We debated over our next move. The choices were grab a flight to Salta or take a ferry to Uruguay. Marc had also read about a small suburb of BA that sounded promising: Tigre. We opted to go there first and figure things out. The trip to Tigre was cheap and easy. Thanks to the advice of our hotel, we caught the train at the Blegrano Station, rather than all the way in the center of town. From Belgrano it's only a half an hour to Tigre, which also happens to be the end of the line. And tickets cost less than $2US each way.
The heart and soul of Tigre lies on the river. Here the waterways are the streets and boats are your cars. Marc found Fernando by chance online and emailed him to book a day trip through the aqueous town. He said his stand would be in the station and easy to find once we got there. This wasn't quite the case. Apparently writing English isn't his strong suit. Thankfully, we had his cell number so we were able to find him. He was a little confused at first, as there were two couples, both husbands named Marc, who had contacted him from BA about a trip that day so our private tour turned into semi-private, with us picking up some Germans as well, along the way.
The other Marc was actually from Beverly Hills (small world) and his wife was South African. Unprepared, Fernando's wife and son drove us in their very small car to the boat landing, all four of us piled in the back seat. As soon as we reached the boat launch I could tell that the other couple had no idea what was in store. I think she was nervous as we piled into the small zodiac at the dock. But this was exactly what we were expecting. Fernando's English was mush better than we expected and he proved an excellent and entertaining guide.
Fernando navigated us through the semi-congested arteries, passing local houses on stilts next to wealthy BA summer homes. Out on the open water the smaller boats of the "streets" of Tigre gave way to yachts up from the city for the day. Eventually we pulled into the middle of a lagoon, of sorts, where people were wading in the water on a submerged sandbar. Fernando asked if anyone wanted a swim. Um, yes please! Marc and I immediately jumped in the water much to the surprise of the other couple and the Germans. The sand was supple. The ripples in the lagoon floor massaged our feet and the iron rich water was soft and surprisingly warm-ish. I think everyone else on the boat thought we were crazy, but who cares? We didn't come all this way not to dive right in.
Back on the boat, Fernando navigated us down an uninhabited artery where we could see more fauna and wildlife, mainly spiders at this time of year. Then we ended up at his "bar" for lunch. His bar was basically an old house on the river he rents with some of his buddies that they use for their lunches on their boat trips and, from what I can tell, their own parties every now and then. But Fernando's specialty was his steaks. The man can cook. Lunch was one of the most delicious steaks ever along with some grilled potatoes and a superb Malbec. He was even kind enough to offer Marc and I use of his house for the night, free of charge, since he knew we were wanting to sleep in Tigre. Sadly, we had no boat and it was too far from town so we had to decline.
After lunch we returned to town, just in time for rush hour. While the other passengers headed back to BA, we explored the city on foot, looking for a place to stay. We finally ended up at a B&B near the train station run by a family out of their beautiful, rustic 100+ year old mansion. We dropped off our bags and headed back toward the port where the local market was just wrapping up for the day. The only drawback to Tigre, is without a map or any other knowledge of the city, we had trouble finding a place to eat. It was just one bad pizza joint after another.
Eventually we ended up at the pizza place that had the most people, figuring it would probably be the best. I thought Argentinians knew their Italian food, but apparently not in Tigre. While not the worst meal of my life, if was definitely the worst of the trip thus far. Oh well, you can't win them all.