Thursday, 29 November 2012

Sunday in Santiago

Inside one of the subway stations
For our second full day in Chile we had planned to take a bus to Valparaiso but after a leisurely breakfast we decided that we would rather spend another day exploring Santiago.  We both wanted to visit the relatively new Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Memory and Human Rights) which documents the human rights abuses, repression and censorship that occurred in Chile from 1973 to 1990 under the Pinochet regime.  After checking our maps and guidebook we realized that the museum was so far to the west side of the city that it wasn’t on our maps and we were on the far east side of the city.  After walking what seemed like a million miles on Saturday, we decided to try finding the museum by taking the subway.  Santiago’s subway system is so clean and modern with great signage and clear directions – we loved it!  However, we were taking a wild guess as to which subway stop to get off at and we chose the wrong one.  We ended up at a really neat sort of yard sale/outdoor market that stretched on for blocks. 

After checking on the map app on the iphone we were able to find the museum which turns out to be right across the street from the Quinta Normal metro stop.  We each got an audio guide and spent several hours touring the exhibits in the museum.  It was a stark reminder of the rights and freedoms that we take for granted in our country.
(Admission to Museum – donation; $500CH pesos for audio guide, $1 Canadian; subway fare was $600CH pesos, ~$1.20C)

Outside the Museum of Memory and Human Rights
(no photos allowed inside)
On the wall to the right side is the UN Statement on Universal Human Rights

Back out in the beautiful sunshine, we returned downtown via the subway to visit the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino. John was anxious to see their collection of pre-Columbian artifacts from all of Latin America.  When we finally found the museum, all the doors and windows were boarded up.  There were no signs offering any information, but after doing a search on TripAdvisor when we got home, it turns out that it is closed for renovation for at least one year.  We roamed around the Plaza de Armes, the Cathedral, and a pedestrian shopping plaza on our way to the subway and then ‘home.’   Both of us were amazed at how quickly we were able to get our bearings in Santiago; in no time at all we could find our way easily around the downtown core. 

Once again we went out to restaurant row for a fantastic dinner on an outdoor patio and then off to bed.  We had to be up early the next morning for our 9:20 am flight back to Cordoba.  We were sad to say goodbye to beautiful sunny Santiago and hope to go back and visit there again sometime in the future. 

Airport Bar in the Departure Area - since it was 8 am we went to Starbucks instead.

Weekend in Santiago - Friday/Saturday

Crossing the Andes into Santiago
Last weekend was a long holiday weekend, so John and I decided to take a quick getaway to Santiago Chile. Santiago is only a ninety minute flight from Cordoba and we were able to get a sweet deal on flight and hotel through Expedia. We arrived in Santiago on Friday evening, quickly checked into the Plaza El Bosque Hotel and found that we had a suite with a little kitchenette, dining table, couch, chairs and separate bedroom.  It was located in a beautiful and very clean neighbourhood with lots of excellent restaurants, so after a walk through the parks along the Rio Mapocho we wandered over to restaurant row on Av. Isadora Goyenchea for the first of many wonderful meals that weekend.

Beautiful flowering trees;     Sunset over Santiago

On Saturday morning we took the free city map that John found at the airport and headed out for our self-guided walking tour of Santiago.  First stop was Cerro San Cristobal, the city’s second highest hill.  We wanted to ride the funicular up to the top of the hill but it was closed for repairs.  Luckily there was a free shuttle bus which wound its way up the mountain.  During the ride we were serenaded on board the minibus by a mediocre guitar player/singer who then passed the hat when we reached the summit. At the top we enjoyed the somewhat smoggy view of downtown Santiago from Terraza Bellavista, walked up to see the statue of the Virgen de la Immaculada Concepcion, and wandered around the souvenir shops.  It was hot so we stopped at the refreshment stand for a mote con huesillas which is a very odd looking Chilean concoction of peaches, wheat, and juice that is surprisingly refreshing and delicious.

Smoggy Santiago

Walking through the beautiful parks;       Six foot tall geraniums!

