Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bulletins From BA #35

Bulletins From BA #35
09 septiembre 2014

¡Hola! there… Rodger French here.

Photo Update Alert:
  “Iguazu”  “Bariloche”

Another pair of visiting female friends, another opportunity to visit exotic locales on “La Lista.” Making the most of a short time, and with the assistance of our ever-reliable travel agent, we intrepidly sallied forth.

Parque Nacional Iguazú - Iguazú Falls is located on the Argentine border with Brazil, where the Iguazú River tumbles over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, resulting in a profusion of cataracts that altogether create one of the world’s más magnífico espectáculos de agua. We spent one day touring, led by an excellent local guide and in the company of a dozen members of a Syrian family. The late winter weather was perfect (zero bugz) and the parque relatively uncrowded.

[Turista Sidebar - If one has an extra day to linger in the area, it is common practice to cross the frontier to the Brazilian side, where a more panoramic view awaits. Another time, perhaps.]

Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi - San Carlos de Bariloche is a small city located on Lago Nahuel Huapi, in the foothills of the Andes near the Chilean border. The city itself is uninspiring, but the surrounding area is beautiful and a huge tourist mecca. Because we rented a cabin and a car, we were largely able to avoid the busloads of teenagers dressed in hideous parkas looking for ever-decreasing skiing/snowboarding opportunities. Highlights of our days there included:

- Llao Llao, located in the parque, is one of the world’s great hotels. Very posh, very picturesque, very ruling class. We breezed in for an excellent buffet lunch and the concurrent informal fashion show, featuring expensively upholstered ladies and their shlubby husbands.

- Villa La Angostura is a lovely small town roughly 100 km on the other side of the lake from our cabin. The drive is splendid (once you clear the endless speed bumps in Bariloche) and the views spectacular.

- Trucha, that is, trout. Smoked to perfection. (The Bariloche area is also very popular with fishermen.) We provisioned at a local shoppe and, on our last evening, dined on trout ravioli in almond sauce at a lakeside eatery. Rest assured, these fish did not die in vain.

From Bariloche, our friends continued on to El Calafate and Perito Moreno Glacier (“Bulletins From BA #13”) while A.J. and I flew home. Upon their return to Buenos Aires, they had just two more nights in BA, so we decided to kick it out, pony up the big bucks, and go to a Tango Show.

- La Ventana was recommended to us by an expat friend from Los Angeles who is an accomplished tango dancer. The tango industry is huge, raking in mucho dinero and supporting hundreds of musicians, dancers, and others. We decided on dinner and a show and it was pretty much what we expected: Expensive, but nice atmosphere, decent food, and a production that featured talented performers and a not unreasonable quantity of cheesiness. In short, un espectáculo para turistas. The musicians and dancers (one couple in particular) were very skilled and occasionally looked like they were actually enjoying themselves.

And then our friends were off, one to England and the other to the U.S., with promises to visit us at our next foreign posting. Meanwhile “La Lista” is down to two places (for me, anyway): Chile and Ushuaia, Argentina, aka “Fin del Mundo.” The end of the world.