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From Iguazu we finally turn south toward the bottom of the world..

Written on: Monday January 7th, 2008

PUERTO IGUAZU, The other side of the border :
We had heard that the falls were better from the Argentinian side and they weren't kidding. We went to the Brazilian side cos we were coming from that direction anyway and at the time I thought it was cool, but knowing what I know now I really wouldn't bother with the Brazilian side. We went on a walk through the jungle to see what is a great example of prime rainforest but the path is a bit too easy and short so when we got to the end we continued on a sort of half path thing. We then met with the river and walked the 3 or 4 k´s up the side of the river that flows down from the falls hopping from rock to rock. Great fun but there was one point where there was a waterfall cutting across the rocks in front of us, carefully we went though, we were soaked to the skin as it had been raining all day. The park official that saw us coming up along the river by foot gave out to Peadar but what could he do I mean we´d already done it. The Devils throat waterfall is I suppose the biggest waterfall of the many that fall off the plateau and it is hypnotic, really it gets you in a trance. Pretty much everything about the Argentinian side is better. The boat ride up and into one of the small waterfalls that we did was a waste of money compared to the Absolute thrashing you get under a far superior fall on the Argentinian side, I was a little bitter. OK, I was really quiet bitter... better let it go, not a big deal.
In the hostel we were hanging around with some Australian girls and we met some Irish lads and a guy called TJ from Oregon in the states who is looking at connecting us with a mate of his who is a Alaskan fisherman so we can get some work there, Deadliest catch style! NYE was upon us and we were signed up to the hostel BBQ which included free Brazilian cocktails D A N G E R !!... Ah well, ALL IN !! There was a raunchy shake your ass Brazilian samba style dance show and Peadar got dragged up to have Brazilian ass shaked in his face, not a bad way to end the year, when it got towards 12 we were suitably drunk and me and one of the Aussie girls started the countdown early, god I love doing that, with enough enthusiasm everyone just joined in and sure who cares what time it is as long as everybody is on board. Me and one of the Irish lads jumped in the pool but the craze didn't spread. A while later it was into town to Cuba Libre a club where everyone slowly got split up and I was soon on my own, having a good laugh, dancing my ass off... Later still I was wandering outside the club, no doubt looking for some Supermacs replica when I found a transit van on the main street with tunes pumping out the back, stayed there for a while and then on to another outdoor club where they were playing Chemical Brothers and other good tunes.. A great night and a late night and the next day breakfast was at about three thirty, then the rest of the day was laying by the pool reading Papillion. Don't know If I mentioned I was reading this before, finished it now.. A really really EXCELLENT BOOK, well worth a read... or, if u want can watch the movie that is not as good as the book with Steve McQueen & Dustin Hoffman. Later on we just vegetated on the beanbags and watched, "Catch a fire" (average), "Smoking Aces" (average) and "Grizzly man", a documentary about a man that lived with bears in Alaska for many years (very weird and interesting story).
On the 2nd we finally began our journey south, but I must say that while we were there someone stole my favourite (wear almost ever day) camouflage shorts from the washing line ... They left the rest of my stuff, selective stealing. Grrrrr, if I had only caught them........ Anyway we headed south and stopped at two Jesuit missions, interesting stuff. When I walked amongst the ruins I though about one of my favourite movies "The mission" and about the sort of people that would have lived here way back when. Like the characters played by Jeremy Irons. The jesuits came, spread Christianity and then became too powerful and the King of Spain called them back to Europe and I think killed them... or something. Then all the Indians decided to head back into the jungles from which they came and the missions were just abandoned. We continued south and picked a regional park where we would camp and hopefully swim that evening. It was really hot and humid all day long. On our way to the park we crossed a river where there were a few hundred locals from a small town swimming. I'm sure not an everyday sight at this random river we pulled up on our bikes, took off our gear and went for a swim, there was nice riverbank to jump in, perfect. The people were curious and th normal questions were asked. 1. Where are you from? 2.What CC is the bike? and 3. How much did it cost? Peadar was ready before me so he went on to the park 13k´s down the dirt road, when he left a man came over and asked me the questions and then went on to tell me he had a TransAlp bike himself, a quick shout at a youngster and a photo of the bike came out, he invited me for a cold beer in his house, I had to refuse as Peadar had gone on ahead, he asked many times and was disappointed I wouldn't.. oh well cant please everybody! ....Plus New year and all, we were meant to be trying to cut out as much beer as possible....soon this plan would lead to the opinion, better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all, but seriously we are at least drinking a little bit less beer now.
The park was nice and we got in another swim and later on while we were just sitting around reading "The Good Book".. No. Sorry mam, not the bible, the Lonely planet we discovered there was a Reserve 120k´s off the main road and it said that it had Anaconda´s!.. so this was to be tomorrows destination. There were a good few spiderwebs round with the usual guys that don't bother me but a spider, surely from the pits of hell crawled across my trousers.. well he didn't crawl he moved unnaturally. Darting, almost seeming to skip a few steps each time he moved, fast and creepy. he was knocked aside with a kinda shocked girly scream and of course Paparazzi-ed.
