Chris had wanted to go to Argentina for the longest time 'for the steaks and the wine' - that's what he says.
We managed to stay with Chris's friend, Marcie, who is a superb chef and also baked the most amazing birthday cake for my birthday. Her 3 kids were trying really hard not to ruin the surprise for me but I could already feel their excitement throughout the day and kinda figured out something was going on. Even Casper, their big, white german shepherd, was prancing around the house with anticipation.
Marcie and Gus's house is beautiful. They have a swimming pool at the back of their house where the kids and Chris swam in the afternoons. Sometimes Casper would 'fall' into the pool too but most of the time he just barked excitedly and ran around the pool. I think Casper was either watching over the kids or maybe just guarding against Chris.
We lounged around the house most days because Chris and I took turns falling sick. Alana, Chris's friend whom he met 6 years ago when he went backpacking in central America joined us in Argentina. I think we might have bored her to death if she didn't have to get some work done on her laptop.
We only got out of the house on the last 2-3 days in Buenos Aires and signed up with the Buenos Aires city tour. It was really worth it because we didn't really feel like walking a lot as it was pretty warm and the bus took us to all the places we need to see in buenos aires.
Marcie helped get us cheap tickets to see a tango show and we ended up with prime seats as she is works for the Canadian consulate in argentina. Prime seats meant the first row right next to the stage and it was great except that the dancers were so close to us that many times we kinda need to dodge because we thought they were going to kick us in the face. Once a few drops of perspiration actually sprayed onto our table when the dancers were swirling about like tornados in a trailer park.
Getting our visas to Brazil was a not so pleasant affair. The Brazilian embassy in Buenos Aires is horrible. They offer not much assistance and have a grumpy old man as the info counter cum receptionist. We also found out online ( not from the visit to the embassy) that we had to book an appointment for visa application in buenos aires- which might be only available in the following week as they are always busy!
In the end, we took Marcie's advice (and the risk) to go straight to puerto iguazu (the Argentinian side) and tried to get our visa there. Turned out that they were so much more efficient there and we didn't even need to get an appointment! We got our visa the next day and booked our 17 hour bus ride into brazil in 2 days' time.
Since we had 2 days more to spare and it was also my birthday and valentine's day, Alana got us a great deal and we stayed at the Sheraton hotel (the only hotel inside Iguazu National Park) and the hotel overlooks the Devil's throat (the biggest waterfall in the park). The location couldn't be better as we just had to step out of the hotel compounds and voila!
We took a boat ride into the waterfalls and it was an awesome experience. Imagine the full fury of one of the world's largest waterfalls pouring down on your head. We did not go directly into the falls as it would have marked our death.
No amount of words can describe the beauty of the waterfalls, especially when the sun came out and a rainbow appeared right above the waterfall. We even saw a double rainbow once!
Oh yah, the steaks in Argentina lived up to Chris's expectations. He ordered steaks every time we ate out and left the restaurants looking happy and contented.