Monday, August 15, 2011

Kayaking en El Tigre

Lunes el 15 de agosto - día 29

Today my alarm went off at 7AM.  Then I changed my alarm to 7:15AM.  Then I changed my alarm to 7:30AM.  Then I got out of bed, but I wasn’t happy about it.  Not at all. I got dressed and went downstairs, made some tea and ate some cereal (basically honey nut cheerios but flatter) with a banana before heading out the door.  I walked to the stop for the colectivo and rode to Plaza San Martín to wait for the rest of group.  Heather was already there when I arrived (30 minutes early… I still haven’t figured out how to properly plan travel time here).  Slowly the rest of the group started to arrive.  Our IFSA guide met us and we headed to Retiro to take the train to El Tigre.  We got some delicious bread in the station and then hopped on the train.  Once we arrived we used the restrooms at the strain station and talked briefly about where we were going. 
The bathroom door


The delta is huge, enormous, immense (you get the picture) with three distinct parts.  We were in the southern most part and would be kayaking in one of the little parts of the river between a few of the many many islands.   Since the area is really a ton of little islands connected by water the main form of transportation is boats.  They have boat colectivos y boat taxis, and people travel from home to wherever they’re going by boat.

From el estación del tren it was a short walk to the Nahuel Rowing Club.   

Tennis court next door

We got set up with life jackets and headed to the river.  We got split up into groups with one person with experience and one or two people with little to no experience.  My group consisted of Francesca (enjoys kayaking), Matthew (canoes) and myself (I’ve been a passenger in a paddle boat…).   We loaded into our canoe (a lovely bright blue color) and set off to places unknown (not really, I was just clueless as to what was going on).

Our first challenge was turning around in the canoe which me managed without too much trouble.  Then we had to cross a giant waterway intersection.  We almost died.  Really.  A giant boat was coming our way and we had to paddle like crazy to steer out of the way.

Once we got out of the main waterway and branched off into a smaller stream the riding was much smoother (the motor boats make the water really choppy, which in turn makes it harder to paddle/steer and water splashes into the boat/on you).   All along the banks of the river there were houses painted bright, beautiful colors.  The houses were built up on stilts so when the river floods the house doesn’t.  Each house also had a dock for the family’s boat(s) and we saw quite a few dogs.  There was even one who jumped in the water and swam by us.  Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of any of this because I had stowed my camera in two ziplock bags in my life jacket and was petrified to take it out as I am the clumsiest person alive and probably would have dropped it into the river.  I did however take a few pictures when we stopped and waited for everyone to regroup. 

After everyone was caught up we continued on to our destination: lunch.  I was surprised by the number of restaurants and attractions there were along the water.   When we reached our destination we got out of our boats and sat down for lunch.

Cool tree by our table
 We were all wet, and cold.  Little did I know so much water got into the boat when kayaking.  Some of the others in the group told me that normally there’s a cover over where you sit that catches the water but for some reason we didn’t have any.  We got to choose between sandwiches de choripan or jamón y queso.  I opted for the choripan as I haven’t tried it yet.  They also brought us coke, water, and grapefruit juice (which was a lot sweeter than the grapefruit juice in the US).  I sat at the end of the table with Francesca, Rebecka, Matthew, and Pepe who is a local friend of the IFSA guide (Gullo… I think that’s how you spell it but I honestly have no clue).  He attends veterinary school at UBA and plays rugby for a local club team that IFSA sometimes has tickets to see.   We all talked and waited for our food while Celine Dion's "I'm Your Lady" and other eclectic American (yes, I know Celine is Canadian) songs played in the background.  When it arrived it was delicious!!!  We also got French fries with a garlicy mayo and bon-bons (a sweet candy covered in chocolate) for dessert.   
Choripan with salsa criolla y chimichurri

Then we all loaded back into our canoes.  I was more than ready to get going because I was freezing, but after we started kayaking I warmed up. 

There were a ton of beautiful (and bigger) houses on our trip back.  It would be really nice (and very) to live in a house so close to the river, but I’m not sure how I would feel about having to take a boat everywhere.

After we got back to the rowing club we all gathered our things and headed back to the train station.  My leggings were soaked, my soaked and shoes were soaked, my arms were soaked, and I was freezing, but it was a great trip!  I really hope IFSA offers kayaking again when it warms up because it was a ton of fun.
My boat: Francesca, Me, Matthew

Simone y Rebecka


You can't really see it, but there's a really cool bird at the top of the tree

This guy across the street was spraying that tree for 10 minutes, not even exagger

I got off the train with Rebecka and we headed to the subte station.  I got off and headed home.  Since I was coming from a different direction than usual and something wonderful happened.  I came across a health food store and decided to stop in.  Miraculously they had what I’ve been searching for.  I’ve been to 4 grocery stores and 2 health food stores and here, in a tiny little shop 5 blocks from my house I found it.

Peanut butter!!!

With my peanut butter (and 300 g of almonds, which are ridiculously expensive at the grocery store) I headed home to get out of my wet clothes and into a hot shower.

When I was clean and dry I went downstairs to make some tea and try my peanut butter.  It’s runnier, and not as tasty as the stuff at home it was still delicious (I’m still trying to conceive a plan to somehow get Jiff in the next 4 months…).

After a fun, adventure-filled day I’m off to relax, do some reading and figure out how to get to my meetings tomorrow.  Chao!

Un beso,

Random Photo(s):
School bus
Short bus

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