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UP THE ALTO PARANA - 1904 - Pág. 2

 

Wednesday, 16th November 1904. Up at 4.a.m. and found half a dozen native soldiers, as an escort, waiting with a light American four-wheeled carriage, and a kind of covared two-wheeled cart; off and away to the town at 5.a.m. after coffee, eggs and bacon, or, as Budge calls it, "a little "bit of Tiger!" In the  town the Governor and the Chief of Police joined us , with more soldiers, and after fixing ourselves - the Governor, White,and I in the four-wheeler, and_Holt and Greene with the Chief of Police in the two wheeler - we started at 5.30 a.m. in the same perfect weather for Apostoles Colony. Country very broken, uphill and down dale, soil ferric and therefore brickdust red, rocky at times, well wooded at intervals, enough big and small streams, grasses hard, and fit for cattle only; anything could be grown though, in such a country as this. Drove some 14 leagues, after changing horses four times, and stopped at a small wooded stretch where we had a picnic lunch, after which we proceeded to "Playadito", a spot recognized by a couple of houses or a trifle more, and where the Santo Tome -Posadas diligence passes the night going between places.

Halfway to Posadas we stopped near a place called Playadito, where we had a small lunch "al fresco", and were just about to resume our journey when this was taken. From left to right: White; Chief of Police; F:H:C_B_; Governor Lanusse; Holt; Soldiers in  background. At the back of white can be seen the dogcart that Holt & Greene siffered in.

Same as previous one, but different arrangement of figures. Tommy Greene in white breeches, takes the place of F.H.C.B.

From here we struck off north, with the large Liebig camp to the right of us, and going some 4 leagues we met the river Chiminay, which divides Corrientes Province from Misiones. So far our journey had been pretty much at a galop, bumping about quite as much as one can stand, and lost in wonder that our carriage had not resigned leagues back on the road. We found the Chiminay too much to drive over, so approaching the ford the soldiers took an Adam state and swam the carriage over; ditto the horses, and leaving us to cross with our scanty baggage in a "piragua", or dug-out canoe, the crankiest and most uncomfortable thing it has ever been my lot to suffer in for many a season, but which mercifully landed us safe and sound on the Misiones side. I couldn't help a snap-shot at two of our soldiers who sat in a state of nature "drying" in the sun after they had gone over the Chiminay.

 At this point as we were on the edge of the Apostoles Colony, down the hill came the Colony Manager, Police Commissary, and Judge, with a snail following of soldiers, so we were immediately taken charge of and we cantered across some 2 or 3 leagues through this prosperous colony, and on to the Administration building, an excellent stone structure standing in a good garden, with courtyard, etc., and every comfort. Here we were provided with fresh horses, mine the laziest I ever mounted, and all rode off to view the Jesuit ruins, which shew that in this place in particular, there must have been a large town, and an enormous agricultural centre; the Church must have been an imposing edifice, the public square and buildings, public baths, etc., all were evidently on a large scale, and now nothing remains but the fallen rocks of roughly worked iron-coloured stone, bound up here and there and covered with the most magnificent tangled forest growth it has been my good fortune to look at.

We called at several colonists' dwellings and saw evident and marked signs of prosperity in every case: we were much requested to interview one family in particular, where the head was known to speak English; we found the good man evidently quite happy and well to do, but his education was "eyond us as we failed utterly to make ourselves understood, much to our disappointment and disgrace. Apostoles Colony together with the Azara Colony alongside are ventures of the Argentine Government and cover 26 leagues of land; every family is allowed to take as a freehold, a maximum of 100 hectareas, or say 260 acres, at about a shilling and ninepence the acre, in payments spread over five years; the coloniste are Austrian or Russian Poles; there are 1400 families comprising about 6500 souls, all of them devout Roman Catholics, and an exceptionally moral and cleanly class; they appear to be hard-workers, the women helping in all agricultural pursuits, the colonists' houses are well built, comfortably thatched structures, with Rice, Cotton, Porotos (large dried peas), Fowls, Eggs, and all kinds of poultry,etc., Posadas being the market, some 16 leagues away, with an unfortunately bad road to cover, a matter which ought to receive immediate Government attention: maiz sells for $5 the 100 kilos, fowls 20 cents each, eggs 8 cents the dozen; I had not time to make further enquiries in this-direction.

The colonies are managed by an exceptionally nice and intelligent man, a Dr.F.J. de Bialostocki, a Russian Pole; my friend the Governor tells me he is of noble family, which I can quite understand. After seeing all we could of this quite delightful colony, we came back late to the administration buildings, where an excellent dinner awaited us, some results of Polish cooking being distinctly peculiar though grateful; cream comes in with frequency, tomato, green pepper and whipped cream soup, piping hot, was a decided though welcome novelty; cream and cucumber are not usually met with, and a large cabbage pie, quite round in shape, was a revelation, followed by spiced beefies which made one sigh with repleteness. We were treated right royally and as soon as indigestion was placed at a safe distance we turned in to prepare for the morrow's early start.

