Español: escritor argentino jorge luis borges (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Satellite image of the falls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Katie and I decided to go to South
America. We had just bought our house on Berry Avenue in Cincinnati. It was 1986.
Katie’s dad Mr. Finn was scared he didn’t want us to go. He came over to the house to take us to the airport but really he wanted to talk us out of it. He couldn’t talk us out of it so he took us to the Cincinnati airport, which is in in Kentucky CVG.
Then we got on the plane and flew to Buenos Aires in Argentina EZE. I’m sure we didn’t fly direct. Stopped in Brazil had a free coffee in the airport, Rio GIG I think. We had this big game with us called He-man space mountain it was for Fracisco Arrenetta. Katie carried that thing all over SA until we got Peru. It was for the Arrenettas who lived in Peru. We left the airport on the bus and went to the hotel. It was beautiful. The highway was modern and just like any highway in the United States.
The hotel was great. It was a residence hotel on Maipu and it turned out Jorge Luis Borges, the famous blind Argentina poet lived there. Although he lived there we never met him. He died soon after that. I was a nice old style hotel with a beautiful lobby.
We had dinner one night at a wonderful restaurant called El Palacio de la Papa Frita, the french fry palace, with red wine a sparkling mineral water mixed together white table cloths and a huge steak called baby beef. It was very crowded and busy but the waiters did a great job. When we got to Peru, Pancho told us he had heard of it and had eaten there too. He even knew about the baby beef.
Florida avenue in the Retiro district beautiful pedestrian shopping street with lots of nice furniture and antique stores and cafes and bars. Lavalle street and the plaza de Mayo are also main sights.We got a tour of the beautiful Teatro Colon Opera house by and opera student. Maybe not as well known as the one in Manaus in Brazil, but I’m sure the operas are better these days. The one in the Herzog movie Fitzcarraldo starring Klaus Kinski. We sort of did our own walking tour. The pink house or Casa Rosada, the white house of Argentina is pink. It felt very much like Europe especially Italy which I also like very much. Argentina is beautiful and the people are very sophisticated and fashion conscious.
My friend Beatriz, who worked for Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati had been helping us with our Spanish before we Left. She said now Ted just stop at any pub and ask for dos cervesas, por favor
that means two beers please. Well the first time we tried it the waiter looked at me and replied dos cervesas o una grande
, which means two or one big one? We couldn’t stop laughing. We hadn’t thought of that one. Beatriz would later return to to Peru and be elected Prime Minister the first female PM of any Latin American Country. That night we went to a fancy restaurant, nightclub, milonga and tango. Katie had been working hard so she had gotten a$100 bonus award. We tried to spend it all but it was impossible even with dinner, champagne, nightclub tango, milonga and taxi tour including la boca barrio. I think we spent about half or $54.
In the 70’s Argentina had been known for wild inflation, death squads and the Dirty war when tens of thousands of people just disapeared.
I’ll never forget I was in Spain when the infamous Argentine dictator Juan Peron died. We saw it in all of the newspapers.
Then we took a plane to Iguazu falls IGR and back to Brazil and an over night stay in Paraguay, Ciudad del Este not Asunción the capital. I had to buy the plane tickets at the airport using my Spanish. Bought them the day before and then came back just to be sure there was space. It is a very popular place I think it was a Tuesday It was a small plane with the old stairs no jet way and the cockpit door was open the whole flight. Many people had never flown before so they just got up and started talking to the pilot, pre 911 of course.
The Iguazu falls straddle the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. It’s a triple border. It is one of the most amazing places I have been in my life and I have been to some amazing places. Three times the volume of Niagara Falls. In Brazil they speak Portuguese of course and the Falls are know as the Cataratas de Iguacu.
From Puerto Iguazu
we missed our bus to the falls. We should have just followed the crowd. You must see the falls from both the Argentine and Brazilian side. The views are quite different, although I now understand Brazil now charges Americans $150 for a
visa. Back then you could just cross back and forth across the border as many time as you wanted. The view from Argentina is up close. The view from Brazil gives a better perspective of the immensity of the falls.
Misiones province We took a cab across the friendship bridge from Foz de Iguacu, Brazil to Puerto Presidente Stroessner
now Ciudad del Este. Named for the cruel dictator who had ruled this land locked South American country with an iron fist since WWII(1954). Foz de Iguacu will play host to part of the ESPN Summer X Games in 2013.
That night we met a charming guy with Scotch whisky and a pick up date at a cool hotel with an outdoor restaurant and colored lights. It reminded me of Christmas even though it was August.
There was an outdoor market and Katie bought a purse. Katie said, I never even knew Paraguay was a place and all of a sudden I was there. When we got back to Cincinnati Mr. Finn was sure I meant Uruguay but that was one place we hadn’t been, yet. I would love to take the hydrofoil from BA to Montevideo some day like in the movie Gilda with Rita Hayworth.
Our plane to Peru LIM had mechanical trouble and was delayed one full day. That’s the way they do it in SA no planes today, come back tomorrow. Lufthansa flew over the Andes and with a stop in Santiago SCL those mountains are so high it seemed the plane had just enough altitude to make it over them.