The Jesuits...a lesser of two evils?

San Ignacio Travel Blog

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Our bus ride from Iguazu to San Ignacio was long but entertaining. We watched two manly-man movies, Casino Royal and Training Day. The Bond movie was so over the top, especially with a blue eye bond with cool cell phones instead of a cool car. What is this world coming to?

We rolled into San Ignacio around 7pm and it was very dark and deserted. After walking around for a bit, trying to find a hotel, we finally found a great one. We stayed with a woman named Gris in her cool artsy house. She had a nice fire going and a nice hippie Brazilian was camping in the back yard. Gris also had the sweetest dog and she was our constant companion for the time we were in town. The four of us cooked a pasta dinner, and hung out by the fire while our Brazilian amigo played the guitar and sang, and the dog rubbed against us.

We slept in the next morning which was nice because it was still freezing (damn polar winds!). We walked around town forever trying to find a breakfast place while avoiding the big, evil looking hotel/restaurant of the town. Eventually we settled on a ham and cheese sandwhich with tea at a little kiosk type of place. We headed over to the Jesuit Missions ruins to see what these Jesuits were all about. In the informational museum part, we learned a lot about the Jesuits and how they attempted to create a semi-utopia with the natives by incorporating the native language and traditions into the Catholic religion. Although there was  an attitude of superiority to the Jesuits (i.e. learn our religion to get food and housing), they were not nearly as cruel as the Spanish and Portuguese and protected the natives from these bad guys. Well eventually the Spanish and Portuguese allied for the first time in the last few centuries only to kick out the Jesuits and get onto their usual rape and pillage plan.

The runis themseleves were very impressive. Built with the red clay that is characteristic of the region, they created a community with lots of gathering space. Quite a bit of residencial houses were built for the indigenous, and there were buildings normally associated with modern society such as a libraries, schools, and jails. We also saw a really cool tree named "Tree Heart of Stone" because it had engulfed a stone pillar and grew around it. After a couple of hours of nice walking in the grassy Jesuit town we left towards the highway where we grabbed the bus to Posadas. Our dog friend joined us for the walk there and waited with us in the rain until we were on the bus. San Ignacio was a nice little stop but enough ruins, let`s go to the country.

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San Ignacio
photo by: cenazareno