When it was time to head back down again, John suggested we hike back down but I stalled until the bus arrived and we rode back down to the base of the hill in air conditioned comfort, once again serenaded by the same guitar player.  Once we arrived in Barrio Bellavista I convinced John to take the tour of La Chascona, one of the famous poet Pablo Neruda’s residences.  He built the house a bit at a time and it was full of quirky little rooms and odd collectibles.  His house was ransacked right after the military coup in 1973; some of his things were never recovered and his entire library was taken out to the street and burned, but they have brought things from his other homes in Chile to refurnish this one. I thought it was very romantic that he created two designs for the house – one to look like La Chascona (the tangle-haired woman), his wife Matilde and the other a combination of their initials P and M.  We were only allowed to take photos outside and when I asked John to take a photo of the two designs, he looked at me like I was a bit off my rocker, but took it anyway.  I think John was more interested in Neruda the diplomat than Neruda the artist and poet.
(Admission price to La Chascona was $3500CH pesos which is about $7 Canadian).

Street art outside Neruda's home

After a quick visit to The Museo de Belles Artes (admission by donation) we made a quick stop at a cafe for a late lunch where John had a delicious tortilla and I had the world’s worst pizza.  Then we were off again to Plaza de la Constitucion and Palacio de la Moneda, which is the Presidential palace and the site of the dramatic siege that brought Gen. Pinochet to power in 1973.  According to a magazine that I had read on the airplane, there was an art gallery, The Centro Palacio Cultural Palacio la Moneda, with a display of some of Peggy Guggenheim’s collection including works by Picasso, Jackson Pollack and Kandinsky.  In the article, it said that the entrances to the art gallery were at the far right and left hand side of the building.  After a bit of wandering and no sign of any door, we decided we must be at the wrong side of the building and walked an entire block to the other side.  Sure enough, we found the entrance and went in to enjoy the exhibit.  We skipped the rest of the art gallery and only went to the Guggenheim show as we were getting weary, especially me!  By this time we were so far from the hotel we decided to take a taxi back ‘home’ and then found a lovely cafĂ© where we could have a snack and a glass of wine. 

Art installation called 'Out of Sync' in front of La Moneda

Finally sitting down for a beverage and a snack after a long day's walk

After a long nap it was time for another fantastic dinner with a pisco sour as our pre-dinner aperitif. Both Chile and Peru claim credit for the pisco sour, which is a mix of pisco (brandy), lime juice, bitters, simple syrup and egg white.   It was a refreshingly tart drink and the perfect end to a great day.
Admission to the Art Gallery was $5000CH pesos each, about $10 Canadian; taxi ride across the city was $4000CH, about $8 Canadian) 


Monday, 26 November 2012

Cordoba Street Art

After enjoying the Buenos Aires Street Art tour so much, I was delighted to find that our new neighbourhood just outside Barrio Guemes is home to a wide range of street art as well. 

On the way to the grocery store we walk past this large mural on Duarte Quiros, directly across from the police station.  It starts with a grandmother knitting with red yarn and she is one of the Abuelas de 25 de Mayo, the Grandmothers of the 25 of May, who gather each Thursday to remind everyone that their children and grandchildren are still among 'the disappeared' from The Dirty War.   A long piece of red yard winds its way through the faces of some of the missing and is picked up by a young woman.  I think that she represents the young people of today picking up the duty to remember from the elderly woman. 

These are a few of the pieces on our block (Artigas 400 block):

Including this one, which is our view from the balcony and our bedroom window.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Travel - Argentina Style

When travelling in Argentina, there are a few things to remember that will make your travel a bit less stressful.

If a local flight has a departure time of 9 am, do not expect the plane to depart at 9 am.  Every flight we've taken on LAN or Aerolineas has left at least 20 minutes late, with 40 minutes being about the average.  When travelling by air, you have to assume that you need lots of time for connecting flights as your first flight will not arrive on time. 

If they haven't sold enough tickets, it seems that they will cancel the flight altogether and you have to rebook on another flight.  Always check your flight status in advance! So far, we've only had that happen on one flight from Cordoba to BA.  When Shelbe and Madison were visiting, we had the same thing happen with our ferry ride back to Buenos Aires from Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.  We had first class tickets on the 5:30 pm high speed Buquebus ferry.  We arrived at the ferry dock with our souvenirs and some snacks that we had bought at the local kiosco as snacks on the ferry were expensive and lacking in variety.  When we arrived the ticket agent crossed out 17:30 on my ticket and wrote 21:00.  Why? I tried to ask.  "Cancelado."  I didn't bother asking why as I knew I wouldn't have enough Spanish to understand the answer.  There was a young girl, in her early 20s, sitting by herself in the ferry terminal weeping.  She probably had some event or commitment in Buenos Aires that evening and she wasn't going to make it.  I felt so bad for her. 

