Close to Uruguayan border; got here from Iguazu

Trip Start Sep 25, 2011
Trip End May 08, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hotel El Palmer

Flag of Argentina  , Litoral,
Sunday, March 18, 2012

As it turned out, for the first two hours or so on the 1 p.m. bus from Iguazu enroute to Sante Fe (bus was destined for Rosario, past Sante Fe), I was only passenger!  You would think i would get good service, but other than coffee and water being on tap, there was nothing, nada, no service at all.  Even though Servicio is included in the price.  Not until 8:30 p.m. was there a meal and I noticed that they only served food after the intermediate passengers got off, as the bus obviously did not expect to feed them!  Got into Sante Fe shortly after 7 a.m. on schedule and i also noticed, that contrary to the other long distance buses I have taken in Argentina (I took at 19 hour bus from Buenos Aires to Salta) there appeared to be only one driver and one conductor (ie steward or whatever).  The other buses always had two drivers and one slept while the other drove..   This bus for 18 hours was driven by the same driver which is a little scary!  The funny sight in Sante Fe was in a big fountain in a  park we passed was spewing green water and I thought maybe for Saint Patricks day, although that was t the day before.  As I didn{t have accommodation booked and although I didn{t sleep much on the bus (I had cama class, which means the seat reclines to about 140 degrees or so), as there was a very young baby which cried a lot, and a man with his prize blackberry which beeped every time a message came in which I guess was a sign of class or something but was very annoying! ), I got off at Sante Fe and then bought a ticket for the 40 minute ride to Parana which entails going on the highway UNDER the river through a tunnel.  A lot of young model looking girls got on in Sante Fe, as it was Sunday at about 8 am. it was strange as the bus was completely packed with standing in aisles of lots of chicas (that is what females are called, males are called chicos) while there were a lot of non model looking chicos occupying the seats.  The girls acted like standing up in a bus was totally beneath them.  Fortunately I got a seat, and an older woman sat beside me and asked if I could do up her bracelet which I did.  Anyway I got to Parana and decided I may as well go onto Concordia near the border with Uruguay so I bought a ticket for the bus which left in about 3 hours and which took 4 hours to get there.  THere was a guy hawking newpapers at the range of platforms (gates) which  I expected my {San Juan{ bus to arrive{depart at and of course he was selling Spanish newspapers so i didnt interact with him but he obviously was watching me and I was standing looking at the bus in the gate where I was standing as as it was earlier than i expected my bus to load, I didn{t think it was my bus so I just kept standing there (couldnt see San Juan on the bus and couldn{t understand the loudspeaker announcing stuff) so I guess he thought it was strange I kept standing there and finally he approached me and in Spanish asked me where I was going so I said Concordia and he indicated that indeed the bus that was loading was one I was to get on!  If he hadn{t approached me like that I would still be standing there!  I have found that over and over people are so kind and you don{t think they notice or care but they do! And as soon as i said oh gracias Senor! the loading guy grabbed my bag and put it on the bus in the luggage compartment for which we must pay {dos pesos{ as that is how they make their living, the bus company does not pay them to load the bus.
I tried to book accommodation online but all i could find was a cheap hotel which did not have a booking site so I sent an email to them and hoped for the best.  I got a taxi from the bus station and of co urse he couldn{t understand a thing i said about where i wanted to go and fortunately the cheap hotel was in my Lonely Planet guidebook so I could show the name and address to him.  So we went there at breakneck speed - he was an older man - and never once did he slow down at intersections, quite amazing no accident<!  he stopped at the hotel and it looked closed so he went to the door and knocked and no answer!  So i tried to ask him if he could take me to another hotel and he could not understand what i was getting at so with lots of hand gestures about needing a bed to sleep in, he understan d and whipped around the corner to El Palmer and came in with me to explain I needed a room!  which of course i did have plenty of practice with but he was very kind.   The guy at the desk was also older and I think they knew he other so they were both pleased they could help this foreign senora, as I could indeed have a room for dos noches and the pricce was good.  The hotel had a pool and the breakfast was amazing which included ham and cheese !  it was around the corner from a Casino, it seems every place has one of those.  I put some money into a couple of Roulette machines and lost 20 pesos ($5).   The next day, yesterday, i took the ferry over the river to Salto Uruguay as I needed to find a hotel.  I had to go through Aduana (Customs) at the dock here and for some reason the customs official could not find me in the computer! so it was quite disconcerting as  this issue was a tututut one and i couldnn{t figure ouit what was wrong and there were a few people behind me in the lineup who thought I must be an escapee of some sort alh}though no one could speak English.  Finally he just stamped me in with authority and gusto and on my way into this old rickety ferry which holds 90 passengers as the sign says but only a dozen or so were on it.  After we docked in Uruguay (it was a 15 minute ride) we had to go through their customs and they didn{t even have a computer to look anything up in, just as well.  They were very friendly by comparison to Arg side.  I did ask a younger chico who was in the lineup and thinking maybe he knew a little English - which he didn{t- but he indicated that the customs guy couldn{t find me in computer so that was the issue.  After i talked to him, he tried his best to help me get the bus to the hot springs which i thought i had time for but didn{t in the end - he even asked a group of kids (ninos) who looked high school age where I could catch the bus, and teased them about needing to practice their English with me, but they were all shy!  he found one girl who knew a little English, and had her write down on his piece of paper the name of the hot springs so i could show the driver!  Wow ! and then a policia asked me where I needed to go, and was trying to help me.  As it turned out, the bus is only every hour so i scrapped that idea and went on the hunt for a hotel for tonight. I am currently in the Concordia bus station for my one hour bus to Salto and we go through Customs again, this time on the highway not at the port.  I found a reasonable hotel (Los Cedros for tonight) there was no hostel available.  The old man at the desk though was completely confused as I had to keep repeating yesterday that I was booking for manana not hoy.  Even after repeating it over and over he just kept assuming it was for hoy (today, that being yesterday) I caught the ferry back and went through customs in Uruguay and Argentina again and the same customs guy in Argentina stamped my passport with flourish again and I was pleased because i thought maybe people dont go there and back in one day but i guess they do.  A young woman on the ferry befriended me with non existant English but she was so nice, showing me the tide was coming in and the water was getting higher and asking me if I wanted to share her taxi downtown to centro fromthe port. I told her I was walking and thanks nway.  She was guite surprised that anyone would wak that far (about 13 blocks) and int he heat but I do and did.
 anyway I have to go catch my bus  it is pouring with rain here, a welcome relief. 
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Cleo Prellwitz on

How far south are you planning on going Linda?

Sharon on

You are a brave traveller! Always good to hear from you!
We have a baby girl -March 20 @0318 hrs. 8 lbs 1 oz, 20 in., dark hair......Emery Sharal [ pronounced Cheryl - Shar from Sharon, al from Al. Everyone well.
Has Miranda had her baby? Take care, love - Sharon

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