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A Vaya Traveler’s Epic Poem

Posted by on June 6th, 2018

We love hearing about our travelers’ experiences! Vaya traveler Sharon Dardis, along with her husband and six of their friends, took a trip to Argentina and Chile earlier this year. Sharon was kind enough to share with us an epic poem that she wrote to document the experience, and to give us permission to share part of it with you here. Thank you, Sharon!

Sharon and Stan Dardis at Iguazu

South America – 2018

We’re off to South America!
In Spanish, Vaya: “Go.”
With old friends, Pat and Tony,
and mates we’ve yet to know.

Ranell and Don, from Lily Dale;
Eagan-Burnsville, Ruth and Gary.
We planned and plotted, then we packed,
for memories we’ll carry.

MSP-Atlanta,
Yes, soon we’re off, but wary.
We settle in, a 9-hour flight;
ocean, mountains… Aires.

Arrival Argentina,
humidity and heat.
Vanessa greets from Vaya.
She’s welcoming and sweet.

Boutique Magnolia Hotel.
Edwardo checks us in.
We drop our bags and hit the street.
With maps, it’s sink or swim!

At seven, off to dinner;
Argentinian cuisine.
In hats and aprons, hungry,
eating foods we’ve never seen.

Contest of empanadas,
my elephant’s quite thrilling.
But Gary’s many-legged beast
wins caramel – top-billing!

The wine was flowing, steaks jugoso,
hostesses all charming.
Provolone, my favorite dish;
How late we stayed… alarming!

Day two, so tired, we overslept.
That Stan, who’s never late!
Despacito… breakfast-time…
“Relax!” Thanks, travel mates!

It’s raining as we board the van;
a soggy city tour.
Umbrellas, hats, and jackets;
more warm than home, for sure!

First stop, the Teatro Colon,
The “pride of Argentina.”
A 7-story opera-ballet;
finest we’ve ever seen-a!

Cemetery Recoleta;
mausoleums extraordinaire!
So many dead… a village
of rich folks lying there.

Eva Peron on building face.
Caminito; corrugation.
Vanessa teaches history,
of an independent nation.

And everywhere it seems,
there’s dogs of every color!
Another reason why we love
this country like no other.

Street markets offered shopping,
leather and mate tea.
White hat, Gary posed for pictures.
But wait… hey Ruth, who’s SHE?!

After a day of touring,
it’s pizza, beer we’re needing.
Kentucky Pizza; jamon is ham;
table of eight for feeding!

We backtrack to an Irish Pub;
O’Sullivan’s is open.
Beer, “faux food” to watch the game,
A Vikings win? We’re hopin’!

Yes, Ruth was there in lucky shirt,
Tony, with prayers, was pacing.
We cried and cheered until the win,
a champion in the making!

Then Diggs… a miracle touchdown,
with no time on the clocks!
It’s 29 to 24;
our Keenum QB rocks!

Skol! Spirits high, the half-mile back
felt somewhat like we’re flying.
We dreamt that night of Super Bowl;
no tickets yet we’re buying!

Next morning dawned with sunny skies,
pampas, gauchos, asado.
We horseback ride, and dine and dance.
That baby gaucho…. bravo!

Wine on the terrace, Malbec’s fine,
adios, gracias, goodbye.
Tomorrow it’s Colonia,
welcome to Uruguay!

What day is it? It’s Tuesday.
Our day to board the ferry.
A crowded immigration line,
frustrating wait line? Very!

But sun is out, the sky is blue,
the clouds, a mountainous white.
Another day for gratitude…
safe passage… friends… all’s right.

Alexandra meets us at gate;
Another history lesson.
Colonia is scenic, small,
a peaceful Portuguese blessing.

Hotel Charco; stone-serene,
overlooking rivers wide.
We lunch and shop and decompress;
well worth that ferry ride!

Dinner’s late; can we adjust
to living such as this?
To eat, to drink, to sleep and rise
to greet the dawn, such bliss!

So cocktails in the garden,
and dinner on the bay,
then check out one another’s rooms…
Tony, bidet, Uruguay!

A late a.m. departure;
a much less hectic boarding.
With one less Visa card for us,
our cash we may start hoarding!

