Since we were about to cross the border from Argentina into Paraguay (see post below), we decided that it would be best if we washed La Casa – at first because we thought it was a requirement when crossing countries (we found out that that is not necessarily true), and then because we thought it would be a nice gesture as La Casa was absolutely covered in red earth dust and grit. I wish I had a before picture!
Anyway, when we arrived in Posadas on Tuesday, we, as always, headed straight for the Tourist Office. The tourist office in Posadas is very nice and the first clerk we encountered noticed our poor Spanish and promptly brought over another clerk who spoke English – I didn’t ask her name but let’s call her Maria. We asked our usual questions – gas, bank, camping areas, etc. And then, remembering we wanted to wash the car, we asked for a lavadero por los coches. Maria was quick to reference our map and marked that the lavadero was on the corner of Colon y Buenos Aires. Great. We’re set for tomorrow.
Pero, when we arrived at said location, no lavadero. Hmmmm. GPS is of no help so we started driving the streets of Posadas in our big-ass vehicle on narrow one way streets with the most traffic we’ve had to deal with yet. Posadas is a bigger city in Argentina – about 400,000 people and downtown is full of small, one way avenues and streets.
Luckily, the streets were well marked but then, to complicate matters, there is a large walking plaza right in the middle of the center of the city. This may not seem like a big deal but, again, with a large truck & camper, lots of pedestrians, and tons of traffic, it can be mighty stressful. So, Henrik pulls over to the side of the road and I go into an insurance office, with map in hand, to ask where I might be able to find a lavadero. A lovely woman is sitting in front of a computer, with google up on her screen, and ponders for a moment. At this point, I want to scream “JUST LOOK IT UP – GOOGLE IT – HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF GOOGLE MAPS!!!” but, since I am not stressed, I simply wait. She looks at my map and notices where Maria had marked where the lavadero was supposed to be and shakes her head and says, “No, the lavadero is in the middle of the block, not on the corner”. OK, great, we’re set again. I thank her, get back in La Casa and we navigate back to approximately the same place but a half a block up (which takes 15 minutes due to the one-way streets, the traffic, the plaza, etc) and…no lavadero.
We start wandering once again to find a place to pull off so we can ask someone. A parking attendant soon comes over to the vehicle and we ask her if she might know where the lavadero is. She looks at my map, contemplates a moment, and says “No, it’s not in the middle of the block, it is up one more block”. You know what we did next so I won’t mention it here. And when we arrive, there is indeed a lavadero but probably for smart cars or, at best, VW beetles.
OK, we pull over once again and decide to GPS a gas station and ask them. At the gas station, there is an ACA (Automobile Club of Argentina) office attached to it, so I head straight in there. This time, I make it perfectly clear that we need a lavadero for camiones (trucks). An older gentleman is quick to respond. He draws me a map (even though I have my trusty map with me) with very accurate directions to a lavadero just outside of town. He shows me that just after the 5th traffic light, cross street “Bustamante” I will find the lavadero. Really confident now, I get back in the truck and set Henrik and La Casa on the way. I also say out loud “If that old man is wrong, I’m going to have to go back and kick his ass!” I diligently count the traffic lights and the 5th traffic light…you guessed it, not Bustamante. I’m ready to kick some ass but we keep driving up to the 6th traffic light and, yeah, it’s Bustamante and there is a lavadero right on the corner meant for trucks!!!
We pull in and were immediately serviced. One guy spent 1 hour 20 minutes detailing our vehicle and making it shine. All for 60 pesos (about $14 US). It really was the best car wash in the world!