Goodbye to Guille, Hello to Brazil

The next morning when we woke up, I got all the money Guille would need for his journey and gave it to him. Then I told him that morning was our last chance to be intimate with each other for a long time and I wanted to be intimate with him, but I would understand if he wasn’t interested. He went for the intimacy! :-)

After we got cleaned up, packed, ate breakfast, and checked out of the Hotel El Sol, we bought Guille’s bus ticket and brought my laundry to a lavaderia where they agreed to have it ready within a few hours. We walked through town, had a drink after sitting for awhile on a park bench, then picked up the laundry and headed back to an Internet cafe where I called in a hotel reservation, and emailed my uncle about not being able to cover him on grandparent duty during his trip to South Africa because it would start a day before I return from this trip and because things are crazy at home in San Francisco — I heard from my housemates Kat and Joannes that they will move out and the contractor working on the roof of the rear bay window has apparently really screwed things up. I told my uncle that I would of course be available on an emergency basis to fly to Rockville and help my mother take care of the grandparents if necessary. I haven’t heard back from him in almost two weeks — he didn’t even reply to email from Pierrette, our relative who I visited in São Paolo (more about that later).

It was rough hanging out in the Puerto Iguazu bus station waiting to say goodbye to Guille — as I write this tears are springing from my eyes. I think I really fell for him. I heard from him later, after calling him, that he made it back home just fine, then went to his hometown to visit his sick mother. He asked when we will meet again. I asked if he’d like to come study English in San Francisco. I haven’t heard back from him yet — it might be a bit much for him.

The bus ride to Foz do Iguaçu, the town on the Brazilian side of the border, was uneventful. I had to get off at the border, go through the formailities, then board the following bus. I walked from the bus stop at a supermarket to the Posada Evelina. Evelina’s adopted son let me in with the minimum hospitality required. Later, Evelina returned to the hotel and gave me an orientation with a bit of motherly advice. I met an Israeli woman named Elizabeth who, aside from her recovery from bad weather in Rio where she had brought some friends, was friendly and fun to converse with in French. We decided to go for dinner at the soup bar restaurant she had found with lots of vegetarian options — the first since Buenos Aires in my meaty travels.

After dinner, we walked to a restaurant in the center where a charming fellow was singing and playing guitar. We delighted in sample the creme mamão (papya) with cassis dessert and each had a different flavor of caipirinha. Elizabeth danced a bit and even dragged me to the floor for a reggae tune at the end of the evening. We went off in search of more fun in town, convincing ourselves that it really wasn’t as dangerous as the guidebooks and mother Evelina had warned us. But the town was dead, so we just walked back to the hotel and went to sleep.

Iguazu Falls: Argentinian Excursion

Luckily our trip to the Argentinian side of the Iguazu Falls was a great success. We headed to the falls on the first available bus and the place was virtually empty when we arrived. We walked almost the entire “Upper Circuit” path of the falls before encountering another person, so it was a magical and romantic experience. That trail and the “Lower Circuit” trail make it possible to see many of the falls up close, far away, and from all different angles.

The falls are much more spectacular than what I remember of my trip ages ago to Niagara Falls, especially the part called Devil’s Throat (Garganta de Diablo). Guille fell into a bit of a trance there, whereas I started to get a bit motion sick and had to step away for awhile. We also took a boat ride which brought us right up under the falls so we got totally soaked. It wasn’t that warm a day and we ended up shivering for awhile on the boat and on a truck ride through the forest back to the center of the park.

On the truck ride, we learned that the true palmito tree is an endangered species with not many living anymore in the park or elsewhere. The palmitos we usually eat are another species cultivated on farms in Brazil.

Before the boat ride, we had walked on an island trail which was quite wonderful as well. To round out the day, we took a last hike on a trail where we saw another guinea pic like creature and some coatis, which look like a cross between raccoons and anteaters and travel in little packs. We caught a bus on the road back to town and we were completely exhausted.

