Ituzaingo Wildlife

Some days, it’s rough to be in rural Argentina. In general, it can be tough to be in a town of 2,000-3,000 people, but it’s even rougher when the nearest city (and, to be honest, next bit of civilization) is an hour away and when you’re still very much considered the “outsiders.”

One of the higher points of living in this area, though, is the wildlife. From huge tegu lizards walking across the beach, geckos walking across the sliding door, and a herd of parrots squawking  in the palm tree–there’s a lot of stuff here that’s different from the US. No one here has ever seen a squirrel, but they don’t blink when a huge tarantula runs across the road. Every morning I get to watch the wild guinea pigs scurry on the side of the road. And then, I get to see the Rodents of Unusual Size…

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Every day we see carpinchos (capybara) on our way to work. Carpincho is the Argentinian word for these hundred pound guinea pigs, whereas Capybara is actually the Brazilian Portuguese term. Traveling in herds of up to dozens of individuals, these semi-aquatic animals are some of the coolest things we get to see here.

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They’re surprisingly fast for a short, squat animal. We’ve stopped multiple times to try and just take a closer look at them, only to have them take off like a shot in the opposite direction.

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I was surprised to learn that carpinchos make a much different noise than guinea pigs. Like guinea pigs, they can make “clucking” and “purring noises” to indicate happiness, but carpinchos can also make almost birdlike “chirps” as well as some crying noises (almost like a bird crying) when they are in distress.

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They are incredibly social, and we’ll often see what we refer to as “daycares” in a certain hollow, where it’s all mothers and dozens of babies. It’s very cute.

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The other animal we get to see every once in a while are marsh deer. Notoriously shy, these animals (very similar to the North American mule deer) are categorized as vulnerable. Where we live, it’s illegal to hunt these deer at all–but it does happen. The area we live and work is has been the site of some particularly interesting environmental impacts, so Ituzaingo and the surrounding marshlands are considered a prime area for marsh deer breeding and reintroduction. We often see a solitary deer peeking out of the bushes sometimes in the mornings. We’re not sure if it’s the same deer every time, but it’s always a treat to spy him.

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USA–July 2014

Well, we’re back in Argentina after a week and a half of time in the US seeing friends and family–plus a few days of work. No rest for the exhausted, apparently!

We had two HUGE suitcases that we filled up with all sorts of goodies–so much so that they each weighed 85 lbs! This made for lots of fun navigating the various airports–and a lot of telling overly enthusiastic remis drivers to ten cuidado, or be careful, as they tried to hoist them into the car.  We carried a lot of work stuff, a lot of gifts for coworkers, and a HUGE pile of textbooks back. (More on these exciting personal goals later!)

So, what did we do in the states? We saw these two cuties–who we miss very much. This is the infamous Tesla (the rabbit who was supposed to be in Argentina) and Mr. Winks the guinea pig (who is geriatric and is not travel-friendly):

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We had a lot of fun family time–including a picnic complete with a campfire, fireworks, and smores!

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I swear everyone was much happier than this photo may let on.

We tackled our overgrown lawn a little bit (and had words with the lawn care guy who was supposed to be taking care of it).  A vine even grew up from our pergola, onto our telephone/cable wires, and INTO our bedroom window, curling around the Venetian blinds!

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Finally, we ended our trip watching this happy couple tie the knot near King of Prussia. Congratulations, Keith and Sarah!

A gorgeous, radiant bride…

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A heartfelt and teary ceremony…

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And a great reception!

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Oh, and Argentina got second place in the World Cup. 🙂

It was a great time home. We wish we would have taken two weeks! We didn’t have much time for ourselves or on our own–but we did manage to squeeze in one movie (Transformers 4) and the requisite movie theatre popcorn (a big craving of mine).

It looks like the next guaranteed time back is our official home leave in December for the holidays!