Trip to Argentina, May 2005
comments and photos by Dimos
Salta Buenos Aires Iguazu Falls  
El Calafate Tango  
Perito Moreno Glacier Cris and Jeronimo Wedding  
  If you continue your trip from Bolivia and enter Argentina from the upper west side, you arrive in Salta. The immediate differences are the people: although the people look exactly like the people in Bolivia, there are actually quite a few fat people in Salta! Clearly they have more food here than in Bolivia! The architecture is quite nice and it is very pleasant to walk around the city in early afternoon when the shops are closed (and the are no cars running around). Of course the food market is much less colourful than the ones in Bolivia…as people here do their shopping in big supermarkets. Also you will notice the fast food places that sell pizza and French fries. During the weekdays the town goes to sleep after the shops close (9pm) and the only people you see around are fellow tourists.  
  The mountains around Salta are full with various minerals making them very colourful. It is best to take a tour. The guides will stop at the best viewing points for you to take pictures. If you rent a car, you may end up stopping every 5 min for photos…not knowing that there is a better view further down the road. I took a tour that went to Cafayate (a small town with a nice square) and to Tucuman (ruins). We also visited a winery.  
  From Salta you can fly to Buenos Aires. A convenient area to stay in BA is around Plaza San Martin. Buenos Aires is an imposing city even for European standards. Big avenues, trees, parks. Extremely pleasant to walk around particularly on Sunday. But during the weekdays, when all the busses and cars with the old engines pollute the atmosphere, you realise the difference between Europe and Latin America… On Saturday, shops do not open before 10 or 11 am.  
  In the Palermo area, you will find a lot of shops. Prices are lower than Europe…but the quality is also lower even for "branded" products. In the micro-centro, around Florida street, there are dozens of leather shops for tourists. I am no expert to tell you if the quality is good. But I did buy some shoes from Lopez Taibo that seem to be a great bargain for their quality from . I was told that there are some other leather stores where the locals buy from; if you are interested, you should ask someone.  
  It is true, the meat is amazing. You can have a big cow steak for 12 pesos which is now equal to 3.5 euro.  
  If you get hungry during the day, your options are quite limited : pizza and little sweat pastries. Even if you find pre-made sandwiches, you can not tell if they are fresh. There is also dulce de leche enriched biscuits.  
  People go for dinner after 10pm. Some go to clubs at 1:00am. But there are very few clubs considering the size of the city and there aren't really any long lines to get it. It looks like not many people actually go to clubs.  
  The majority of the women in Buenos Aires are very thin. Apparently this is how Argentinian men like them. The men have average weight. Overall, the average height is 1.6meters.  
  The best part of the trip was the wedding of my friends Jeronimo and Cristina. Those of us who travelled from far away for the wedding, we also attended a Tango Show...  
  If you decide to visit the Peritto Moreno Glacier in El Calafate (Patagonia) or the Iguazu Falls, you should book a tour from Buenos Aires including airplane, hotel etc. It will be more economical and more convenient than flying by yourself to either places.  
  El Calafate, a pleasant small village, has a lot of souvenir shops. It is probably very busy during the summer months.  

The Perito Moreno Glacier is particularly famous because of its impressive dimensions and its continuous downward movement (towards the lake), which produces accumulation and rupture of huge pieces of ice. It has a front of 5 km with a height above the lake level of 60 to 70 meters. It is about 30 km long and covers a surface area of 250 square kilometres (40 km2 more than the surface of Argentina's capital city, Buenos Aires).

  Every day, big pieces of ice, with total width of 1 meter, break from the "face" of the glacier ("border" line with lake) and fall into the lake making a lot of noise. But as the glacier keeps moving towards the lake by 1 meter every day, the "border" line between the glacier and the lake remains the same for decades!  
  You have the options of two tours. One simply takes you to the balcony where you sit for 5 hours waiting for ice pieces to break away from the glacier and make a big "splash" in the water, or do the "mini-trekking" on the glacier and then visit the balcony for 1 hour. The "mini-trekking" is excellent!  
  From El Calafate you can also take a tour to Parque Nacional Torres del Paine in Chile. I did not find the park as amazing as the travel guide books suggest. I think we got better sceneries in Greece… If you stay in the town (more like a village ) of Puerto Natales, do not expect much.  
  In Iguazu Falls you have the option of taking a tour that gets you soaking wet, or just walking around the park. If you decide to take the tour, wear your bathing suit and sleepers ONLY and put your shorts, t-shirt, (underwear) in a plastic bag. I never imagined that the boat will enter underneath the falls (SEE the boat entering the fall and here ) and that I will get fully, I mean FULLY, wet. It like a huge, massive pipe of water is throwing tons and tons of water on top of you and your underwear get wet in comparison with even the most heavy rain (your underwear do not get wet...) For people like me, they sell clothes at the kiosk…(photos : before, original shirt and trousers all wet, dry t-shirt and new trousers)  
  It does not really matter if you stay in Puerto Iguzu (Argentinean side) or Foz de Iguazu (Brazilian side). There is nothing exceptional in either town.