything and more - the gear here was ridiculously cheap it being nearly summer here now. After that we went to a tango show.

Now, we had been recommended one, which on second thoughts we decided to avoid. The Lonely Planet describes it as "the closest thing to Vegas", it even has a horse on stage, and a chunk of an Evita musical. No way, we wanted something more real and authentic, so we chose the oldest tango theatre in town. You'd think that would mean escaping a puerile, superficial touristy crap quasi-tango show, but you'd be wrong. The price of the tickets should have been a giveaway - no Argentinean could afford this, it was the same price as the total price of three other tickets we had also bought: a performance arts show, a concert with 2 of Argentina's best singers, and another with one of Spain's best artists.

Don't get me wrong - the tango was all right. But it was fluffed up. Too much costumes, too much acting, and a very annoying Andean band (which could at least have been introduced by explaining to a clueless audience that Argentina had a bit of Andes up in the northwest) which didn't even play typical Argentinean Andean songs; instead we had 2 Ennio Morricone themes from spaghetti westerns, one Peruvian classic (Peru doesn't even border Argentina), and the most hateful song of all: El bloody Condor bloody Pasa. I hate that song for what it stands for: the dilution of a great culture into something superficial and bland, ready for mass consumption for clueless tourists.

Needless to say, the Andean dudes got the loudest applause at the end of the show.

Anyways, after that, the next day, we went to the airport to see Jaime (Esther's brother in law), who was on his way to the Antarctic. He's going to a Spanish base for a second time to do some measurements on glacier formation. Sadly it doesn't look like we'll see him there, but you never know. After he left (he was just on a short stopover) we took the bus down South to the beach.

Florianapolis (9-12/nov/2006)

Florianapolis es el punto de partida para visitar Ilha Santa Catarina, otro más de los mil puntos costeros altamente recomendados (la verdad es que hay tantas playas recomendadas en Brasil que esto empieza a ser un cachondeo). En la isla hay como 100 playas para ver pero como os podéis imaginar sólo vimos unas pocas. Y que os puedo decir aparte de que todas las playas en Brasil son preciosas!

El tiempo en el sur de Brasil no es tan bueno como en el norte asi que emprendimos ruta a Iguazú antes de tiempo e incluso nos saltamos otra playa altamente recomendada :-) llamada Praia de Rosa que dejaremos para otra ocasión...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Jesuit missions (16-18/Nov/06)

Mar del Plata, Argentina

On the way down to Buenos Aires we had a stopover in Posadas to visit some of the ruins of Jesuit missions in the area (the Jesuits were expelled in 1767 as they got in the way of enslaving and slaughtering the local Indians). We took the bus to San Ignacio Mini for a short tour which was really nice. It is basically a city, as the Jesuits had communist tendencies. Each mission had about 4000 Guarani Indians plus a handful of Jesuits. Food and work was communal and everybody was protected from local slave traders and rich hacienda owners.

The next day we planned to cross the border to see another 2 in Paraguay, but it rained all night and also that morning so we had to ditch it (also because in Paraguay the roads to the missions are dirt tracks) and the next day we headed South.