The next day when we were heading on down the dirt road Peadar had his first bikedrop going downhill of course, gotta watch those downhills with our heavy bikes. His panniers took quite a knock but all was well and we headed on again. We were low on petrol and the first Petrol station we got to had no Super(normal) but had Comun(muck) so we went on next town coming close to the reach capacity of our bikes and they had no Super either. It was 1230 and they told us it would be 5 before they got their delivery, we would wait and then we though we could still make it to the reserve before dark.
Empanadas. Have I mentioned them before. They are like little pies, Carne(meat) and Jambon y Queso(Ham and Cheese) being the norm. Cheap and good, well cheap anyway and mostly good, so we sat outside at a "cafe" eating enpanadas and reading a little. Peadar attempted some work on the electrics of his bike and I wrote a bit in my diary, at 5 we headed back to the garage but no petrol delivery, at about 6 we resigned ourselves to the fact that it would be the next day, checked into a cheap hotel watched some tv, a few games of pool, Pizza and bed.
Up at 8am and gone soon after we arrived at the Petrol station with its huge queue of cars, thank god there was a moto queue. A quick petrol station Crapachino, Peadar had a smoke and off we went. Actually that reminds me of the "Advice" Peadar once gave me as I waited on him to have a smoke one day. With 100% sincerity he advised me that I should really take up smoking. That it really passes the time well! ...................Yeah!, Sure! that's a great Idea!
Anyway a while later we took the turn onto the dirt road and we flew along at a fine speed. It really reminded me of the 1000k round trip dirt road that we had to take to get to Mount Augustus in Western Australia ( Ciar & Phoebe remember that one, great trip!) an absolute pleasure to drive on and a lot more interesting than tarmac. But this pleasure was soon to end and the nightmare was to begin. As it often does on any dirt road of decent length the terrain changes and what we had in front of us was about 50 or 60 ks of SAND, soft - deep - sand, Nightmare!!! Reduced from 50 or 60 Mph to 10 or 15 at times in the sweltering heat I began to bake inside my gear and foolishly and without really thinking we had not gotten any water at the last garage. We battled on trying to stand on the footpegs to lower our weight on the bike and then also trying to use our legs hanging from the bike to steady us but inevitably we both fell. Peadar first at quite a speed, the bike wavered back and forth across the sand as he fought to gain control. He fell on sand but when his foot went down on the ground the bike continued a bit and turned sharply to the right which twisted his knee quite a bit. Nothing to do but pick it up and start again. A short while later I fell, no injurys really but it really takes it out of you falling in this heat, for before completely loosing control of the heavy bike you struggle as much as you can to keep going. This happened a few more times in the 2+ hours it took us to slowly cross the beach like road and each time you fall you have the pleasure of lifting the heavy bike up again, really frustrating stuff. Barry, U glad ur at home now? I was so hot that I took off the biker jacket (we weren't going fast enough for it to be necessary anyway) and my long sleeve tshirt was completely drenched, In the heat 10 minutes later it was bone dry again. Rough calculations and hope kept us believing that the town was just a little bit ahead and we went on and on but eventually our thirst made us drive up to a house and Peadar jumped off his bike in spite of the Gigantic barking dogs and approached this fairly basic house and ask for water. They came straight out with ICE COLD WATER... The first mouthful was absolute heaven, it was much needed. We thanked them many times and returned to the sandy road. Soon it came to an end and we were in the town.
I polished off multiple bottles of coke with much gusto. After a much needed shower and a short rest, we went down to the tourist office to get info on tours and info on our chances of actually seeing the Anaconda; are the elusive, do you have to get up at the crack of dawn, or go on an evening boat ride? What do we have to do. Answer: No, there are no anaconda´s here. Oh!.. Well it said in the book.... Sorry, no, none here, never has been, but we do have Boa constrictors, well Ok at least that is something. But your not going to see them at this time of year. Oh, OK! What do you have here then... (on closer inspection of the book its says snakes ¨like¨ the Anaconda, would this be the loophole theyd use If I´d bother to email them) Anyway we arranged a boatride for 7am tomorrow and went for a walk around the lake. I met an English guy here who told me about an amazing nightclub he had been to called Taura in a city called Rosario which is known to have the most beautiful women in Argentina. He spoke so highly of the girls there and seen as I was heading that way and tomorrow was saturday I decided to make it there tomorrow in one day, though it was about 750 k´s away. If I ever needed motivation to keep going then this would certainly be it : ) 
The next day we were up at 6.30am and all our stuff packed on the bikes by 7, we went on the boat trip across the lake where we spotted many different types of birds and small alligators. At 9 we got a quick bit of breakfast and were on the dirt road out of town by 9.30. It was exactly as we were told, much better than the other side of town but every now and again there were tiny little patches of sand that got the hairs on the back of my neck going as the flashbacks of yesterdays gruelling ride came back to me..

 

From Peadar on Jan 15th, 2008

I didnt say it passes the time, I said it fills a moment!