Sunday, April 29, 2012

Things I don't inderstand

While I love Latin America some things really are difficult for me to understand.

1. Why would a country have a national park that is open daily but not have a bus that runs to the park on Sundays from the nearest village? Especially when the nearest village is about 25 km away and there are no taxis in the town.

2. Why only have buses that leave at 7pm to arrive at 3am? In Bolivia this happened to me at least 3 times. There were no there options for times and it was the last destination for the bus. And I know there were no connections as no buses left the station till 7am or later.

3. Why don't the vendors diversify? When walking around a city you will often see rows and rows of food vendors. But every single one of them has the exact same options. Go to one town and everyone sells burgers or hot dogs, another town everyone has meat or chicken empanadas. Here everyone is trying to sell chipa a type of cornbread. Every bus stop three people come on trying to sell chipa. My friend and I were dying for anything else.

4. Why tell me something doesn't have meat when it does? This can mean today at the store when I order raviolis after he looked at them and cut one open declared it didn't have meat. But when I ate one I thought it tastes like some type of meat then was confirmed after I bit into a piece of cartilage. Also they haven't figured out that when I ask for a dish without meat I don't mean for them to just pick out the big pieces of meat and serve it with small pieces of meat. But I am used to that now as that when asked for a dish without meat they seem to think it means you don't want alot of meat.

5. Why is it so important where I am from? When I say I am from the states they tell me no you are not, you are from China. Ok then why did they ask? Or they pull the corners of their eyes back and start laughing.

6. Why is ok to yell after people? If I go out in a single day I have at least dozens of people calling me hey China girl.   I asked some recently if they thought America was all white and they said, there are a few black people. Its as if native Americans never existed in the US.  I have had a number of people ask me if I can see.. and when I asked why they said cause my eyes are so small.

7. Why some people don't even try to understand you. I know my Spanish is bad but often I am asking a very simple question and obvious like asking the bus driver when is the next bus leaving and they look at me like I am trying order a pizza from them. I felt better when my friend went to a bus company that had a sign that said it's only destination was buenas aires and I went over and she was saying buenas aires and he kept saying where? So I asked and was able to communicate with him but that exact situation has happened to me. Recently I just pointed to the sign I mean it was the only destination for the company so Even with my poor accent why she couldn't at least guess is beyond me.

8. Why does everything have sugar? All the juices even in the store including apple juice have sugar added. But then again the epitome of that is I have seen a mother mix in sugar with baby formula as well as a mother put Coke into a baby bottle and feed it to her baby after they had so much fun watching the baby sorta suck on a lollipop.the baby was mostly drooling and playing with the Lollypop with it's hands and having fun with the stickiness. In Brazil on the buses they has special seating for elderly, handicapped, pregnant or obese people. Makes me wonder if the US is next to have this.

9. Why when people dont understand they just ignore you or look away from you instead of saying I dont understand.. or when I ask them to repeat something please they just throw their hands in the air and say she doesnt undertand anything instead of just trying to say it again slower.

10.  Why the baggage handlers in Argentina feel they can yell at you in English Money when they want a tip even if I already have a tip in my hand am about to tip them they are already yelling at me.

11. Why people dont tell the truth.  Is there a bus going there tomorrow.  Yes.   But no there is not a bus.  Is this museum in this direction.. yes.. when its not in that direction, etc.  Is my mochilla (backpack) on the rack above me?  Yes.  Are you sure, its a black backpack? Yes.  Few minutes later I decide to check anyways.. my backpack is gone and there is not one piece of luggage in the rack anywhere near where I was sitting.  If he had just told me that it wasnt there I possibly could have recovered my backpack.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Iguazu Falls

Made it to Iguazu Falls and decided to go to the Brazillian side and see the Itaipu damn as well.  The Argentinian side had lots of wonderful trails and I spent the whole day there.  In addition to the waterfalls I was amazed at the wildlife we saw.  There were lots of varieties of birds that would come very close as well as so many different types of butterflies. We also saw coaties and a tapir.  The Brazilian side is much smaller.

Coaties were everywhere - they stole my lunch

The birds came right up close

we saw so many rainbows

Itaipu dam

above the Itaipu dam

I spent a few hours both day in the Paraguayan consulate getting my visa.  What a pain to get and so expensive. If I had known it was going to be so expensive and such a hassle I would not have bothered.  Another couple I met were waiting for two hours then told to come back 2 and a half hours later.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tupiza Uyuni Tour

The Tupiza to Uyuni tour was amazing and long.  Lots of hours sitting in a jeep, but the scenery was beautiful.  Beautiful lakes, lots of flamingos, vicuna and llamas, as well as ostriches.  The salt flats were really amazing.

Went to Tarija a nice little city with lots of wineries. I tried ajiba juice which looked like a potatoe that they peeled and it was purple inside.


I crossed over into Salta, Argentina today.  I love Bolivia but its great being back to the world I know where the roads are good, showers are hot and internet works.  And where bus schedules make sense to me. In Bolivia all the buses seem to leave in the early evening and arrive at 3 or 4 in the morning.  I havent figured out why they dont just leave at 10pm instead of 7pm and arrive at 6am instead of in the middle of the night... but all the companies leave at the same time for the same destination.  Here the buses leave later so they arrive at maybe 7am or something more reasonable.
area outside of Tupiza

I couldnt get a good picture of the ostriches but those specs are ostrich

It was cold and there was snow in many areas. 

The scenery the entire way was beautiful and kept changing

it was really cold with lots of snow

We saw lots of llamas as well as vicunas

Many of the lakes provided perfect mirror images.

The hots springs.. there was an amazing view from the natural hot spring

The colors of the lakes were all different, reds greens, blues

These geysers were bubbling and smoking

These also were smoking from the hot springs

The steam is from the hot springs

Those are all flamingos.. some of the lakes were full of them.. hundreds

baby flamingo before it turns pink

We had oca for lunch which is a root vegetable and people compare it to a white carrot though I think its more like a potatoe.. and grilled bananas

salt flats

salt flats.. nothing but salt.. the guide said its 80 meters deep

more salt

a flock of flamingos few overhead

playing with pringles cans.. and perception

our tour group

there is a hotel completely made of salt.. everzthing the tables etc and each of the salt bricks make the hotel walls. 

The salt mounds used to extract the salt

the water covering the salt had a cool reflection.

I tried a new juice.  

the city of Salta Argentina, from the hill where there is some beautiful  waterfall displays

yes I have salt on my knees