Thursday, April 30, 2009

More of Iguazu

I forgot to mention how calm the water around us was while we were walking to "Devil's Throat", the largest of the falls at Iguazu. We hadn't seen any of the falls yet, so we kept thinking, "Are we going in the right direction? It doesn't seem like the falls could be close by at all!" We went from very calm waters:
To this:
To this:

Amazing! We also made a few new friends in the Iguazu rain forest:

Iguanas - you have to look close, they hide pretty well

Costi - these little guys were so cute!

They're not afraid either - guess they want some lunch!

Large lizards


Very large spiders, whose webs stretch for several yards throughout the trees

More beauties:

Our 2nd day there, after a scrumptious lunch of empanadas (at the same restaurant we ate at the day before) we boarded another long distance bus that would take us to Rosario.

Good bye, Puerto Iguazu!

We weren't as fortunate this time and were on a bus a level down from the nicest buses. Our seats didn't recline all the way back, and the meals were fairly sub-standard. In addition, I got wonderful stomach cramps and all that goes with them, all night long.....but no worries, it was all part of the Argentine experience!

We were on the 2nd level of the bus, though, in the very front seats looking out the front window - that was cool. The terrain in northern Argentina was very different from the Rosario/Buenos Aires area, (more red dirt like the St. George area) so we really enjoyed seeing the countryside and Caitlin showing us all kinds of interesting things along the roadsides. We got to see things like this:

At one stop, Caitlin and I got off the bus so we could take a picture at the back of the bus:

Translated: Proud to be a missionary!

The bus driver came around the back of the bus and really got after us for getting off the bus at all. We hurried and got back on, and at least we got our picture! (Misiones is the province in Argentina where we were)

Caitlin, still a full-time missionary, struck up a conversation with the young man sitting next to us. They talked for quite awhile about all sorts of things, family, etc. and eventually about our church and quitting smoking (which he's really been wanting to do), and she loaned him a spanish nice music CD to listen to. In the end, another referral for the mission home. :) Throughout our trip, I was constantly amazed at how Caitlin could strike up a conversation with someone nearby, and before we knew it, the conversation had gradually changed to talking about the church. Of course, she was always talking in Spanish, so some of what she said we could tell was about the church, and some she would relay to us later.

We were about 1 1/2 hours outside of Rosario the next day when the bus came to a halt in the road and ended up sitting for quite some time. Then we had to take a detour, some of which wasn't even on a true road. (that was fun!) It was awhile before we figured out what was going on. Turns out that farmers were protesting increased taxes, and were blocking the roads. Again, all part of the experience! But we finally got to Rosario, where we would experience truly the best part of our trip, visitng the wonderful people Caitlin taught and grew to love.

Stay tuned......

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Argentina pictures.....Finally!

We're back!! Well, actually we've been back for over a month. I got out of the habit of blogging, but I really want to get started with it again. I'll have to do a little a time, or it just seems too overwhelming!

On March 17, after an uneventful but long overnight flight, Dave and I arrived in Buenos Aires. We spent the rest of the day and evening resting and doing some sightseeing in downtown Buenos Aires. Not speaking Spanish was a little bit of a hindrance, but we managed. The next morning, we got checked out of our hotel and went over to the Buenos Aires temple where we anxiously waited for Caitlin to arrive. So exciting!! I can't describe the feelings I felt, but as a mother it's truly a blessing to see your child after 18 months, wrap your arms around them, and know from the big smile on their face that they are happy and well!

After lunch we were able to do a session with the other missionaries who would be flying home that night (in Spanish of course) which was very special. I'm SO glad we didn't skip this part of the trip!! I had been a little antsy the day before, knowing that Caitlin was in Argentina also, but that we wouldn't see her till the next day. (we could have picked her up the night before at the mission home.) But it was so worth the wait to be able to spend the time with her at the Buenos Aires temple.

We had decided ahead of time to have a little of the Argentine experience, so after the temple, we headed over to the bus station where we rode a cami-suite bus overnight to Iguazu Falls - 17 hours total. Because this is how almost all Argentines travel, they have different level buses, and we were fortunate to be on the nicest one.

The seats were cushy and oversized, and reclined almost flat, with a foot rest that came up so you could lay down. With a blanket and pillow it was pretty close to being like an actual bed! There was an attendant who served us dinner and breakfast too. Caitlin ended up talking with him for quite awhile about the church, and he was really interested and sincere. By the time we left the bus she had all his information for a referral for the mission home!

Dave & Kathy enjoying alfajors - probably one of the yummiest sweet treats I've ever tasted

Breakfast - the Carb Collection :)

If you look close, breakfasts consisted of 2 croissants, hard toast-like things, juice, an alfajor, and dulce de leche (a scrumptious carmel like stuff to put on the hard toast)

Oh well, we were on vacation, so we just enjoyed all those carbs! By the way, Argentine people don't cook eggs or other protein for breakfast.

Our side trip to Iguazu Falls was amazing. The falls are located right on the border of Argentina and Brazil. We have tons of pictures, but pictures really don't do the falls justice. What makes the falls unique is that there are so many of them. Here are just a few pics:

This picture was taken just before the boat took us down under the falls.
We were soaked at the end, but it was so worth it!!

We were at the falls one afternoon, then stayed the night in the quaint little town of Puerto Iguazu a few miles from the falls, then went back to the falls the next morning. Our hotel was part of the Argentine experience too. It was really just a very tiny run-down house with a sign on the front that said "Recepcion". But in the back there was a small courtyard and a few rooms beyond that. The room had all the basics, even had an air conditioner. Caitlin said, It's nicer than any of the the apartments I was in!" The beds were comfy too.

Enjoying a delicious dinner where they just kept bringing us all kinds of meat, as much as we wanted. I even tried blood sausage.....

Stay tuned for more pics soon..............