On June 2, 2008 we started out from Resistencia, Argentina to Reconquista, Argentina on Ruta #11 because we were told that the farmers protesting the increase in export taxes on soy would permit private cars through their roadblocks. This was a detour our original plan to take Ruta #16 to the thermal hot springs at Presidencia Roque Saenz Pena from Resistencia. The morning's newspaper said that Ruta # 16 would be blocked by the farmers until 18:00 or 20:00.
We only got 77.5 km towards Reconquista before we were stopped by a farmer's protest. Dimitri talked to the farmers and no one would say when we would be permitted to pass. Instead of waiting we turned back to Resistencia and went back to our hotel there. We saw many signs Estamos con el campo/roughly translated we are with the farmers. Maybe if we had had one in our car window, we would have been permitted to pass.
We decided to start out again, this time for Presidencia Roque Saenz Pena because we would get to where the blockades were after 20:00. We hate to drive at night but we thought that doing so during the farmers' protests seemed prudent.
We got t a point on Ruta #16 at 19:30, 5 km outside of Presidencia Roque Saenz Pena when we were stopped by a big blockade. We were unable to convince anyone to let us through and we were there over 2 hours before we were allowed to pass. We felt like we were in France with all of the road block that protesters are allowed. The police and the military were present at the roadblock but did not interfere. Is that freedom of speech and freedom to demonstrate? That kind of blockade would never be allowed in the USA. Peaceful protest: fine. Blocking roads: not fine and not legal in the USA.
When we got to Presidencia Roque Saenz Pena it was nearly 22:00. The best hotel in town, Hotel Gualok was full. So we stayed at the Hotel Presidente and went back to the Hotel Gualok for dinner. Click here for our critique of the Hotel Presidente.
Dinner at the Hotel Gualok was good and the hotel is quite a step-up compared to the Hotel Presidente. Our bill waas AP$96/US$29.12 plus tip. We had a Vino Los Haroldos Malbec (AP$30), tortilla mixta (AP$14), agua (AP$5), bife de lomo a la pimienta (AP$26), tomate (AP$4), tortilla de manzana (AP$14), pera (AP$3) and everything was well-prepared and well-served.
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