Argentina 2009 – Day 9

Well, the best-laid plans did not come to pass. We got up a little bit late, and we could have attempted the bus ride into Paraguay, but we were worried that we would not have enough time as a buffer should there be a problem with the bus. We did not want to be stranded in another country and miss our flight to boot. Sadly, this means that I will only get two countries on this trip out of the four intended. Then again, I am glad I will have to do a proper trip into Brazil to visit all that it has to offer.

So after breakfast, we decided to head to the Visitor Center complex – ironic that we had waited until the last moment in the park to see what most see first. We took the Ecological Train down to the central station and walked around the various gift shops. I ventured a little further to the interpretation center, something any good National Park must have. I was there at the same time as a middle school group, and even though most of the displays were in Spanish, they had a few English notes to give me the basics. The displays were in two sections – one for flora and fauna, and the other about the people who inhabited the region from the Native Americans to the European settlers. It was interesting to browse, but since we did not have a lot of time, I skipped the movie. I met back up with Gary and Mom and we headed back on the train to check out of our room.

I was hurting from the sunburn, but as long as I was careful putting the backpack on and off, I would be OK. We hung out in the lobby for about a half an hour taking some final photos. After breakfast, I had finally figured out how to get my iPhone connected to the free WiFi. It kept crashing, but was able to try a few different settings and it came alive. I wish I had gotten the two-hour option because now that we were checked out, I could not access it.

It was now time to get the taxi to Iguazu International Airport, and head back to Buenos Aires. After checking our bags, we headed upstairs to get to the gate. Apparently, the Aerolineas Argentinas flight was two hours late and was going to depart near the same time as our LAN flight. This caused some pandemonium at the Pre-board check in desk where one person told the LAN people to line up on one side and the Aerolineas people to be in another. The lines eventually crossed after the LAN line stopped moving. It was all sorted out (not without some British lady getting all p.o.’d because she was in the wrong line and we were going ahead of her) and we made it into the boarding area. More pandemonium ensued as the LAN flight had to do the walk of shame down the stairs and board via ladder. We got back at Aerolineas as we departed first.

This was one of the bumpiest flights I have been on recently. It seems all my flights over South America have been very turbulent – perhaps due to all that tropical uplifting! We had another snack box of Habana crackers (now with Pork flavored crackers and chocolate covered orange flavored crackers). After the turbulence and a brief shower from the flight attendant, we settled into a routine flight.

Back in Buenos Aires, we collected our things and headed to our hotel. We were not 100% sure which Marriott we were staying at, but we headed for the historic Plaza Hotel. Turns out we guessed right, and we were indeed at this great hotel. This hotel was built in the early 1900s and had a great old regal hotel feel about it. No rollaway available, means I get my first big bed since last Saturday! After we were settled in, we headed for a quick shopping trip down Florida street and my high school Spanish ordered McDonald’s. It was not very good and does not make me yearn for more. We walked down the Avenida and looked at all the trinkets and such and I had to buy something to get me through the next day since we are not getting back to our regular clothes until tomorrow night. I misread one of the signs and instead of getting 4 pairs for the price of three, I got the special price for three. The lady was nice and between my little Spanish and her little English, we got the deal done.

I saw a store called Prototype that I want to check out another day since by this time almost everything was closed. Back in our room, we ordered some dessert and called it a night. Tomorrow is our second attempt to get to Uruguay, and hopefully all will go as planned!