“Are you afraid of spiders? It is important!”

9 Nov

As we disembarked the plane in Posadas, we were greeted by a very warm, sunshiny day with a tickle of a breeze. Adios to the harsh wind of Patagonia! We were driven by truck, with our luggage tied and tarped in the pick-up bed, through the pampas (green, grassy flat lands).  At one point, we were about 10 km from Paraguay, which was just across the river. Our driver was the son of Jose y Marta, who own the Estancia San Lorenzo.  He is very knowledgeable and told us what we were seeing as we passed by— species of birds, breeds of cows, plantations of pine and eucalyptus.

After meeting our very hospitable but very non-English speaking hosts, we had another excellent meal including “one of our own cows from the campo”, of which they seem proud— and they should be! Pobrecita vaca (poor little cow!) tasted bueno! Then, a brief rest “while the sun is strongest” would be followed by a navigation of the marshlands.

We take a short drive to a different part of the estancia (which Jose reports is 1,100 acres) where we can access the canal through the marshlands by boat. For more or less 3 hours, we navigate the canal and lagoon in a long, flat motor boat.  Strategically, I sit on the bench behind Mom so that she is the first to be hit in the face by the thick spiderwebs that somehow traverse the canal. Her Spidey sense is not so good, so she takes most of the webs face-on.

Jose is excellent at identifying various species of birds— too bad I’m not savvy to animal words en espanol. But we get by, and he brought bird guide books with us to help. I am now excellent at identifying the ipacaa, lavandara, and fork tailed fly catcher— but we saw more than a dozen different birds (of the 400 species living in the Ibera wetlands). Only a few birds were polite enough to wait for a photo! We also snapped a few shots of capybara (the world’s largest rodent: a beaver-like animal, sans the tail, and the size of a large dog) and cayman. Oh yeah, and spiders…

On our return trip, we learned the meaning of our host’s question about arachnophobia.  We were instructed to sit on the floor of the boat. The webs before us were glistening in the sunset and filled with spiders the size of a quarter. We were practically lying on the boat floor and those spiders were right over our heads!! Then if they fell in the boat, Jose would yell at me to kill them. Ahh, the adventure continues!

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