Argentina Again: Hostels, Hassles & Iguazú Falls Revisited

The border crossing from Brazil into Argentina is efficient and well-organized. I created a bit of a fuss when I pulled over, got off the bike and searched for an Aduana officer to pitch my plight about my temporary import permit. Shaking his head while waving a fellow officer over I was a bit concerned when he explained that I’d likely be in for a heavy “multa” (fine) if things were as I said — I had not cancelled out. He scanned the paper work and handed to his compadre. They mumbled and i couldn’t understand their spanish. He handed the paper back to me pointing to some scribble that showed I still had two more weeks. He suggested I enjoy the falls but get back to Brazil before those two weeks expire if I wanted to keep my motorcycle or prevent a huge fine.

Iguazu Arg Bird

Taking a walk to the falls.

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At Argentina you get closer and practically in there. What you lose is the scope and scale of the expanse of this natural beauty. You need to see both sides.

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Relieved I felt good to be back in Argentina. It was all familiar. I understood the language, the prices were better and there was better wine. I stayed at a massive youth hostel where sadly in my bunk room a mouse or rat ate through one of my precious dry bags which had been home for a couple weeks to a dwindling yet tasty supply of trail mix. Management didn’t react nor take kindly to the suggestion that they keep my useless dry bag (it was a small 8 liter procured from REI some time back). Not even phased by the fact that the place was rat-infested and earlier they did nothing to correct the toilet that continued to leak making a shower or a piss and a shit a wading affair. (please excuse my colloquialisms, I mean no offense)

What boggles my mind is the number of younger travelers traveling in groups of 2,3 or 4 that when totaled pay more than they would at a regular hotel. For example, as a solo traveler I paid $9 for my bed that night. But if three friends paid $27 they would be paying more than the hotel I checked just down the street: for a double room only $21. And you get a private bathroom, linens, towels and better security. Sure the social aspect of a hostel is a seductive part of travel in your late teens or early twenties, in fact a group of travelers from the UK and Belgium who I befriended were happy to invite me behind the hostel to secretly and privately imbibe in part of a joint, I passed, but notwithstanding the notion that a hostel is a cheaper way to travel is very questionable, depending on how one travels.

Perhaps it was a group of these hostel-inclined travelers that I ran into at the El Tio Querido (recommended) restaurant in Igauzú in Argentina. Actually, I was a bit embarrased this evening of my national heritage. The group of 7 or 8 included three inebriated guys from California, one who jumped up on stage, grabbed the microphone and started singing along to an Elton John song the instrumental focused two-piece band was playing. He had all the moves but forgot most of the words. While some found this funny, it was, well, the alcohol talking after all.

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