Stories from my 14-month study abroad in Buenos Aires, my 16-month post-college move to Miami, and my get-me-the-hell-out-of-Miami move to Denver

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm Alive!

I'm Alive!!!

Sorry for not posting anything in a super long time. I've got a lot of ideas for some future posts, and hopefully I can start making something out of them. I'm going to get some good pictures of the buildings, the streets, the gorgeous parks, etc, and let you see them all.

Anyways, three weeks ago, I went on a 5 day trip to the Ibera Nature Reserve. Ibera is a Guarani word meaning "Brilliant Water" and it's definitly no lie. The sunsets were amazing, and this was one from our first night. You can see some of the smoke from the pasture fires going on right now.

To start out, 20 IESers and myself loaded into luxury coach buses at at around 9pm. After doing some reading, eating some popcorn I made for the ride, and trying to get some sleep, we were awaken at our destination...or so we thought. It was 5:30 in the AM, and they told us that now we had a three hour ride to the resort.

The only way to get there was in the ultimate 4X4 trucks down a two-lane dirt road.

The landscape in the province of Corrientes is really interesting. It's exactly how I imagine the African savannah to be. It's endless land, with those little "savanahh" trees here and there. All that was missing was a pride of lions and some water buffalo.

The resort was right on the water, Lake Ibera, and it was amazing. Every morning we woke up to cereal, toast, coffee and fresh yogurt at 9am. From there we got into 15 person boats and cruised around the lake looking at all the Caiman and Capybaras. Everyone assumed we MIGHT see some of these creatures, but this place was swarming with wildlife. They formally made it into a nature reserve in 1983 to protect the species from being poached, especially the Caiman for their leather. A lot of the park rangers are past hunters who now protect the park.

After our morning boat trip, we'd come back to a great three course lunch. We had tortas, pasta, salads,etc. Everything is made fresh on-site. They're a very eco-friendly resort, and later I found out that the area is a prominent eco-tourism location.

After lunch we had 2 hours to relax by the pool, sleep in hammocks, or do whatever we pleased. I did a lot of reading in one of the most comfortable hammocks ever, which I dubbed, The Womb.

I also biked around the tiny little city, Colonia Carlos Pellegrini. The north of Argentina LOVES their siesta and we were all about it. Also, many people in the city, because they never have to leave, use horses to get around town. These two little boys followed us back to our lodge one night showing off on their pony.

After our siesta time, we took our afternoon trip. One day it was walking through a forest and looking at/listening to Howler Monkeys, and another day it was a canoe trip across the lake to go for another hike through the savanahh.

What city in Argentina doesn't have at least ONE futbol field.

Upon returning from our afternoon trip, we had tea time. Everyday they had three new types of snacks ranging from torts to cookies. After tea, we had an hour or so to hang out and anxiously await the sound of the dinner bell. Why you ask...because dinners were AMAZING!

All the dinners were great, including a hearty northern Argentine stew and some vealish meat with gravy, but I'll highlight the last asado.

The cream of the crop! Argentina's version of a BBQ.

To start off, a man from the city came specifically to cook the asado. Everyone has their own special way of cooking, just like in the States, and this guy was the city's best. He prepared aspen embers and then got started on the cooking. As we was cooking, we started with our first course, which was empanadas and salads. The salads were good, and it was nice to get some greens in my diet again, but the empanadas were boss! Meat/cheese/onion stuffed "hot-pocket" like creations which I'm addicted to. After empanadas, the meat started coming. Every 15 minutes, the staff came around with huge plates of meat for us to eat. First was lamb chops, then ribs, then tenderloin, then chorizo(amazing sausage), then blood sausage, and a whole lot more. It was probably one of the best meals I've had since I've been here.

Here we have some very "Ontario-like" traffic blockers.

After dinner on the first night, I taught everyone Celebrity, and it became the "after-dinner" game for the rest of the week. Good times and very good laughs. Also, because we were in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, the stars were awe-inspiring. I've never seen anything like it, even in the middle of Wisconsin. The milky way was like a white cloud floating over the resort every night. I also got to meet about 15 new people who I didn't know before the trip, many of whom I now hang out with on a daily basis.

A bit long winded, but an all around great week.

A Capybara, the world's largest rodent

A family of Capybara

Caiman just hanging out

Our guide Sebastian

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

No comments: