By one in the afternoon we arrived at Salto. The ride was fairly easy, being only about six hours, and we slept through much of it. At the station we found wifi, which we used to contact our host and tell them we were arriving. The bus station was in the same complex as a big shopping center, so I sent Laura on a food run while I waited for a response from the host. We were thrilled to have our own kitchen, and to be getting to eat the way we like for two straight days.
Laura took a long time with the groceries, so I also looked around for things to do in Salto. It was way too hot for us to want to go to any hot springs, but there was a nice looking water park, and I thought the girls might enjoy that. Once Laura came back with groceries, we hoisted our heavier than usual load of bags and grabbed a cab. The driver told me that there was a nice zoo, free of charge to enter, right across the street from our place. Again, mixed feelings about this. It’s nice to have to something fun for the girls, but seeing a bunch of depressed caged animals is always hard on me.
Laura wasn’t feeling like going out, so I took the girls across to the zoo and spent a few hours there with them. It was a surprisingly nice zoo, for being free, though not really big. They had some cool exotic animals, including lions and tigers, and lots of monkeys. Lila loved the playground, and we spent almost as much time there as we did looking at the animals. The girls also enjoyed, as usual, picking grass and feeding it to the deer and goats.
That evening we cooked ourselves a nice meal and enjoyed the air conditioning. It was great not having to go out. This was our first private house on the whole trip, and it was awesome. The house was in the backyard of a nice couple who had a beautiful garden. We had to go through a gate to get to the yard, and the next door neighbors had two really big dogs, one of whom liked to jump on the wall and bark right by my face while I was struggling to get the gate open. It happened more than once, and even though the dog was friendly and I knew it was coming, it still startled the daylights out of me each time. I think he did it on purpose, for laughs.
The next day we slept in, or rather, the girls slept in and I got up early to get some work done on the computer. By the time we all ate and got the girls ready for the park, it was already past eleven. Later than I wanted to get moving, but I have had to learn to ease back on the pace when traveling with four girls who like to sleep in. Lila and Laura stayed home, as Lila didn’t do so well at the last water park, and Laura wasn’t interested.
We took a cab out to the water park, which was in the hot springs area, outside of town. There’s basically a whole different little town there, geared entirely towards tourism. As we walked towards the entrance of the park, thunder rumbled in the distance. Not good.
At the gate the lady warned me that they might have to close the pools and the slides because of the storm. We had come all the way out, and I didn’t want it to be for nothing, so I took the chance that maybe they would leave the park open.
We got our stuff put into lockers and headed for the first slide. Once at the top of the line, I asked if the girls wanted to go first, and they said I could go ahead. So down I went, finding the ride to be disappointing. Once at the bottom, I looked back up to the girls, to see them coming down the stairs. The ride had been closed. All the rides were now closed. Ouch. They hadn’t even gotten wet yet.
We could have still gotten into the pools (though those would surely close soon too) but I figured we had a better chance of getting our money back if we showed that the kids hadn’t even gotten into the water. They were mostly excited about the rides, so they were okay with just leaving. They were upset, but they took it well.
We did get our money back, and with little else to do in the area, we sat at the bus stop to head home. What a bummer. Though I guess missing out on a water park beats getting struck by lightning. (I would have taken my chances, personally.) While we were waiting for the bus, the thunder got louder, and Eva even saw a huge fork of lightning.
So with our morning wasted, we went back to the house. It was raining by the time we returned, and we now had only half a day left before we would have to depart for Iguazu, the next morning. I still hadn’t explored Salto, and I was going to walk around, regardless of the rain. To my surprise, Laura wanted to come too. This meant we all had to go, and though the girls were unhappy about it at first, they seemed to enjoy walking in the rain. We all wore sandals, knowing our feet would be drenched no matter how careful we were, and the girls loved walking in the rivulets running along side the street, though they each almost lost a flip flop for good when they slipped off and started getting carried away. Thankfully there was always someone downstream to catch them.
Our house was fairly close to downtown, but our walk was not short, and after about an hour, spirits began to sag. Laura wanted to walk down to the waterfront, so we headed that direction, the girls now quite tired of walking, the novelty of being out in the rain shifting into discomfort at being wet.
We pushed on though, with the promise of desserts as soon as we found a suitable place being the only thing to keep them going. We made it to the water, which was nice, if not stunning, and then started back up into town, amidst much protest. We had to go a long ways before we found a dessert place, but the girls were glad to finally get their reward.
(How I sometimes feel when the girls demand desserts and treats after a long day of complaining...)
While they ate cakes, I went next door to a grocery store to find a few things to add to our dinner. We under-purchased on the first shopping run, not wanting to have leftover food that we can’t carry with us, so I got a few more vegetables to add to our dinner that night. I joked that even on days when we have our own kitchen and don’t have to worry about getting stuck walking around the city looking for somewhere to eat, we go through the same ordeal, over desserts. Just desserts, I suppose. Our eternal reward.
We were all drenched and exhausted by the time we got home, and it felt great to take a hot shower and put on some music while we cooked. The next day we would cross the river back into Argentina, where we would have to hang out for the afternoon, waiting for an overnight bus to Iguazu. Our last overnight bus ride, I assured everybody.
I was glad that Iguazu would be one of the last places we visited, because it was sure to be epic. Everything we’ve seen has been interesting, but because we’re traveling by bus, we’re seeing the whole spread, from spectacular tourist destinations like Machu Picchu and Iguazu, to the tiny towns like Salto or the vast empty deserts of Northern Peru. I very much enjoy seeing the full picture, though I admit, it’s been hard on the girls. This is the world we’re living in, though. From breathtaking mountaintop views to stinky side streets, we walk this earth in irritation or in awe.
“You know life is what you make of it, so beautiful or so what.”