Saturday, December 10, 2022

Brazil and Argentina - Covid Shortened

In 2020, from March 10 to 22, we had a wonderful trip to South America planned with Judy's sister and brother and their spouses. It included trips to Iguazu Falls, both Brazil and Argentina; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay; El Calafate, Argentina, including the Perito Moreno Glacier; a drive into Chile to Torres del Paine NP; Punta Arenas, Chile, including Magdalena and Marta Islands; Santiago, Chile; and then home. 

We left Los Angeles (LAX) on Tuesday, March 10, at 9:45 p.m. on LATAM. We arrived in Lima (LIM), Peru about 8:14 a.m. on Wednesday, March 11, and had breakfast at La Nacional in the airport. We had a 12:35 p.m. flight on LATAM to Iguassu Falls, Brazil (IGU), arriving about 6:35 p.m. We were met by Judy's siblings and taken to the San Martin Cataratas Resort & Spa for the night. We had dinner at the hotel, then all got in a car for a drive into Argentina for a "full moon walk" (without any lights) to Iguazu Falls. We took a natural gas powered train that covered 14 km in 25 minutes to reach the Devil's Throat Trail, then walked a .7 mile footbridge to the Devil's Throat. While we were waiting for our drive we heard that the NBA had cancelled their season and that the LDS Church had cancelled Sunday church services because of Covid. We knew that this trip might get tricky. We did not get back to our hotel until about 1:00 a.m. 
     La Nacional - Lima, Peru  (Bob)

Thursday, March 12, we stayed on the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls. The men took a spectacular 18 minute helicopter tour over Iguazu Falls and the women elected not to. Then we took a boat up the Iguazu River to just below the falls and I got drenched, impacting my camera. Then we walked up to the walkways on the Brazil side of the falls and we stopped for lunch and were then taken into Argentina for the night at the Merit Iguazu Hotel in Puerto Iguazu. That evening we had a wonderful dinner at La Rueda (the wheel) and I had one of the best steaks I've ever eaten, smothered in a red chimichurri sauce. At dinner, most of the talk was about concern for the trip. We were scheduled to spend some more time at Iguazu Falls, on the Argentina side, in the morning, then fly to Buenos Aires.
     South American Coati  (Bob)
Friday, March 13, Judy's brother Dave heard from an attorney in Buenos Aires during the night that the government had drafted a proposal that called for a mandatory 14 day quarantine for visitors from high-risk countries, including the United States. He told Dave that we should get back to Brazil as soon as possible and then get back to the U.S. That morning we all sat around a table in our hotel and made reservations to get back home, at a cost of $1,184.75 each for a one-way flight. We got a cab to take us back into Argentina. Our driver stopped at Parque das Aves, a rain forest bird sanctuary, to give us an hour there, then took us to Foz do Iguacu International Airport where we had to wait about eight hours for our 8:05 p.m. LATAM flight back to the U.S. We spent at least five hours in a small coffee shop. Our flight out of Brazil was delayed for almost two hours, we left just before 10:00 p.m. Then we had a four hour flight to Lima with two time zone changes, so we arrived there about midnight. We got on a 1:01 a.m. LATAM flight for LAX which was only about one-third full. We sat on the runway for two hours waiting for clearance from LAX to enter U.S. airspace. We took off about 3:00 a.m. and arrived at LAX about 8 1/2 hours later. LAX was a ghost-town. Out of ten luggage carousels, ours was the only one operating. Fortunately we made the move to go home when we did. Our regularly scheduled flights home were cancelled and we would have been quarantined in Argentina for two weeks. 
     Toco Toucan  (Bob) 
     Scarlet Ibis  (Bob)

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