Saint Death and The Ibera Wetlands

Saint Death

I came across a strange place in northern Argentina. It was called the Sanatorio de San La Muerte. I had never heard of “Saint Death” so it sounded interesting. I stopped by and it was a chapel of sorts, covered with gifts and prayers to Saint Death asking him (or her I guess, why does death always have to be male?) to keep the person safe, etc. The phenomena is growing- a movie has just come out in Mexico exploring the topic. Some say it goes back to the 1700s when the Spanish kicked the Jesuit priests out of Latin America. Anyway, the person I talked there was cool and gave me some souvenirs. Here`s a photo of a card showing Saint Death and on the reverse side a prayer. The other photos show examples of some of the gifts that people had left for Saint Death. I guess he has a drink now and again.

The Ibera Wetlands

After Saint Death (and Gauchito Gil, but that`s another story) I spent a couple days exploring the Esteros, or wetlands of Ibera. The name is Guaraní for “Brilliant Water”. It is the second largest wetlands in the Americas, second only to Brasil´s Pantanal. It covers about 13,000 sq. km. and is home to many hundreds of species of birds and fish, as well as caymans, capybara, snakes and marsh deer.

I took a boat tour around one of the lagoons, a lake really. Here is a nice shot of swamp grass.

We saw dozens of caymans. Here are a few. This species is a yacaré negro.

Then we saw a bunch of Capybara, or Carpinchos (water pig). These are the largest rodents in the world. They didn`t really do much,  just sat there and watched us.

Then I did some hiking around the place. Here are a few pix from that day.

I also saw some howler monkeys but they were sleeping and just looked like lumps of fur so no pix.

Here are a couple more. First is a local kid who I met and I gave him a little piece of chocolate. Of course, he followed me everywhere after that, I could not get rid of him. He wanted me to take a photo of him every five minutes.

Finally. This sign was posted in the hotel room I stayed in. I loved the English translation. Katrina and Ira, you should post some Japanese ones.