The giant rodent (thigh high), a nice horror tale for the kids
We decided to head over to Carlos Pellegrini to see the Esteros de Iberas which we read were quite nice. Apparently the way that most people get there is via Corrientes, which means taking three buses and 9 hours of travelling. However, every other day, what can only be described as a truck turned into a passanger vehicle (quite nice though), leaves for Carlos Pellegrini through a terrible dirt road and takes half the time of the three buses. Sign us up! To take it we grabbed a cab at 7:20 for the bus station and after some initial uncertainty our truck arrived and we (literrally just "we", except for another guy) were off on our huge truck. After slowly crossing endless farmlands with cows we arrived Carlos Pellegrini. We were quite surprised to find that this was a farming town, turned into a tourist town, but very rural nonetheless.
A swamp deer, like everything here she likes swimming and walks on the beach
We ended up camping and after a quick lunch where we were served by the guy in our bus (that small of a town), we were off in a boat tour of the surrouding marches. Luckily it was beautiful day and with the sun shining all the animals were out and about, especially the caymans (by the dozens), who were catching the sun. They were actually seemingly tame and thus we would float less than a foot away from them, hoping that it didn`t decide that it wanted to join our tour. We also saw a swamp deer and a carpincha, which is a giant rat minus tail. There were also many types of birds, from little yellow nimbly ones, to storks, and some huge ones that were more like overfed flying chickens. In the swamp life grows on floating pieces of sticky land, so it clumps together and falls apart, and since it is very fertile land and water is plentiful, grass and even trees grow, and therefore large animals can live.
Our awesome bus, catching the early morning sun amidst farms of nothing.
Cool right? Even more amazing than the swamp was that our tour had like 15 people, but for the first time in our lives, a tour that big wad quiet and considerate people. Amazing. Well done Argentinians. After two hours, we were all tired of floating and headed back quite happy. Afterwards we went for a walk on the bridge that connects Pellegrini to the mainland to the south and watched the sunset there. Beautiful of course, although the temperatures here drops heavily when the sunsets. Afterwards we made a delicious pasta dinner and with a borrowed blanket passed out and slept heavily in the cold until some drunken celebrating bridesmaids woke us up at 3am or so, with their screams and loud music from a 100 meters away, and this went on until 5am.
Caimans sun bathing
Bastards. When we woke up in the morning though, we had a delicious breakfast, basking under the sun, a really nice way to start the day. Then we bought some food good for a hike that we had planned for the day and we were off. The trail went through the swamps and there was so much animal life. We hiked there and did a little Steve Irwin as we moved thorugh bushes and observed swamp deers. Good times. We went then to another trail where we caught a glimpse of really big monkeys and then we were off to go back for dinner. It was a really nice relaxing day, great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We decided to finish the day off by watching the Brazil-Argentina Copa America final, but it took us a while to find the one restaurant with a TV in the town. When we walked in it was half way through the first half, Argentina was loosing 2-0, and the room needed a group psychologists to treat them for depression. It was like walking into a funeral home. The game, for those not following, was a dud with the Argentinians playing a terrible game as well as really bad coaching on their part. The final score was 3-0, but the food was awesome. We ate omelletes with roquefort cheese and everything, an amazing salad, a liter beer, and a packaged but nice desert, for 7 bucks. Ridiculous. Satisfied and happy, we headed to sleep since we had to wake up at 3am. Yes, that is 3am, and it is becuase the town is so out of the map that the only bus that leaves south departs at 4am so people can get to Mercedes to take care of business, although Mercedes is no metropolis itself. Anyway, we were waiting for the bus at 4am at a crossroads in nowhere, dark and cold as the night can be. After some nervous feet shuffling the bus arrived at 4:30, and it was straight out of the 60s, without any apparent repairs, and thus we thought that we would be lucky if we arrived to Mercedes (120 kilometers away, 3 hours). Well, guess what? After rattling through the road for a good 2 hours, cold enough that we had to get under a sleeping bag, the bus suddenly expired when the engine made a horrible rocks on metals noise. Cold and dark as can be, we waited until the sun rose, which was gorgeous, and the man in charge (who tried to overcharge us for being tourists) left promising to send somebody in a couple of hours. We were literally no where. Luckily with the sun out, the day warmed up in a hurry and an hour later another sketchy bus passed by and agreed to take us, although it was even worse than the first with duct taped windows, a falling roof, and a barely working transmission. Yet it rolled into the Mercedes bus station somehow. Then all that was left was an interminable bus ride that took almost 6 hours to go less than 300 kilometers and voilá, we were at Concordia
almost 12 hours after we left. Jesus.