I’ve been sitting on the bus for 17 hours from Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls. While I will defend Green Toad’s customer service, they did fuck up and book us from Iguazu Falls to Buenos Aires instead of the other way around. The next bus was 5 hours later and then ran 3 hours late. Our time at the bus station looked like this.
Our meals on the bus looked like they were purchased at a gas station during a going out of business sale. Our bus driver has been stopping for what appear to be random friends along the way and has even made a stop in the middle of the road to exchange what I’m pretty sure was a few bags of laundry.
We finally arrive at the bus terminal at 5pm instead of 9am and fortunately our hostel is within walking distance of the hostel, however the city of Puerto Iguazu has seen it fit to replace paved roads with jagged cobblestones over which we have to drag our rolling suitcases. The last warm meal I ate was an overcooked 1/4 fried chicken at the bus terminal in Buenos Aires – and it didn’t even include the wing. I am not a happy camper.
Once we get to the hostel and things start looking a bit brighter. We’re located on a quiet street that could be mistaken for a quaint area of the suburbs if it wasn’t for the low sounds of American music coming from the hostels nestled a few yards back from the road. Our hostel even has a courtesy ramp at the entrance. Whether it be for handicapped access or idiot backpackers with rolling suitcases, I don’t care, but I’m happy not to have to drag my suitcase up yet another flight of stairs.
Rounding the corner, I can hear Maroon 5 playing and see people lounging in the pool. Our hostel has a pool! Approaching the desk attendant we check in and ask if we’re able to go to the falls. He informs us that the falls are closed for the day. We say fuck it and head to our room which resembles an apartment complex more than a hostel with brightly colored apartments in a duplex style layout. The three of us change and jump in the pool. Might as well make the best of a bad situation.
Half an hour of “swimming” makes us tired, the sun is setting and there’s a light breeze in the air which is refreshing after the sweaty oppressive heat of Buenos Aires. We shower, change and head out to dinner. Along the way we meet a group of travelers who recommend a restaurant with table cloths “amarillo.” We say sure why not.
Five minutes later we’re seated at Colors, a restaurant packed full of tourists with a gaudy multicolored sign bearing their name and the two foods I absolutely do not want to eat anymore “Parilla Pizzaria.” The waiter comes over and brings the menus. Thank the lord there’s barely any pizza on the menu and a healthy selection of pescatarian options. We are starving and thirsty, and I was bitching on the bus that if I didn’t eat a meal with normal sized portions and a touch of “western” flair soon I was going on a hunger strike (which retrospectively probably would be good for slowing the speed of my shrinking wallet).
We order our food and a round of drinks. I get a fernet and coke and they order caipirinhas. Bread comes. It’s accompanied by a grilled vegetable tapenade. So far so good. Then the food starts coming.
For an appetizer there’s a hearts of palm salad with cherry tomatoes, arugula, shrimp and avocado. We order a seafood sampler platter that comes with musseles in curry cream sauce, shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce, fried local fish, grilled calamari in red sauce, fried calamari and scallops with fresh salsa. Dinner is the local fish with eggplant, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and potato croquettes. There’s an order of thin sliced ham and cheese ravioli with “funghi” in a rich cream sauce. The portions are what I would expect in an American restaurant. There’s a live band playing Spanish music and classics. Girl from Ipanema and Zorba the Greek come on. I’m starting to smile again.
Dinner finishes and I’m perfectly full and 100% happy. All I want is a quick walk through the town before heading to bed. I hear drums. I follow my ears. We end up at a practice for a samba school with girls dancing in 5 inch heels while a orchestra of teenage boys bang emphatically on the drums. You can feel the heat radiating out of the studio onto the street.
We watch for a while and then head back to the hostel stopping to gaze at all the stars. And to top the night off, our hostel has both wifi and air conditioning. I’m in heaven.