Killing time in Uruguay

When I texted John, he said that they probably didn't sell enough tickets.  The girls and I killed time by hanging out at the beach and then at a cafe.  We got to the ferry dock early, since we knew that all of the 5:30 passengers and all of the 9:00 passengers would be on the same ferry.  Sure enough the ferry still wasn't full.  

This morning John left the apartment at 5:30 am to take an early morning flight to Buenos Aires for what was supposed to be a two day trip to their Pacheco plant.  However when he got there this morning, everyone was talking about a big general strike tomorrow.  Now strikes in Argentina are fairly common and usually each group is striking for just one day.  The day we got home from Iguazu the cab drivers seemed to be on strike and instead of waiting five minutes for a cab after our late flight home, we stood in the cold and the rain and waited in line for an hour at the airport.  With the general strike tomorrow a number of the unions are striking and all flights are cancelled so John (and the secretarial staff) were scrambling to get him a flight back out of Buenos Aires tonight. After dinner he texted to let me know that he would be on the 9 pm flight.  At 9:38 they were boarding and hopefully he should be back to the apartment by midnight.  What a long day!

For my trip to Patagonia in December, I'm booked on the December 14th flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires, spending the weekend in Buenos Aires and then flying home for Christmas on December 17.  My plan is that if things go awry I've given myself a few extra days to get back to Buenos Aires in time for my flight home (and in time for my birthday!)  Fingers crossed!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Street Art

I was reading an article in the online edition of the Windsor Star today about the terrible problem of graffiti and tagging in the LaSalle area.  Here in Argentina, at least in Buenos Aires and Cordoba, there is an entirely different view of street art, which is that it is art. Areas are marked off for artists to use, festivals are held where street artists can meet and work together.  A new market is being built in the north end of the city and the outside of the building is already marked off with a grid so that artists will be able to paint their works on the walls.  Most artists sign their work, often adding their email or flickr account so that potential customers can contact them.  Perhaps if street artists in Ontario were able to take their time and produce quality work then communities and artists would  benefit.

When the girls were here visiting us in Buenos Aires in October we went on the Buenos Aires Street Art Tour which was one of the top recommended activities on TripAdvisor and I thought I would be something that my artist kids would really enjoy.  Matt gave us a three hour guided tour and his knowledge and passion for the subject were amazing. 

Imagine my surprise when John and I moved to our new neighbourhood in Cordoba to find that we have great street art in our neighbourhood as well.  We didn't have that in Barrio General Paz or Nuevo Cordoba, or if it was there it certainly wasn't as noticeable as it is here. We have a great mural right across the street from our apartment and lots of great art in the surrounding blocks.

If you are in Buenos Aires, I highly recommend Matt's tour, but if you would rather do it yourself you can use an online street art map or go to El Mercado de Las Pulgas at the corner of Dorrego y Av. Alvarez Thomas.  The entire outside of the building is covered with great art and the inside is full of cool antique shops.

Here are some of my favourites from Buenos Aires:

 These two pieces are by Jaz whose works have the appearance of watercolours. For the minotaur painting he mixed dirt from the location with the paint.

This piece is a self portrait by the artist who organized the Street Art Festival. He certainly gave himself a prominent piece of landscape and painted himself as General San Martin, an Argentinian hero, with a spray paint can.

During the Street Art festival an electrical building donated their wall space to be used and painted the outside of the building black to make it more artist friendly.  Here are a few of the many pieces from the electrical building:

An artist, formerly from Buenos Aires, returned to spread his father's ashes.  While in BA for a few days, he painted this mural of his father's eyes.  Wow!

Amazing stencil work

Cool piece by Blu who also did this video outside the electrical plant.


Monday, 12 November 2012

Barfy Burgers and Bimbos

Now that we have our nice big kitchen with a working oven, we need to stock up on some groceries as our cupboards are nearly bare.  Going for groceries in Cordoba is very different than grocery shopping back home.  Shopping for groceries here involves trips to many small stores.  There is a polleria where I can buy chicken, carneceria for beef, verduria for vegetables, panaderia for breads and the farmacia for toiletries.  There are a few supermercados, but they are few and far between and often involve carrying the groceries home for many blocks.  Usually I go for groceries almost every day, but my plan this week is to go to the big Disco supermercado which is about a 30 minute walk from our apartment and then take a cab home. They will deliver your groceries but I'm not sure my Spanish is good enough for that type of conversation.  I think my groceries might never make it home.