An intra-country flight is next,
we’re headed to the falls.
Rontondi’s with “good Donald.”
The park Iguazu calls!

En route we meet the army,
an Argentinean strike.
They tried to block our airport!
We exit… lucky flight!

LATAM offered challenges,
logistics a bit tricky.
We persevered and made the flight;
on landing… humid… sticky!

Vaya’s Adrian won our hearts
with cookies, van, A.C.
Welcome to the national park,
Iguazu Falls / Melia.

Our rooms all face Iguazu Falls,
jaw-dropping sights and sounds.
The distant roar and rising mist,
lush greenery all around.

Patio doors must be kept locked!
These monkeys party hard.
If they pilfer the honor bar,
get out your credit card!

Buffet dinner, cocktails, and wine,
then prep to hike the park.
Hats, umbrellas, bug spray.
We sleep in forest dark!

An early rise, Brazilian time,
our hike begins with sun!
Pat’s backpack has her camouflaged.
Ranelle sees first toucan.

The constant roar of water,
the smell of jungle green.
Huge spiders hanging from their webs;
the largest falls we’ve seen!

We gape and wonder, cameras hot;
to capture this is daunting!
We mostly have avoided crowds,
but soon a rest we’re wanting.

The train station with tiny tracks,
oasis, people-packed.
Ice cream; watch the coatis play.
We choose to walk, sans Pat.

It’s hotter but we soldier on…
my hip, his feet, your knees!
Oh, Adrian have mercy!
At last, the falls we see.

All worth the crowd, the strenuous walk,
thunder… huh? Was that lightning?!
The power of this national park;
unforgettably, wonderfully… frightening!

Completely pooped, we board the train,
Stan will not be denied!
Safely soon back in our room,
we’re showered, rested, dried.

A gift shop stop for postcards,
an exchange scam averted?
A kindly missionary man
helped get cash (not me!) converted.

The rains begin. All night it pours.
Such lucky travelers, we!
At cocktails, Pat delivers shoes.
Happy ending for Tony!

Between the gin and vodka,
We drank bar-tonic dry.
Quite literally were monkeys,
raining from the sky!

Next a.m. to capture breezes,
Pat tempts those monkey tricksters.
Within a flash, a brazen thief
has snatched Rotondi’s Snickers!

With “privileged” later checkout,
we lounge, appreciate
Iguazu peace, serenity,
before our next plane date.

Then packed in van we’re off again.
Goodbye! Can monkeys wave?
Just one more short connection,
then hello to great Chile.

We’re in the airport maze again.
the customs line unending.
In spite of language barriers,
travel angels we’re befriending.

A friendly Aussie couple,
a man who holds the door.
A girl who smiles and lets us pass;
humanity restored.

We’re tired, it’s a long travel day.
We long for beds and rest.
Lastarria is waiting
to welcome weary guests.

Felipe and Alfredo pick us up,
Colchagua Valley calls.
We drive and nap and nap some more…
see vineyards, fruit… no falls!

Apalta lush wine valley,
Carménère, iconic red.
At lunch: Chilean cuisine;
two winery tours are led.

Back then to Santiago;
the streets are filled with life.
Music, families, vendors;
Bocanariz food, wine flights.

Next day it’s Valparaíso,
fine graffiti, funicular, stairs.
Pablo Neruda poet’s home;
street dogs with matted hair.

Chilean lunch another win,
rock fish, fondant and wine.
Even the watermelon salad
our Stan declares “divine.”

A long drive back and now it’s time
to settle in and cheer!
The Vikings versus Eagles;
Ruth and Gary in Vikings gear!

At California Cantina,
Super Bowl hopes undone.
Eagles-Vikings: 38-7… sad!
But it was quite a run.

Our last day spent hop-on-hop-off,
strolling shops and parks.
Our ride arrives at 6 p.m.;
depart Chile after dark!

At home, a storm is waiting,
ten inches blowing snow.
If it won’t melt quite quickly,
once again, we’ll Vaya… go!

So farewell, travel partners.
We’ll miss your smiling faces!
And cherish our great memories
of South American places!

*Special thanks to Pat for organizing!!❤️

Sharon (and Stan) Dardis
January 2018

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