Welcome to Mar del Plata

Most of you will remember that I went to Las Cataratas del Iguazu before heading to the conference site in Mar del Plata.  I highly recommend that you visit Puerto Iguazu and tour the Cataratas. The jungle is beautiful and the falls are breathtaking. Do the Gran Aventura and go on a boat under the falls with a truck ride through the jungle for a full experience.

After a ‘leisurely’ bus ride to Mar del Plata from Buenos Aires, we were welcomed by a most patient driver who rounded up the slower ones in the group and delivered us to Hotel Las Rocas.  I have to say that Guillermina & Gabriela have gone above and beyond to make this conference one of the most hospitable ever. They arrangeed for fabulous donations and treats.  Every detail is covered. They have even helped with travel plans to get conference goers to places other than the conference.

The spring-time weather was quite refreshing for some with a fine, misty rain, bit of wind and temperatures on the lower side.  Transportation was provided to our Welcome Reception, held at El Museo del Mar, not that far from the hotel.   A wonderful location with an exceptional (to say the least) collection of shells, corals, echinoderms, and other sea creatures. There was a smallish aquarium with rays and sharks for entertainment. A few folks spent time admiring the shells and aquaria, but most of our time was focused on catching up on the past year or so.

El Museo del Mar was founded to house the shell collection of a local businessman. The museum has developed into a much richer community resource with a theater and special programs to highlight the importance of the oceans to the earth’s ecology. Definitely worth a visit when traveling to Mar del Plata.

Wine was flowing freely, although there were options for soda or water. No songs broke out, folks were too busy catching up on the latest news from libraries around the world. From the gist of the conversations all but a few libraries have been hit hard by the world wide economic downturn with budget cuts, lay-offs, and even closures. Hopefully, some of the presentations will give us all ideas to spend our budgets wisely and keep libraries open.

After a brief welcome by Guillermina and Gabriela, with a thank you to the help they have had from the Ministry of Tourism, we were treated to a surprise entertainment: a beautiful, young couple danced a few tangos for us. Amazing foot work, grace, talent… Augusto and Augustine give the impression of having been partners for decades when they are not old enough for more than one decade, if they began as children.

As the feasting resumed with hot hors d’oeuvres including skewers and empanadas and bacon-wrapped cherries (yum). Yet more wine and conversations flowed. Desserts were small sandwich cookies with coffee. Such coffee in Argentina. They like their coffee STRONG. Good thick black coffee though many thin down the flavor with an equal amount of milk. Finally, the bus came to return the well-fed and watered group to the hotel to rest up for the beginning of the presentations in the morning.

StreamNet Regional Librarian
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

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