L1602 – Chinatown via Las Vegas

Our final port before the ship turned around and headed back towards Southampton and home was Buenos Aires, where we were in port for two days. My previous post – L1602 – Flies high, falls wide – documents the epic tour I made to see the mighty Iguazu Falls in the north of Argentina by plane on the first day in port. This post is to document the tour I made on the second day.

There were only four tours to choose from for the second day. Having been well out of the city on the first day, a tour to see the city on the second day would have been nice. However the two tours that were located in the city were a stay-on-the-coach panoramic tour – not great for photography, or one based heavily on Eva Perón – not particularly of interest to me. The third possibility was a 7 hour tour out to an estancia in the Pampas, which I thought would be too long and demanding after yesterday’s marathon tour, so my choice was down to one!

The tour I therefore took was to take a cruise on a motor launch around the Tigre Delta, an area full of lush small islands only accessible by the network of waterways. On the banks of the islands are many houses, each with their own landing stage and moorings. There are no mains services, so everything has to be brought in by boat.

To reach the Delta and our motor launch, a coach took us to the town of Tigre, 28 kilometres north of Buenos Aires. On the way we passed the stadium of Club Atlético River Plate, and for a while drove along the Pan-American Highway – which if we had continued to follow could have taken us all the way to Alaska (save for a rainforest break of around 100 kilometres):

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As we approached Tigre, a number of roundabouts caught my eye, one with the symbol for the town – the jaguar, or tigre as it is known locally:

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Arriving in the town we boarded the motor launch and set sail to explore the Delta:

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There were numerous boats and launches to be seen, of many different shapes and sizes:

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As we ventured into the Delta, we saw quite a variety of buildings and houses too:

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Our local guide explained that while the cost of the houses themselves are fairly low, it was an expensive place to live because of the costs involved in bringing everything including fuel and water by boat. Also due to quite frequent flooding, caused not by rain but by strong winds affecting the water flow, it was not possible to live in the Delta and commute regularly into Buenos Aires to get a well paid job there. Instead residents tend to be self employed locally, making furniture and arts & crafts, which they sell in a market in Buenos Aires.

For supplies, the residents must either take their own boat to a waterside shop, or use one of the many supermarket boats that ply the Delta. The guide explained that if a resident tied an empty carrier bag to their landing stage, then a passing supermarket boat would know they required supplies and would stop there for them:

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The guide also told us that there are boats for everything – even a dentist boat! The schools are run by the state, and boats pick up the children in the morning and deliver them back home in the afternoon. We passed one of the schools, and also a church:

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At one point we passed one of the original houses built in the Delta, this was now being preserved under a transparent box cover:

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A lot of the waterways had wooden boards lining the banks to try and combat erosion caused by the wake of passing boats. The guide told us that there were speed limits, but that they were not widely adhered to, despite the police boat that passed us:

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Our route around the Delta was a circular one, and as we neared Tigre again, we noticed a floating machine trying to deal with all the floating plants. Our guide told us that this was a very recent problem, floods a week or so ago upstream had caused huge quantities of water hyacinth to drift downstream into the Delta. This was causing problems not just from the tangle of plants themselves, but also from the animals such as snakes that had travelled downstream on the plants. It also explained all the plants we had seen floating in Buenos Aires port as we sailed in, and the corner of the dock ahead of our ship being totally green with plants that morning:

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If you are puzzled by the title to this post, here is a house we passed during our voyage, and a building we passed just before we returned to our original moorings:

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On disembarking the motor launch, we returned to our coach, which took us on a different route using less-major roads back to Buenos Aires. Once back in the city, we made a short stop to view a cathedral:

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As we got nearer the port area we passed a sprawling area of shanty housing, mostly under a flyover – the Argentinian equivalent of the Brazilian favela. The guide told us it mainly housed immigrants:

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My usual check for graffiti and street art showed a different and distinct style compared to the other places and countries we had visited:

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Close to the port I managed to photograph these two buildings through the coach window:

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Once back to the port, as usual we had to walk through the port terminal building before using a port shuttle bus to return to our waiting ship.

Although pretty much this tour was selected for me, I very much enjoyed it as it showed me an area and a way of life in Argentina that I was totally unfamiliar with, and a relaxing cruise around the Delta was ideal after the exertions of the previous day.

 

Postscript: Later that day, around 18:20, we slipped our moorings and set sail for our next port, significant as from now on we would be heading back towards the start and end point for this cruise, Southampton. These are some photographs I took as we sailed out of the port:

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