Drinking with Quagmire; Giggity!

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Together with Mike and the Canadian and English travellers, we went to visit Tigre. Tigre is the starting point for a visit to the Paraná Delta. Vintage mahogany commuter launches and motorboats are ways to travel through its many inter connecting rivers and streams.

The Paraná Delta is the delta of the Paraná River in Argentina. The Paraná flows north–south and becomes an alluvial basin (a flood plain) between the Argentine provinces of Entre Ríos, Santa Fe and Buenos Aires then emptying into the Río de la Plata. It has an area of about 14,000 km² (5,000 mi²) and starts to form between the cities of Santa Fe and Rosario, where the river splits into several arms, creating a network of islands and wetlands. Most of it is located in the jurisdiction of Entre Ríos Province, and parts in the north of Buenos Aires Province.

Now being care free we knew was that we had to get a train from Retiro. It would be on the Mitre Line going to the Delta stop and we had to connect to Tigre from there via Tren de la Costa. Now, not one of us had bothered to check prices, train times nor additional services. When we paid each individually for the train fare we handed a $100 Peso bill. The cashier, bless her heart asked if we had smaller notes and as we did not she proceeded. The fare (displayed on an LED readout) was 40-50 cents! So imagine our blushes at receiving $99+ Pesos in change. It was one of those times where you need to shake your head.

Incidentally, the train ride had beautiful scenery and added to that, it was another sunny day. Probably in hindsight, I should not have worn my 'Easy Rider' styled sunglasses. They are a pair of cool yellow lenses which are suited for low light conditions. Not good for a sunny day as I was squinting a lot. In my defence, I looked great! Peter Fonda eat your heart out!

Getting off at Delta Tigre Station, we walked to the boat pier. There we immediately hopped onto a provision boat situated on the Delta Del Parana. This boat was very peculiar as it was flooded with goods like soft drinks, vegetables, food and other things. The majority of them were strapped onto the roof. I quietly enjoyed the trip and by making sure I got a window seat. The scenes going downstream reminded me of Florida's Everglades to a degree.

Once we reached the end of the trip, lunch was undertaken. As we slowly went to grab a quick bite I appreciated the slow pace to life here. Peaceful, tranquil and relaxing are some of the words that come to mind. Thereafter, we wandered through canals, crossing bridges, passing houses until we encountered the wetlands. Yes, you guessed right, we were lost. The plan was to take a scenic walk as we held a map but somehow something went wrong. If any of you are wondering whether or not I was at fault. Definitely not! I was soo hung over and tired; I just went with the flow. My redeeming moment came when I had to cross a poorly constructed wooden 'bridge’. Being pretty sure we were off the trail route, I told the group it was not a good idea to carry on. Cue ridicule from everyone bar Mike. I stood my ground and they chose the right option. We headed back but I was getting annoyed with the English traveller. As I was wearing my ‘Hand of God’ Argentina t-shirt, he took exception. He brought this up in the hostel but as his demeanor was calm, I took it as a joke. I now realised it was more than that as he called me a ‘traitor’. Therefore I dressed him down and said "I feel more comfortable in this shirt than the English version." I also added: "in the small amount of time I’ve been here, they (Argentinians) treat me a lot better than the people back home." He had no answer to this and coming from Leeds, he had a different view of society. (Note: I am not condemning people from there. It is not as diverse and multicultural as London).

An afternoon drink near the Tigre harbour was in order. It was refreshing to see how time went slowly here. As sunset approached we made our way to the Tigre Station. On the way back it was more tranquil than the way there. The sun was setting and it was a beautiful sight over the passing forests. I recall both Mike and myself drifting off independently and laughing when we both awoke.

We arrived at Retiro Station and walked back through the Florida district. As Mike wanted a quick bite we stopped at McDonald’s. We waited outside watching Santa Claus sing, while he ordered. The English and Canadian travellers laughed hysterically as he sang in English. I felt bad at their actions and put some distance between us. Another sad note was seeing homeless children begging there. They managed to get some coke from McDonald’s but to my dismay, they poured it into an empty drink bottle. These bottles were disused and found under a kiosk. The intention was to obviously sell them. I made a mental point to always check the seal of soft drink bottles in the future.

Crossing the multi lane roads of nueve de Julio I noticed sad street children begging for money and ‘performing’ jumping at the main traffic lights. They were calling us (“chico, chicos”) as we passed them but I was in a conversation with the English traveller. I was probably stating I could wear what I wanted and that it was not his concern. I cut a wry a smile as I heard a few ladies behind me reading my shirt’s caption and laughing.

It was around this time I met Heidi and Amanda, (both American). These chicks were something else. In addition to being very attractive, I loved their warmth, their kindness and their sense of humour. Little didI know the three of us would be inseparable for over a week. With the girls being from the south I mimicked their accents by adopting a ‘Foghorn Leghorn’ version. As with most Americans they replied with a ‘Harry Potter’ version. It was a good trade and brings a smile to my face whenever I think of them. Through out my travels there have been periods where I have met some incredible people and this was such an occasion. I truly was in love with their souls.

Later in the evening along with Mike (staying at Milhouse), William and Fredrick, we were going to gatecrash their party again. Only me and Mike were let in. I tried reasoning with the same bouncer as I encountered before but no luck this time. No matter we hit our terrace, chatted, ate some empanadas, drank and drank some more. All that I can recall was talking to Amanda and Heidi and inparticularly telling the former to look after Mike. This was due to Mike, like me being totally drunk. However he managed to pass out on a bench. I grabbed a blanket and placed it on him. As Amanda was recognisable (I was drunk) and sober, I sternly asked her to take care of him. At around 4 AM I called it a night.
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