Last week John and I went to check out the Buenos Dias supermercado that is about eight blocks from our apartment. Some of my favourite items were:

The Faty Empanadas.  This is truth in advertising in action since if you eat too many of these you may end up a bit fatty.

Also available at this same store were Barfy Burgers.  Enough said.....

When Shelbe and Madison were visiting, their favourite advertisements were the ones for the Bimbo Bakery:

Bimbo Bars

NOW HERE - BIMBO ( sign on the front door of the Kiosco just down the street.  Bimbos are everywhere!)

The Bimbo Bakery products are very popular here and John tells me that Bimbos were everywhere in Mexico as well. There are Bimbo granola bars, Bimbo buns, Bimbo many Bimbos.

Our conversations went something like this:
"I'm gonna go down to the corner and get me a Bimbo."
"What kind of Bimbo are you gonna get?"
"I think I'll get me a sweet Bimbo...."

So how about a tasty Barfy Burger on a Bimbo Bun?  Bon Appetit!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Cooking with Lisa, Part 2

Since we needed to test out the oven, I decided to make empanadas for a predinner treat last night.  Empanadas are everywhere in Argentina and they are delightful little pockets of yummy goodness.  They cost about $3AR (~ 60 cents) each and are available in lots of different varieties - jamon and queso (ham and cheese), verdura (veggie), cebella and queso (onion and cheese), carne (beef), pollo (chicken) and some others.  Empanada wrappers are available in all the stores here at $6AR for a pack of 12.  I picked up empanada wrappers at the local store and decided to make spinach and cheese empanadas since I had those ingredients on hand.  I sauteed the spinach with some onion, grated some Reggiano cheese and some other cheese that looks like Swiss but is softer, and set out my assembly line. 

Just as I was getting started John came home from work and decided to pitch in. He added jamon crudo (cured ham, like prosciutto) and olives to our ingredient choices.  Can't make anything in Argentina without ham!

In the shops, each type of empanada is wrapped differently so you can tell the different varieties apart.  We weren't that fancy with ours, although we did try a few different techniques.

Ready for the oven......

 Usually empanadas are deep fried but we baked ours so they were a bit healthier.   The original plan was to eat a few as a predinner appetizer and save the rest for lunch the next day.  They were so good we ate them all - they were the appetizer and dinner.  I rationalized that since they had bread (wrapper), veggies (spinach), dairy (cheese) and protein (ham) that a plate full of baked empanadas is a great balanced meal.

Ready for dinner!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Cooking with Lisa

So one of the things that I was really excited about with our new apartment is our fancy electric oven.  In our other apartments we had typical Argentian ovens which are gas ovens that you light with a match.  Lighting the oven involves holding down one knob to turn on the gas while you try to poke the lit match into a tiny hole in the bottom of the oven where the burner is located.  Since I can't light a match while I'm holding the knob in, I have to light the match first, turn the knob, try to reach far enough into the hole in the oven to light the burner, all the while hoping that the kitchen doesn't explode from the build up of gas.  Usually I would end up going through half a dozen matches and burning my fingers before finally lighting the oven.  It would be really handy to have one of those butane lighters that they sell everywhere back home but I have not seen anything like that here. 

Shiny New Oven

On Wednesday I went to the market and bought some fresh salmon and lemons with the idea that we could make baked salmon for dinner. I also picked up some fresh arugala for pizza later in the week. That night, I got our salmon ready and turned on the oven to preheat.  Within a few minutes - pow - all of our power went out.  No worries, we quickly reset the master switch and started the oven again. This time the power went out immediately.  After a few more attempts and more power outages, we resigned ourselves to salmon poached in lemon sauce in a frying pan.

Today the repair man came to fix our oven.  He spoke no English so with a mixture of Spanish, English and a lot of pointing and some dramatic reenactments, I tried to explain what happened.  He asked me if I had cleaned it?  Good grief, I hate cleaning my oven at home, why would I clean one in a rental!  Then, as always happens, he turned it on high and we waited and waited and waited.  No power outage at all.  Still we waited as the apartment got hotter and hotter.  It's frustrating enough when it happens at home, but when you can't explain to the now skeptical repairman that it really did go out several times, it's even more frustrating. He kept shrugging his shoulders and looking at me and I kept pointing to the lights and telling him they really did go out several times.  POOF!  POOF! POOF!

