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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Reserva Provincial Esteros de Ibera

After a night on the bus I got to Mercedes, a tiny little town where I met two English girls my age and we arranged the bus to a even smaller town, Colonia Carlos Pelegrini and tours of the nature reserve that is there. We took a van/shuttle there which took about three or four hours. We were in the middle of nowhere, the whole time we maybe passed 10 farmhouses, otherwise just open land, horses and cows. At about 3:30 in the afternoon we arrived in the town. We were staying at a place that was stables that had been converted into pretty nice rooms. We dropped off our stuff and then immediatly went on our first tour, a walk through the woods/rainforrest. On the walk, the guide pointed out lots of plants and animals. All over the town, just wandering around were these animals (I don´t remember their name)that are basically giant rodents, and they let you come close, but are not dangerous. Here is me trying to get as close as I can to one of them, it gives you an idea of their size.

We also saw lots of monkeys which I was really excited about because there is supposed to be monkeys at Iguazú falls but I didn´t see any and I had really wanted to. It was hard to get a picture of the monkeys but here are some attempts, if you can tell, the second one is of a baby clinging onto its mother.

Then we went on a boat tour in the lake, through the marshes. Here we saw more plants, lots and lots of really cool birds, deer, more giant rodent things, and most exciting of all, caimen, which are like mini crocodile alligator things. There were tons and tons of them all over the patches of land in the marshes. Most of them are about 3-4 feet long. They sit there all day in the sun and then at night go underwater and are completly harmless.

(Ahhh, it stopped uploading my pictures again...check back for a picture soon)

We started out the boat ride before sunset and were out on the water all through sunset and a little after sunset which was so beautiful.

Unfortunatly the shuttles only leave there at 4am so our choice was to just be there for the afternoon and leave the next morning or have to stay a whole day more, and there is not that much more to do so we were just there for the afternoon and then left at 4am the next morning.

I changed my plans and decided to go to Salta which is a city in the north of Argentina, a few hours south of the Bolivia border. I had originally not wanted to come here because I thought it was too far, but realized I have a lot of time and I had heard good things about it. On the bus I met two English guys who were traveling together and an English girl traveling by herself. We all had the same guide book and so were all going to the same hostel and got a room together. The three of them figured out that they were all studying medicine. A little while later two more English guys arrived and were staying in our room too. I jokingly asked the two new guys if they studied medicine, and it turns out they both do. So I am in a room filled with English med students, and me which is very strange. I have been walking around here all day and realize there is not much to do for more than a day or two but there are supposed to be these beautiful canyons about three hours from here so I think that me and the other girl in my room are going to go there tomorrow for a few days.


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