The folks in our hotel and around the falls where we visited were friendly but not very many of them speak English. Only a few folks in the hotel have spoken English so even simple things like asking for a wake-up call were difficult. When you call the front desk, they say things like “Speak Spanish?” Many of the locals speak Portuguese, some Spanish and even a local dialect, but English is not yet common here. We often take for granted that we can go anywhere in the world today and find English speakers, but it isn’t so.
We had a quiet morning at the hotel wandering the gardens, having breakfast and preparing to leave the hotel. We departed the hotel for the airport at 11:20am. While we arrived at the Iguazu, Brazil airport, we were departing from the Iguazu, Argentina, airport. This meant that we once again needed to present our passports to depart Brazil, cross the Iguazu River and present our passports to enter Argentina. We did this because there are no direct flights from the Brazilian airport to Buenos Aires. We would have had to fly to Rio or to San Paulo, transfer planes and then fly to Buenos Aires. The airport was under construction and appeared to be in the process of being modernized. When checking in we found that six of us did not have our baggage paid for as part of our ticket (booked by Vantage) and so we were required to pay about $22 each to check our bags. A slow process but we finally got it accomplished, although their printer was not printing properly so they had to email a receipt to us for reimbursement. Our flight departed Iguazu, Argentina about 2:30pm arriving in Buenos Aires about 4:30pm.
Our hotel in Buenos Aires is the Hotel Emperador located in the fashionable Recoleta area, not far from the airport. Our hotel room was on the 15th floor with a nice view overlooking the river, the train station and the slums/shanty towns. The room was spacious and beautifully appointed with antique looking inlaid wood furniture, traditional draperies and a spacious bath.
At 6:00pm we met up with our adventure leader, Paula, and the other 35 travelers who would join us for the trip to Antarctica. After an orientation meeting, we enjoyed a delicious dinner in the hotel’s lobby restaurant. For a starter course they served two good sized empanadas, one with corn and the other with beef. They were served with an olive and herb salsa. The main dish was a tasty beef and mushroom in cream sauce served over a bed of lettuce. This was followed by a bowl of fresh cut fruit in orange juice and a strong cup of coffee.