Posadas - Day 6
Today is our last day of relaxation before we drive to Iguazu Falls and then on from there to Salta where we pick up our car and driver and head out for 5 days in the Andean high plains.
Day opened cloudy and overcast but quickly cleared with a bright sun and a strong wind whirling though the trees. Our hosts made a number of suggestions for activities for us but we opted to lie in the shade and relax since we knew that we had a number of high intensity days ahead of us. Got the blog caught up, downloaded the pictures on various cameras and just slowly puttered the day away. The rest of the guests were all out on various activities and so we had the place to ourselves.
By mid-afternoon the weather changed and the strong winds that had been blowing all day began to bring large dark thunderheads over the horizon and they quickly filled the skies. Booming thunder and a great play of lightning for an hour or two but no rain. What was fascinating was something that I had never seen before, a great cloud of dragonflies appeared and they buzzed a and hovered as the sound and light show was as its most violent, they would then disappear when things quieted a little only to reappear when it became intense again. Eventually the skies opened and it rained copiously and periodically until late in the evening when we went to bed.
Dinner was very good, caprese salad with good tomatoes, fresh basil from the hotel's garden and fresh mozzarella, a main of a very tender veal steak and a wonderful desert. After dinner the guests, all 8 of us plus a couple of women architects who are staying in one of the guest rooms and are preparing the plans to extend the number of rooms and the food and dining areas, retired to the sitting room and chatted over wine. The more noticeable of the two architects was a woman, tall and slim, in her mid to late 50's with a pleasant but forceful voice and manner. The conversation eventually turned to Argentina and it's challenges. Very interesting insights into the education system, the economy and most tellingly politics and corruption. The architect was a very bright, clear-sighted woman with strong analytical powers, great fluency in putting complex ideas into words and seemingly an objectivity about her country and it's strengths and weaknesses. As might be expected, a lively discussion ensued.
The one troubling aspect of our stay was first noticeable when we were driving up the hotel on the first day when we could see that extensive tracts of land were given over to eucalyptus. That same afternoon when we visited the lagoon all the vast countryside that we drove through and also owned by the group that owns the hotel, was also planted under eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus is an invasive species that depletes soils, overruns competing species, is deadly for indigenous bird and animal species, and simply siphons water out of the water table and in fact is used to drain swamps. When I asked the architect why the company would plant eucalyptus in the face of its commitment to sustainable practices I was told the the trees were not a problem, concerns were over-hyped and there was lots of water in the wetlands yet our guide in the lagoon expressed concern at the continual lowering of the water level in the swamp.
A very pleasant stay, but left with a troubled feeling and lots of unanswered questions.