“Daddy, I love it here. I wish we could stay here forever.” Ava told us after having arrived in Tigre.
After stepping off the Azamara Pursuit at 9:15 in the morning a few days ago, it was only a 20 minute walk to the train station for our next hop. We found a coffee shop in the station that had good wifi and we caught up on emails, news and finalized our Antarctica video. Already, I was planning to go back there but this time hoped to scuba dive and started looking into how we could get ice diving experience.
Tigre is considered a northern suburb of sprawling Buenos Aires but has the last vestiges of what one might call a town before jumping off into the frontier. We were set to stay at a small cabin on the banks of the river but were told that supermarkets were long walks and we were better off taking our food with us. We had bought 6 steaks, 2 loaves of bread, butter, chorizo, potato chips, milk, coffee, wine, potatoes, spices, 3 mangos, 3 tomatoes, 1 cucumber, cereal and strong armed 5 shopping bags full of food along with our luggage to the pier. Communicating solely in Spanish with our host and boatman, through ‘What’s app‘, we met our boatman “Beto” who took us by boat taxi up a series of canals to our little casa called ‘Sol De Medianoche’ which translates to ‘midnight sun.’ “We wouldn’t have been able to come here without speaking Spanish” Lisa glowed triumphantly.
Our stay was magical. Our cabin was poised upon stilts to save it from perennial flooding and we were befriended by local dogs that came to hangout with us on our balcony demanding ear and tummy rubs. There was a dinner ‘surge’ of canines especially when we discarded fatty scraps from our steak dinners which bought their affection instantly. The whole stay felt like going to the cabin in Minnesota or Wisconsin with locals zipping by in small boats and kids swimming the murky water and making mud pies on shore. The days were long and at night we’d sit on the balcony watching whatever the river brought by, listening to music, dodging mosquitos and counting our blessings.
The Almacen Boat
We went through food fast. By the second day, we had burned through our steaks and most of our eggs and were at risk of running out of sustenance. Luckily, there is a river boat called the ‘Almacen’ which translates to ‘mercantile’ which makes its rounds between 12:00 and 1:00 and docks wherever locals come down to the water’s edge and wave it over. Its arrival was the most exciting part of our day and much like when the ice cream truck rang its bell to announce its arrival in our neighborhood on a sweltery July summer day back when we were kids.
Shiny luck. With our new found fortune, we were able to stock up on fruit, eggs, coffee, salt, pepper and chorizo sausages for evening barbecue. For locals, this IS the grocery store and we welcomed it every day. Pura vida.
Science and Reading Lessons
Ava’s educational time was structured around the science of river deltas. The Tigre delta felt similar to that of communities of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam with its houses and dirt walking paths mirroring the larger river channels but she didn’t know the science of how they formed. Coincidentally, we were reading “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” as our guided reading book which is about an African American girl named Cassie whose family grows up in the Mississippi river delta although the book is less about the science of river deltas and more about the harsh prejudice of racism. As the first day of our stay was during Martin Luther King Jr. day, there were some nice lessons on the importance of standing up for others.
Tomorrow, we’ll have 7 forms of transportation back down to Buenos Aires and across the border to Monteverde, Uruguay where we’ll be for the next 2 weeks.
Wish us luck.