Beyond The City

Red Earth

FirstThey don't recommend white clothes.  day we flew out of BA into Puerto Iguazú. When we arrived we were basically in a tropical paradise. The ground was red and it made the ridiculous amount of green look like it was exploding from the world, especially after the grey city that is Buenos Aires.

I was told that if I didn’t swim the first day I wouldn’t swim, and I had a feeling Caileen would never forgive me if I didn’t go swimming in the beautiful, sunny, 80 degree weather, so after eating lunch, I jumped in the pool. The name for those little noodle things you use to float in Spanish? Flotaflota, which is adorable as all get out.

Then the tour part started. We went and saw the Guarani tribe of natives who lived here before Europeans came over. Side note for all mate drinkers out there, the Guaraniese were the first ones who started drinking mate. They have five Gods: Rain, wind, thunder, something else, and the sun as the most important of the deities. Seeing the reservation was kind of depressing, but they showed us how their traps worked and everything, which was pretty cool. I even got to set one off, though that encouraged quite a bit of shouts about me waving a wand as you trigger the trap with a stick. Overall, it was a worthwhile trip even if it felt a little like the human beings there were treated like a zoo.

Brazil is to the right.

Sunset over Paraguay

Before night fell, we went out to a place called Las tres fronteras where we got to see the sun set over Paraguay with Brazil to the right. The border is divided by what I believe is called the Iguazú river, and there is an obelisk visible from this point in each of the countries that follow the colors of the home country’s flag. The sun finally set.

Night time, dinner, and tango. Yes tango. I met a wonderful young lady who teaches tango at a club at a university and is a biochem major. Sound familiar? If you guessed it was Caileen, you guessed wrong! However, she’s very nice and I’m hopefully going dancing with her tonight at Milonga10.

Jurassic Park – Gravity at Work

Day two we woke up and stole lunch from our all we could eat breakfast. The napkins weren’t very strong, so I ended up with more than a few crumbs in my backpack.

I guess that’s how I get ants.

Speaking of, the ants at Iguazú were giant! Like, three centimeters long! I bet that’s bigger than some of your toes. We saw all sorts of creatures, including a monkey and a toucan and all these butterflies that were inappropriately unafraid of humans. The toucan was kind of unafraid too, it definitely flew right at our group and tried to take some heads off.

The Iguazú falls are beautiful. They just crash down over the edge of these cliffs and pour relentlessly down, like waterfalls are supposed to do, but the scale of the biggest waterfall pushed that home. The biggest waterfall is called La Gargantua del Diablo, and it’s like you can feel gravity dragging you towards everything. We took a boat through some of the falls. I’m going to come back home in the middle of winter with a tan. It’ll be ridiculous.

WATERFALLS!

This is gravity

No one wanted to swim the second day, but I hung out with one of our coordinators and drank her mate while giving her a back rub. Oh yeah, people finally found out I give backrubs, which makes me feel like the number of friends I have has gone through the roof.

That evening I met someone who will probably be my first and only tango student down here. She’s agreed to trade blues/maybe East coast swing lessons for tango lessons, so hopefully that goes over well.

Matelandia – La Chacra

Day three was the mate farm called La Chacra, which is confusing because that also means the farm. They grew all sorts of different teas, there were puppies, and a climbed a literal mountain of mate bags. They also taught us how to make cold mate, so I might have to do some experimenting when the weather warms up back in the Ham. There was delicious asado, backrubs, puppies, and a great sunset to finish it up.

The City Lights

When we were flying into BA it was night; I had never flown into a city at night, and even if I had, it’s doubtful that city would have been as large as Buenos Aires. It seemed like it suddenly made sense that you can’t see the stars in the city, because clearly they all had come to live on the ground and dance tango or whatever it is stars on vacation do.

That was my weekend.

Not Quite as Exciting

Voting

The U.S. embassy is kind of a scary place. Everyone who isn’t a guard and can direct you where to go has a deep voice and hides behind one way tinted glass. The guy I finally saw who took my ballot looked like he could have been a super-villain. Mini-boss at least. I feel like I should be more excited for voting. I voted for the candidate who I believe will put us on the path to reducing, not only the deficit, but discrimination against all citizens in the United States. Maybe it’s finally starting to sink in that I’m not in the same hemisphere as the U.S. and voting before the debates is weird; now I can’t change my vote, unlikely as that is.

On the subject of politics, I’ve been very pleased how well people with different points of view get along abroad. I always wonder how I end up surrounded by people of, more or less, a similar political persuasion to my own at home. It’s refreshing to be able to have open conversations about what is happening in the world and in our country. It’s like it’s important or some shit. Something to keep in mind as political feelings reach a head in the next month.

Teatro Colón – 10/7/2012

I saw a production at Teatro Colón! It could have just been people banging around and making noise and I would have loved it for the architecture alone. That said, it was actually a percussion performance, and it was pretty cool. The most innovative and interesting piece (though a close second was a cover of El Choclo that made everyone who had ever taken a tango class wiggling in their seats) was done entirely with lighters. It was like a game of pass the snap, but more musically oriented, with people occasionally being illuminated. They would change the height of the lighters to make patterns in the air and all sorts of things that would make an amazing in the dark dance routine. They finished by blowing out their lights.

The Point Where I’ll Miss it Here

Anyway, that’s my life. I have two finals this weekend, but after rocking an oral presentation on a book we read that I didn’t know we had to do until ten minutes before I gave it, I’m feeling pretty good. Can’t get too lazy though.

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