As luck would have it, there was a knock at the door.  I certainly wasn't expecting anyone else, but after a bit of Spanglish it turned out that my cleaning lady and a man called Rodolfo were here.  I think Rodolfo might be my landlord.  He spoke a bit of English so we muddled through and started over again with the whole story. After 45 minutes, when the apartment was good and sweltering, the repairman packed up his tools and everyone left. I am so used to the apartment being quiet and empty, it was very odd to have it full of people and noise!

The cleaning lady will be back on Monday.  I am not sure what her name is - I thought I asked her but she just replied "lunes" which means Monday.  I forgot to ask her what time she is coming but Monday will be a good chance for me to practice my Spanish and confuse the heck out of another poor unsuspecting soul.  And I'm going to try baking something again this weekend.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Downtown....where all the people go....

Yes, I have Petula Clark's song echoing in my head.  John and I returned to Buenos Aires for a few days last week, then flew into Cordoba on Sunday night to check into our latest home away from home.  As I mentioned in a previous blog, every time he leaves Cordoba for more than a few days, he gives up his apartment and we have to pack everything up and move somewhere new.  Es una molesta!

Our last apartment was lovely but out on the edge of the city.  We were both excited to see our new place which is located only a ten minute walk from downtown.  And so far, we love it! It has a big open kitchen, which is almost unheard of in Argentina, a lovely living/dining room with a big storage unit, a big bedroom with a large closet, a nice updated bathroom with separate vanity area, a washing machine and a nice sunny balcony.  This place actually is much nicer than the photos. We've unpacked all of our stuff and still have several empty cupboards.  Plus, this place comes with a weekly cleaning service.

Big open kitchen with oodles of cupboards; Reading Nook and kitchen stools
(the two reading chairs each unfold into single beds)
Living/Dining Room/Office; and our Bathroom and vanity area

A laundry nook just off the kitchen
Bedroom and balcony overlooking leafy street

Best of all, it's in a lovely neighbourhood with parks and shops and only a short walk to lots of really good restaurants.  On Sunday night, we went for a stroll downtown to Alcorta for dinner and happened upon a band playing old disco hits outside Paseo.  At first I thought it was a school band but then John pointed out several elderly gents in the front row.  Some sort of community band, I guess, playing YMCA in downtown Cordoba. Then on our way home there was a couple dancing the tango for an appreciative audience in the downtown square.  Only in Argentina! 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Iguazu Falls

When I talk to people at home about living in Argentina, I always invite them to come on down for a visit.  Getting here is expensive and it is a long flight - two hours from Detroit to Atlanta, ninety minute layover, then the ten hour flight from Atlanta to Buenos Aires.  But once you are here, prices are reasonable, people are friendly and the weather is warm!

Last week we had our first visitors - my daughters Shelbe and Madison.  It was a whirlwind week and we needed near daily siestas to get by, but we had a blast.  Our itinerary was:

Friday - arrival and walking tour of Buenos Aires with yours truly as tour guide
Saturday and Sunday - Iguazu Falls
Monday - shopping in vintage shops and Florida Street pedestrian mall
Tuesday - Buenos Aires Street Art Tour
Wednesday - Ferry to Colonia, Uruguay
Thursday - walking tour of Nature Reserve then flight home

Today's blog will be dedicated to our weekend trip to Iguazu Falls.  Every tour book I've looked at for Argentina mentions Iguazu Falls.  Lonely Planet which lists Iguaza Falls as #2 of the Top 20 Experiences in Argentina - specifically "a primal experience for the senses; one of the planet's most awe-inspiring sights." Having grown up only a few short hours away from Niagara Falls, I get the idea of waterfall as tourist attraction.  But Iguazu is nothing like Niagara Falls.  At Niagara Falls, you view the waterfall from a very safe distance.  Other than looking at the waterfalls and going on the Maid of the Mist, most of the attractions at Niagara are very touristy - wax museums and the like.

Iguazu is completely different.  Everyone I talked to said a weekend trip would be plenty of time, and they were right, but it was a full weekend.  It was a short two hour flight on Saturday morning, and we picked up our rental car at the Iguazu airport.  You can stay in town and take a shuttle bus back and forth to the park, but we really liked the freedom of being able to come and go as we pleased. Plus, we were checking out on Sunday morning with a flight at 9 pm.  What would we do with our luggage?   Easiest just to stow it in the trunk of the rental car, rather than trying to make arrangements to store it somewhere in town during the day. 

