Rainy Iguazu

I was told that it was super hot in Iguazu. So I packed only t-shirts, shorts and bikinis without checking the weather report.

When I reached Iguazu, it was 23C, chilly and rainy!

Passengers on the plane gave the pilot a huge round of applause for a perfect landing in the rain.

Torrential rain - Iguazu Airport

Driving in the rain

Paid 30 pesos for a bus/van ride to the hostel. You can buy the ticket at the airport. I thought the price was reasonable.

Serenity - Garden Stone Hostel

I always try my best to avoid any party hostels. Garden Stone is perfect for me. Excellent location in town. Quiet, with beautiful tropical garden. I feel like I’m in Hawaii!

Puerto Iguazu is quiet a lovely town. Of course, it’s very touristy, but I like the relaxed small town feel – a good change from big city Buenos Aires lifestyle.

It was Friday night. I went out to a Parrilla for chorizo and pollo pasta. Too bad there wasn’t anyone to share a bottle of wine with me. :(

Came back to the hostel and spotted a lone soul sitting at the dining area, working on his computer. I struck a conversation with him and discovered that he planned to visit Iguazu Falls tomorrow as well. Perfect! My 6th sense told me that he’ll be a good travel companion. So, I invited him to join me.

His name is Steve, from Sydney.

“7:30am, we meet at the cocina (kitchen)”. Steve said.

“I’ll be there.” I replied.

Off to bed to prepare for a long day tomorrow.

Life Is Too Short Not To Live It

I’m so excited to be selected as one of the top 20 finalists in G Adventures ‘You’ll Never Forget It’ contest. This is a screen test made for the contest, in support of G Adventures 20/20 Vision Centre in Moung Russey, Cambodia.
I had my vision corrected in 2009. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am to be able to see the world without the trouble of glasses or contact lenses. (See my LASIK video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT2xw2B9XeY)

Coming from a conservative Asian background, I was never encouraged to travel much. But I have dreams, and dreams must be fulfilled.

Before each trip, I can’t help but feeling anxious and nervous about it; with butterflies going nuts in my stomach. But I don’t stop, I go for it. I am currently traveling solo in Argentina, and I don’t speak Spanish. ^_^

I feel free and complete.

Life is too short to not to live it. We are all passerbys on this beautiful planet earth. Live it or leave it? I choose to live it to the fullest. How about you? :)

Do you have a dream place? Go see it. Now. That’s the spirit of G Adventures.

Good luck on your journey.

Ciao!

My First Bachata Dance Lesson in Buenos Aires

I am in love with Bachata music. I listen to it every morning during breakfast time. Angel, the assistant property manager at Conventillo de Lujo was kind enough to give me a short lesson on Bachata. By the way, Angel is a beautiful dancer in tango too. :)

Video: My FIRST Bachata lesson.

Learned some basic Bachata moves. It was great fun! :)

Thanks to Amy for the recording.

Bachata:
Bachata is a style of dance that originated in the Dominican Republic. It is danced widely all over the world but not identically.
The basics to the dance are three-step with a Cuban hip motion, followed by a hip tap on the 4th beat. The knees should be slightly bent so the performer can sway the hips easier. The movement of the hips is very important because it’s a part of the soul of the dance. Generally, most of the dancer’s movement is in the lower body up to the hips, and the upper body moves much less.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bachata_(dance)

Dancing Bliss

Excellent performance at Villa Malcom last night. In Buenos Aires, there’s no shortage of milonga every night. I have been learning and dancing on a daily basis. Planning on extending my trip …

Villa Malcom Milonga

Villa Malcom Milonga

Tango Map Guide is a free guide that has milonga listing for every day.

Milonga Schedule in Buenos Aires

Milonga Schedule in Buenos Aires

For example, here’s the schedule for Wednesday. Check out the hora (time). Most milongas don’t start before 10pm, and usually end late around 3am. When I left at 2am last night (Wednesday) at Villa Malcom, its dance floor was still jam-packed! I wondered … is Thursday not a work day?

Changing Money in Argentina

Many Argentineans are desperate for dollars.

I didn’t know this until a friend a mine (non-Argentinean) told me her frustrating story on exchanging pesos to dollars. Her landlord requested rental payment in dollars only. She had to withdraw pesos from the ATM (ATM fee) and then exchange them to dollars (lost some money due to the exchange rate) at the bank. Bank has asked for her legal documents, the reason she needed the money, etc. It was a huge hassle.

So, I checked with my host regarding the money changing situation in Argentina. She told me that since October 2011, government has imposed currency control and has restricted its residents to buy dollars. ATM has daily withdrawal limit as well. I don’t know the real reason for this currency control and I don’t how how long it would last.

I brought enough dollars with me that would last the whole trip. Paying in dollars at hostels was welcomed.

Since dollars are desirable, you can get better rate if you buy pesos from the locals. I would assume they would later sell the dollars in the black market.

The exchange rate that I get was 4.30 which was just about the official rate. I didn’t really negotiate. I thought it was fair. I heard in the black market you can get 5.0+ rate.

I have been careful not to exchange too much since I don’t want to end up with lots of pesos at the end of my trip. I’m not sure how easy it is for tourists to change the pesos back to dollars. We might have to show receipt at the bank? When you buy your pesos from the locals, perhaps you can pre-negotiate with them so that you can exchange the extra pesos back to dollars later.

Be aware of fake Argentinean bills floating around.

Happy travels.