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Trip 4 -- Middle South America

Part 3: Cordoba to Asuncion
20 November 2000

The 10-hour bus ride from Cordoba to Buenos Aires was undoubtedly the most comfortable bus ride I've ever experienced: snacks and drinks served on board, a water-and-juice machine, and spacious seats. It was a double-decker bus, and I was fortunate to have reserved the frontmost seat on the left - i.e., directly above the driver - for a terrific view. Greyhound could take a lesson or two.

OK, no Evita references, I promise. Buenos Aires is a bustling city, with much to do at almost all hours. I got to see a few performances: the Orquesta Camara de Mayo (a chamber orchestra), the Orquesta del Tango de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (that's a mouthful, but you know what it means), the Nestor Astarita Trio (part of a "Jazz & Pastas" series - it's a neat concept; for a $6 cover you get a bowl of pasta and a drink, and then the jazz begins), and guitar player Osvaldo Burucua (playing Argentine popular songs at a random restaurant I happened to dine at). And amidst pigging out on parrillada, I got to sample some of the best ice cream anywhere - good enough to rival the otherwise unparalleled Cones of Greenwich Village.

From Buenos Aires, I took the ferry across the Rio de la Plata to Colonia, Uruguay, a charming little town with lots of colonial ruins and colonial edifices that have not become ruins, and then I went on to Montevideo. Uruguayans are extremely friendly; I happened to check into a hotel run by a lively guy who pointed out all the street festivities going on around Montevideo (there are many on Saturdays) and introduced me to a friend who invited me to the premiere of a show he'd directed. And after the show I passed a couple of hours at a tango bar - they're just as popular in Uruguay as in Argentina.

Now I'm in Asuncion, Paraguay, where it's been raining for most of the day - that, well, puts a damper on sightseeing. Asuncion doesn't quite have as much to offer as Montevideo, and it's a little more run-down, but it's worth seeing nonetheless. Tonight I head for the Iguassu Falls, a massive series of waterfalls more than two kilometers wide.

Go on to part 4