(If you have Encarta on your computer you will be able to locate us.)
We´ve already been here for 2 months and although we have managed to get a few things done it seems that more has been added to our "to do" list than has been accomplished - and so time and the seasons pass all too quickly by!
Toni (LU2FFD Amateur radio friend) arranged a mooring for us at Club de Velas de Rosario and accompanied us on a tour of the various Customs Departments in the city of Rosario. When we re-entered Argentina during January 2007 from Paraguay, yacht Dalkiri was given an 8 month period of entry, due to expire in September. Hence our anxiety to talk to Customs (Aduana) about an extension, the alternative would mean a quick sail down the river to Uruguay. Thanks to Toni´s help, an extension of 90 days was granted and we could breathe a sigh of relief.
Toni was also able to test a suspect battery and confirm that it neded replacing and that neither of our 2 marine antennas were working. When the old antenna cable was pulled out of the mast it more or less crumbled away and both antennas had suffered from corrosion. No wonder no one ever talked to us!
Again thanks to Toni we have toured many establishments supplying batteries, electronic components, cables etc. During one of these forays we purchased some LED lights and are delighted with the results. A single strip provides adequate salon light and a cluster glued together has become our new anchor light; as the current they draw is in milli-amps we won´t have to worry about battery consumption.
Our 90 day tourist visa needed extending so we took another bus trip across the province of Entre Rios to the town of Colon on the Rio Uruguay. Both the Pilot and Tourist Guide refered to it as a Port - uuumm - the update should read: not for many years. No river ferries cross the river here, but a local bus crosses the road bridge twice a day. While waiting for this bus we had several hours to wander around this small town in the on/off drizzle. The two main streets are paved but all the others are dirt.
The border crossing was relatively quick, as the only foreigners (non-MercoSur) we were gathered along with everyone else. We all got off the bus and hung about, had our luggage poked at and then continued on to Paysandu in Uruguay. It poured with rain as we entered the town so it´s hard to say what impression we received - other than wet. The choice was to over-night in "an industrial centre" or wait for the only other bus returning to Argentina, leaving in about one and half hours. We took the next bus. We crossed back into Argentina (90 day stamp in passport), stopped again in Colon and continued on to the next town Conception del Uruguay. Only about 20km further south and also on the Rio Uruguay, but not as close to the border bridge.
The bus terminus was definitley the worst - our 4th in 24 hours - and while Heather remained with the back-pacs, Jess went looking for a hotel. Luckily there was a nice apartment hotel only one block away. Oh what a relief and blessing to find a gas heater and stove to help thaw us out. The rain poured down for most of the night with a lot of grumbling thunder and lightening, but we were safe and snug.
Our view of the the countryside was intermittant on our return trip. The bus heater it seems was either fully on or off, so either the windows were steamed up and we could see nothing or we were freezing and pulling our jackets more closely about us.
We arrived back in Rosario to a bus terminus jammed with people and luggage boarding 50 or more long distance buses- It was the beginning of a long weekend and Argentina was on the move. We were glad to be home on Dalkiri again.
We were invited to watch the Rugby World Cup game between Argentina and South Africa with some Argentine friends. Before the game we enjoyed a typical Argentine asado (BBQ) outside in the sunshine - enough to gladden any South African heart. As South Africa won, perhaps its just as well they fed us before the match! (We tried not to cheer too heartly.)
Note to Alf (and anyone else who might be interested) We do not know what is in mate tea, we are told its very healthy, has no stimulants and is a source of vitamins. We should explain that we have observed that Argentines do not like vegetables (big meat eaters) but they believe that mate is so beneficial, that they still enjoy a balanced diet!?
Personally we think its the culture of making and drinking thats important. The world pretty much stops at around 5pm when people gather in little bunches, thermas-flask gripped firmly in the crook of one arm, while the serious business of packing the leaves and adding the wter is seen to by the other hand. Jess really enjoys it, Heather keeps trying - if its really as good as they say, it would be the perfect provision to have onboard. (H is still going to hide chocolate onboard!)
We have made more new friends and our enjoying our stay in Rosario, but our extensions are running out (again!), so we will have to move along.
Take care, Love from us - Heather & Jess.
PS: You may remember that we mentioned that there was a spot of trouble regarding a border crossing between Uruguay and Argentine - when we crossed from Parana to Salta, about 6 months ago - well this week Uruguay closed its land border with Argentina. Lucky we crossed when we did! (They all get a bit miffy down here but it usually blows over.) Its all about a paper pulp factory.