This morning I went on a little tour. Organised by the hotel, not too expensive; so, sí Señor, I’ll go on your tour. So I go down to the lobby at 9.00 a.m. as instructed, and there’s the guy, and… err, no-one else. And we go out to… his little Peugeot. It’s just me and him in his car. Hmmm, how weird? This isn’t a tour as such, is it? It’s just one of the employees ferrying me to a couple of ruins. I forget his name, let’s call him Julio. We set off, and we muddled through with my vague understanding of Spanish. He put a Coldplay CD on, and we were on the road. Oh yeh, Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, that’s us; heading off to see what was left of the little Jesuit villages about 60 kilometres away.
Jesuits (the word is a portmanteau of Jesus and biscuits, two things these dudes loved a lot) came here in the 17th century and set up a load of little villages in this part of the world, spread over what is now a small part of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. They converted some of the local chaps with their crucifix-shaped chocolate chip cookies. Or something.
First stop, Santa Ana. Julio sat in the car while I went off. A very friendly fellow offered to show me around. He spoke no English, but took great pains in making sure that I was following what he said. Really nice of him, that, I thought; thinking of different ways to phrase things so I could grab hold of a few of the words that I do know and kinda form an idea of what he was on about. That’s where the folks lived, that’s the workshop area, this is the cemetery, etc. The site at Santa Ana hasn’t been restored, so it’s quite crumbly, but in a way, I prefer seeing that kinda stuff.
Back in the car, Coldplay back on, and we’re rocking our way to San Ignacio Miní. Apparently, this is the best example of what the Jesuits got up to down here. It has been restored and it does look pretty good. As with other things in Argentina, entry prices vary (Argentinians AR$10, Latin Americans AR$12, Fancy-pants tourists from elsewhere AR$15). Bit of a rainy day by this point. I didn’t have a coat, either. I had a good look around though. Yep, it’s nice there. There was a little museum next to it, and they had some music on headphones. I really enjoyed some the Guaraní songs (the indigenous people from these parts), but there was, sadly, no CDs or anything. No gift shop at all, in fact. Sod’s Law, really. The first time I’ve wanted a gift shop on my whole trip, and there isn’t one.
Back in the car, and we’re listening to “A Rush Of Blood To The Head” again and bombing along heading back to Posadas, which, being 1° de Mayo, is virtually entirely close for the day. Rain and nothing open. Well, looks like today will be a holiday for me too, so, I plumped up the pillows, and watched some telly. I didn’t take my dirty shoes off while I was on the bed. How’s that for rebellion!?
Now, the 14-year-old Craig’s version of the day:
The 37-year-old Craig dragged me along with this boring guy who listened to bloody Coldplay ALL the time. Went to some ruined rubbish. Boring. Had to stand around in the rain while this fat guy talked to the 37-year-old Craig about where the drainage from the workshops went. Jesus Christ! How bloody boring? THEN we had to go to another place that looked virtually the same. God, I hate the 37-year-old Craig. Then we came home and had to listen to Coldplay again. When we got back to the hotel, we watched an episode of “24” on TV. It was so ace, there was a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles and Jack Bauer was released from a Chinese prison and he’s got a big beard and everything! It was skill! Then I drank some Coke, and ate some chocolate.