To break the wordiness of this blog, here are some “gorgeous” pictures of my travels so far. Ironically, I am never a fan of travel blogging, partly because I suck at photography. However, I recently lost a huge stash of photos from some of my previous travels (bye bye the Himalayas, India, Russia, Maldives, France, The Netherlands, Germany, China, USA, Canada, Niagara Falls, South Africa, NZ, Aussieland and gawd knows where else 😦 ) and finally accepted the fact that my memory has limited capacity and will probably fail me one day. So here we go, a travel entry.
In the last 2 weeks, I have had 2 fantastic weekends; I visited one of the places that I endeavored to in my previous bucket list (previous because I stopped having a bucket list, maybe there is no need for a list to validate how well we have lived our lives? ) – Iguazu Falls (or Las Cataratas del Iguazu in Spanish), and I had a fabulous time reuniting with friends in Mendoza last weekend during the Wine Festival.
I made tons of butterfly friends at the waterfalls 😉 Me encanta maripusas!
And of course, the very famous waterfalls. There are more than 200 waterfalls (or las cataratas in Spanish) and they are spectacular.
We spent 2 days at the Argentinian side and had a ball of a time reconnecting with nature. I can’t even begin describing how magical it is to just sit on a rock, feel the water from the waterfalls against our skins, see the eagles (and maripusas!) flying above our heads, spend time doing nothing and be present with the moment we are in.
On day 3, we decided to head to the Brazilian side for a panoramic view of the magnificent falls.
There is so much water. SO MUCH. It’s amazing just thinking how the sheer power of these falls can generate so much energy for Paraguay and Brazil (Las cataratas are in the middle of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil).
Understandably, we got massively drenched on all 3 days but were none the happier. We don’t get opportunities to be part of such grandeur everyday 🙂
Last weekend, I zipped off to Mendoza with a couple of friends here to have a reunion with 2 other friends who are currently doing a round-the-world trip (prior to them leaving, we spent a month together here in Rosario). It was the annual wine festival, better known as La Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia to the Argentines. It is held annually to celebrate the harvest of fruits for Argentina’s finest wines and also to elect the coveted Wine Queen, La Raina de la Vendimia (akin to the Miss Universe pageant). It was a beautiful weekend of wine, fernet (!!!), conversations and friendships.
Pictures of vineyards, wine tours and tastings from our cycling trip to the various bodegas.
In addition to the regular activities, there were many other special events due to the wine festival. For a start, we went to the street parade on Friday night where the competing rainas made their first public appearances to screaming crowds and threw fruits to them as part of tradition, symbolising the harvest of fruits for wine making. It was pretty cute 🙂
On Saturday night, there was a grand concert happening in the heart of the mountains. It was the highlight of the festival and was sort of a ‘must-go’ for all visitors. But the tickets were too expensive in our opinions and because we were very humble travellers, our troop decided to venture up the montanas ourselves in our quest to watch the concert for free. And boy, was I glad we went with our wild, crazy and adventurous hearts; we met a very friendly and helpful taxista who brought us right into the heart of action, making that night at the mountains truly unforgettable for me.
We arrived to an ocean of Argentines (zilch tourists), all happily nestled on every inch of the slippery slopes they could find. Although there were no proper sitting arrangements or areas available (we were on the mountains after all), everyone came prepared with beach towels, bebidas and portable deck chairs to enjoy the festivities on that warm humid night. In the sea of perspiration and body heat, I have never seen more social grace (everyone gave way, helped each other and had so much consideration for others despite the crowd), smiles, excitement and happiness on the faces of people. I was greatly overwhelmed by the atmosphere of joy and the simplicity of finding happiness in the most unexpected places.
However, the real magic took me by surprise an hour and a half into the show, and made me tear like a baby.
The night sky lit up with sparkles of lights as the show came to an end, with myriads of colours exploding right before our eyes. Everyone coo-ed and ahh-ed, and I was fully devouring in the delicious feast of senses. With the backdrop of the city as scenery, watching the flames ignite from the peak of the hills and hearing the massive explosions resonating in my ear drums were kind of surreal. I could not have been more thankful of where I was, there and then.
I did not know what prompted me but I took a moment away from the fireworks and looked into the sea of crowd. And silly, silly me got really emotional as tears welled up in my eyes once again. What I saw greatly moved me – everyone had their heads up towards the night sky, looking intently at the same fireworks, with the same expressions of joy, awe and gentleness on their faces. At that very moment, everyone looked and felt the same to me – people with the same hopes, dreams and desires, appreciating and connected by the same beauty created right before their eyes. It was one of the precious moments where I saw my dream come true – a world where there is no separation or conflicts, just unity, acceptance and love. We are all the same, we live for the same things in life, and we are one.
Someone once told me magic exists everywhere. If we believe in it, we will see it. And I hope you see your hopes, dreams and desires day after day in the most unexpected places, just like I do.