Guille grew more and more agitated about returning to Montevideo. He was worried about his mother’s health, about finding work, and about keeping his apartment with Santiago. So we agreed that he would head back to Montevideo via Buenos Aires the next day, while I would continue on to Brazil. I drew a tarot card which confirmed that was the best idea… the Hermit! I felt a bit hurt especially because he didn’t want to be very affectionate with me. I think he may have worried that I would try to keep him with me. So we slept in two separate beds. Of course, neither of us slept well at all.

Conflict With Guille

We crashed for a long time, then woke up too late for breakfast. I tried cuddling with Guille but felt like I was waking him up, so instead lay awake in the darkness feeling a bit frustrated. When he finally did wake up, we had a long talk in which he said we had to “adapt” to each other. Honestly, after talking with him I couldn’t see how he was adapting to me and he couldn’t give me any descriptions of it either.

Guille and I had some conflict, which at times seemed resoved, but at other times seemed like it could present ongoing difficulties. He likes to use tons of deoderant and can’t kiss without brushing his teeth or chewing gum. I guess I could adjust to that by trying to find a deoderant that we both like and by keeping gum close to the bed. He’s fascinated by operations and treatments to make people supposedly more beautiful, whereas I am generally repelled by them.

{May 24: In hindsight, I wish I had just adjusted instead of continuing the conflict.}

Arriving in Puerto Iguazu

I was very ready to leave the next morning and relieved that my digestion had improved. After a quick breakfast at the hotel where we had spent the night in two separate beds, we took a taxi to the bus station and purchased tickets for the ride to Puerto Iguazu, the Argentinian town nearest to Iguazu Falls.

The bus ride was uneventful and we walked the two blocks from the station to our hotel with my rolling luggage clacking on cobblestones when I couldn’t navigate a flat path through the streets. Often, we put Guille’s bag on top of mine so we could roll them both along rather than carry them.

After a brief siesta and cleanup in the hotel, we went out for a walk through the town. We searched for a restaurant for dinner and, after wandering around a bit more after finding the restaurant we preferred, we returned and ate there. I got a great salad with lots of vegetables, including peas which Guille doesn’t like, then he had ravioli and I had gnocchi with pesto sauce.

Before entering the restaurant, Guille asked if he could purchase a bracelet as a souvenir, then for dinner he asked about the price of an expensive glass of wine and ordered it. I got a bit antsy about the financial aspect of things but felt uncomfortable bringing it up in the restaurant. We had some uncomfortable tense moments before talking about it. I explained that I was trying to keep to a certain limit on spending each day and apologized for not talking with him about it sooner. I told him I really wanted him to be happy. He apologized for asking for expensive things, which actually weren’t that expensive, and I felt bad about bringing up the whole topic. We seemed to work things out then walked back to the hotel.

4×4 to Posadas

We drove in a 4×4 from Ypa Sapukai posada in Colonia Pelligrini to Posadas. We stayed at a lousy hotel. We walked around town, spent a couple of hours catching up on email at an Internet cafe, and ate a couple of meals, the first at a pizzeria and the second at a fancier pasta place, where one waiter dropped some dishes with one broken piece sliding dramatically across the entire length of the restaurant, coming to rest under a table by the front entrance, to the surprise of many of the guests and seemingly unnoticed by the staff. We ate too much at the restaurant but, perhaps bolstered by the bottle of wine we drank, decided to get ice cream as well. I suggested the small dish but Guille insisted on a larger one. Dirty children came by our table begging for spare change. I tried to give them the ice cream but Guille was horrified and the kids didn’t want it and quickly moved on. Guille thought I meant for him to share the ice cream with the kids, rather than just giving it to them.

We wandered the streets of Posadas a bit more, heading toward the walkway by the port, but suddenly I didn’t feel so well in my digestive tract, so we headed back to the hotel. Sure enough, I had a bit of diarrhea. That settled my feelings about Posadas.