Thursday_17th November. Up at 4.a.m., coffee'd and left for Posadas at 5. Lovely morning. Drove at the same galop as before; changes of horses every 10 or 12 miles; country rolling land, up hill and down dale, the example of the Apostoles Colony seems to have awakened the people round about into snail agricultural efforts, otherwise little is done to work the lands we are travelling through. Earth the same brick-dust red colour, tallying exactly with the formation continuing through Paraguay. we go careering down hills and charging through small streams utterly oblivious of carriage springs; Holt and Greene seem rather like peas on a hot plate, as we see them flying over an extra jolty place. We pass the Chiminay, but higher up than yesterday, so beyond much yelling we shoot over like a Red Sea passage!.

An hour before mid-day we see a snail silver streak stretching away in front of us, and hail with delight the second object of our journey, the far-away Alto Parana, and following the winding reddish serpent-like road we presently enter the town of Posadas, Capital of the Misiones territory, finding that mid-day had just gone, and we will be in time for the corresponding meal. Went straight to the Hotel España, fronting a delightfully well kept and cool, shady plaza, where we decided to rest and eat, waiting the arrival of our luggage and stores. For I should explain that when leaving Santo Tome, the Chief of Police arranged for our baggage etc., to come on by the diligence which was leaving a few hours after us, and would arrive a little while after we reached Posadas, as our light conveyances would not tackle more than they did in such a marvellous manner.

Arriving to Posadas

Posadas Port, looking towards Villa Encarnación. This is where we started from going up the river, to the right.

Looking at Posadas from our steamer

Breakfast was ordered, and foraging round, I found an antiquated shower bath, and in spite of its location in an evil smelling shed, I revelled in a souse, badly wanted. After a meal (meat of the "boot" description) we smoked peacefully and waited for the diligence, which at about 2.30 p.m. rumbled, up to the Hotel: half a dozen passengers turned out, the Governor's portmanteau, but - - not an atom of our baggage or stores!  Words here can't convey our thoughts and words under these trying circumstances, and after the atmosphere had cleared and we began to recognize one another, we held a council of war on procedure. It being evident three days at least would have to go by before our effects could possibly reach us, we decided to inspect the Posadas stores and see how we could replace our requirements in a temporary manner.

The strangest garments were found and purchased. I was unfortunately an obstacle, as no unmentionables could be found with a waist of my proportions, though I am not over prominent, and I don't think an unusual figure; but apparently the people here are small waist coated, with restricted "little Marys" which does not fall in with my constitution; however, I found an enterprising tailor who undertook to make a pair of white trousers for me for about 3/6d.,to be delivered by midnight, so my trouble vanished.

We purchased the stores we required for the Govermnent launch, and learning from "Admiral Flowers" that the "Salta" had taken a pilot, coal and other necessaries, we shifted everything on board our vessel so as to be ready for an early start. Before dinner the Governor took us for a nice drive through this neat little town, and the outskirts; it is a pretty place quite on a high bank of the Alto Parana; the streets are formed of the exact 150 yard-squares or blocks, with a generality of frontage of well-built one storied houses, an air of well-to-do pervading everything, the streets are macadamized and kept cleanly; electric light is provided for public and private lighting, the arc poles in the centre of each cross-cut of four streets being planted in a snail grass plot with honeysuckle and other creepers covering the poles completely in the sweetest manner, an innovation of the good Governor´s.

We went to the barracks at an elevated point overlooking the river, from where we could see the straggling untidy details of the Paraguayan town in front, Itapua, or Villa Encarnacion. We next paid a hurried visit to the Lighting Station; (the great trouble here is that there is no reserve boiler or reserve engine power) and after a passable dinner we left the Hotel España at 10,30 p.m. and boarded the "Salta", finding that she was quite a nice English built launch, twin screw, 60 ft. long, 15 beam, light draught; 10 knots against current and 15 with: capacity; crew Captain Santiago Devotto, engineer, stoker, 4 hands and pilot: our cabin aft big enough for six; good pantry, small saloon, everything well found. We fixed up mosquito nets, but not over successfully, as we suffered the best part of the night.

A yerba station on the Alto Parana Passing the trader steamer "España" on the Alto Paraná
At a yerba station on the Alto Paraná, close to the "shoot". Going up the Paraná, a trading steamer taking in wood.
A small colony above Candelaria A yerba station
?? A lone island on the Alto Paraná
Leaving a small settlement a day from the mouth of the river Iguazú.
A Página 3

Este sitio es publicado por Carlos Mey -  - Martínez - Argentina

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