We had our best bus of the trip south of Iguazu Falls in Northern

Argentina. It is what is called a cama bus which means the seats are

almost exactly like a first class on an airplane and we had meal and soft

drink service.

We were very surprised with the landscape which was all conifer forest and

also a number of rivers had large dams on them. There were lots of saw

mills. It appears they are managing to forests well and that there are

all at least second generation that were planted but they are only clear

cutting small tracts and replanting them right away. It is very similar

to the management we have

seen in the Northwestern USA and Canada. It eventually got dark on us

but from what we could see the forest remained.

We got to Concordia, Argentina at 4 am. It is a border town with Uruguay

and got a taxi to a hotel for some needed sleep. We got about 4 hours and

got back to the bus station to catch the bus to Uruguay We met a young

fellow from England and we ended up traveling together for several days. The

immigration went well and we went to Salta, Uruguay not to be confused

with Salta Argentina and stayed in a historic hotel that was built in


We walked down to the river and looked the town over. It had a lot of

historic buildings. It was pretty hot. Like so many places about 30

years ago it had to have been beautiful but it has really faded and would

cost a lot to repair!!! I suspect eventually things will be torn down and

new build if the money can be found. It was interesting on the way into

town on the bus that 4 fellows had brought boxes and boxes of things from

Argentina and they were getting off at 4 different stops and were looking

all around to be sure they were not being watched unloading. You could

definitely tell they were evading customs and the associated taxes.

From Salta Uruguay we headed for Montevideo. Buses do not go inland and

every thing goes to and from Montevideo. Everything interior is by car

and appartently there is not enough bus traffic to pay. Uruguay is almost

all agriculture and is rolling country and would remind you of a midwest

state. There were lots of pasture and almost all Herford cattle with a

few cross breds but all English breeds. We seen a lot of soybeans and

some fruit and vegetables.

There were some rocky outcrops but the crops looked good. They had

recently had a large amount of rain as the streams and rivers were out of

there banks. We seen a number of large lakes and also a number of rivers

with dams on them. There were not many towns and the ranches did not have

a lot of buildings and the houses were small. We did see a few beautiful

ranch houses but they were far and few. We did see a number of big grain

handling facilities.

We seen a lot of proverty and poor housing. As we got close to Montevideo

we seen a lot of industry and manufacturing and could see the ocean. It

seems so often that the economy looks better around the cities but of

course there is much poverty and poor housing there as well.

The bus station is very nice with a huge shopping mall upstairs. We were

told this

would be a cheap place to live but you sure could not prove it by us as

the prices were as high or higher than the US and it is not nearly as nice

with lots of old run down buildings and poor housing. The people are

dressed nice and there are some nice buildings and about anything you

would want you could buy but we did not see any bargins. We are told

foreign people living here can buy land and get health insurance cheap and

the health care is good. We did see several hospitals and clinics. We

stayed in the old part of town and taxis are cheap here. We walked down

by the ocean in the old city and got supper which was some great steak but

again it was not cheap!!!

The old building here are being refurbished in a big way so if they don't

run out

of money there is going to be a lot of historic places that look very

nice. It is safe here other than in the one area you should not go at

night. Again we stayed

in a old historic hotel. The ceilings had to be 15 feet high. I have

never seen such high doors!!!

As is our custom we bought the bus ticket for the next day when we arrived

so we are sure of having one. On our bus were some back packers from

England. Much to our amazement we were like on a bullet express as the

bus never stopped!!! We have never experienced this before as the buses

at best stop several times and at worst for every wide spot along the road

or commonly pick anybody up along the road that flags the bus down. It

often gets standing room only. Anyway we watched to coast towns go by the

window and ended up at Punta Del Diablo in less than 4 hours. It is about

as far north as you can go on the Atlantic coast of Uruguay and is near

Brazil. It is a sprawling town with no planning and pretty junky but is

is popular with Argentina people who come across in there cars, Brazil

from the north and of course Uruguay and back packers. We have heard and

spoke more English here than any place we have been. There are a few here

from Canada but most are from Europe and of course no USA. Our count

still holds at 5 people we have met from the USA. I suspect it may hold

at that number for the 60 days we are in SA.

This is a great surfing spot and we find along the ocean it is cool,

surprisingly cool in comparison to inland. It would say it is in the 60's

and there seems to be a breeze all the time. The locals wear coats but

the back packers and us are a lot tougher and at most when the sun goes

behind the clouds put on a long sleeved shirt but generally not. This is

a tourist spot so things are high priced although this hostel is $52 a

night which is fairly spendy for a hostel. The way to cheapen things up

is to go to the grocery store and buy bread, meat, cheese, water etc.

Anyway we have been eating for about $3.50 total a meal where at the

restaurant you have a hard time getting by for $20-$40.

We have walked the beach which goes for miles and miles. There are lots

of beach towns back to the south and they are more expensive and crowded

so that is why we and a lot of back packers come here. Fairly close

to Montevideo is Punta Este which rich people from around SA come for

holidays as well as celeberties.

Uruguay people are easy going people and are polite and not pushy. They have

a rich cowboy (Gaucho) heritage. They had it very good until the crash in

2002 and are still recovering and had massive bail outs from the IMF and

USA. They are well educated but the educational standards have slipped

some and the private schoools are the best. They have become more liberal

in recent years and certainly you would have to describe the country

system as socialism. Life expectancy is 75 years of age one of SA

highest. The people are of Spanish decent with few Indians left and have

a light complexion by and large.

We have noticed people here are laid back and love to visit and drink Mate

a type of herbal tea. The back packers here seem more inclined to follow

that routine and just relax, do some surfing are walk or sit on the beach

and even more so to just relax around the hostels and do like we are doing

to buy things at the super marcado and cook in the kitchen. It really is

very quiet here. Internet is free and we have wi-fi free with very good


We have our bus tickets and tomorrow we had for Parana and then San Martin

in Argentina and visit with Mario an amateur radio friend and his family

and take a break from the steady traveling and have some dental work done

and eat some good food as it is cheap and of high quality. We stayed here

for about 5 weeks in 2007 while my broken leg and ankle healed. We are

looking forward to that!

We have no idea how far we have traveled so far but I would guess at least

6000 miles via bus and probably farther.

Ed and Edith