I had booked two rooms at Casa Yaguarete which is a bed and breakfast I found on TripAdvisor.  When travelling for the weekend, I'd often rather support a local person trying to make a living rather than some giant multinational conglomerate. When we arrived, we found that there was a little house where our hosts, Lorena and Andrea lived, and then on the same property was our very spacious two room casita. Each room was enormous and all four of us could have easily stayed in one room, but since the rooms were $70 US per night, it was no big deal that we had booked both of them.  The property was full of mango trees and lime trees, and the girls had a great time befriending all the various cats and dogs on the property.  Lorena gave us directions to the park, locations for dinner and lots of advice so we dropped off our luggage and drove to the park as quickly as we could, hoping that Iguazu would live up to all the hype.

Our little B&B casita with a lovely covered porch.  This is the door to
Madison and Shelbe's room, and our room was around on the right side
with a covered porch as well.  Very important since it rained a lot while
we were there.

The spacious interior of our room with private bath. Much bigger
than my bedroom at home!

At Iguaza you are up close and personal with over 200 waterfalls, some falling more than 200 feet.  The walkways go right over the precipice of some of the waterfalls.  The size, power and sheer scope of these waterfalls is hard to comprehend. The park is enormous and very well maintained with well marked trails, decent restaurants, and clean bathrooms.  It was even better than the guidebooks said it would be.  Before leaving, we made sure we had our tickets stamped so that we would get a 50% discount on park entry the next day.  The entry prices vary wildly -  a very low price for residents of Argentina (40 pesos), a low price for residents of Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay (70 pesos), and then a higher price for the rest of us (100 pesos).  However, I thought it was worth every centavo.

At Garganta del Diablo (the Devil's Throat)

Again from Lonely Planet:
"One of the planet's most spectacular sights, the Garganta Del Diablo.  The lookout platform is perched right over this amazingly powerful and concentrated torrent of water, a deafening cascade plunging to murky destination....It is a place of majesty and awe and should be left until the end of your visit."    They recommend that you leave your walk to the Devil's Throat until the end of the day so it won't be so crowded.  We went there first thing (I'm an eat dessert first kind of gal), and it wasn't crowded at all but the height of tourist season isn't until January and February.   You can see the plumes of mist from the falls long before you get to them, and the sound of the waterfalls gets louder and louder as you walk down the metal gangway. The anticipation builds and when you finally get there, it is amazing!!! You are literally standing over top of the edge of one waterfall as cold water from countless waterfalls splashes you from all directions in sudden gusts, the wind blows so wildly that your rain ponchos is whipping around your legs, and everyone around you is shrieking and laughing.  What a rush!

We spent the rest of the day and part of the next exploring both the upper and lower trails and we saw so many beautiful waterfalls that it became almost overwhelming.  The lush jungle foliage, the bird calls, the butterflies - it was unreal. 

There are a series of trails throughout the park with bridges and catwalks over and around the various waterfalls.  We hiked the Garganta Del Diablo trail (1100m) and the Paseo Superior (650m) the first day, and the Paseo Inferior (1400m) the second day.  The Paseo Superior takes you along the top of the waterfalls, and is an easy and relatively flat hike.  Paseo Inferior descends to the river and has lots of staircases which can get rather slippery!  It also has the access to the free boat launch to Isla San Martin.  Unfortunately the water levels were too high due to recent rainfall so the boats weren't running when we were there.  I guess we'll have to go back!

Standing on the gangway over one of the smaller waterfalls

While walking in the park, we saw toucans, coatis, capybaras, and an iguana, all out in the wild, and more butterflies than you can imagine.  The coatis are adorable but vicious and signs warning not to feed them are everywhere.  Despite the sign warning us of large snakes lying in wait just off the walkways, we never saw a single one!  John had lots of opportunities to use the zoom lens on his new camera and got many good photos of the jungle wildlife. I've posted a few here and can bore everyone with the rest of them when we get home.

Nothing like a poster of a child's hand with an open wound to drive home a point!

If you've always wanted to go to South America, come on down and visit us.  We can't guarantee toucans and coatis, but we can guarantee you'll have lots of fun!