I left Salta yesterday at 3:00 P.M. I took a bus straight to Foz de Iguazú, the place I went at about week four of my trip, more than 6 months ago. When I left here the first time, I left some things behind, things I didn't need and figured I wouldn't bother carrying down to Patagonia. They were: my dry bag, maps, books, insect treatment for my clothing, and my "business" cards (cards I had made up with my name, e-mail address, blog address, and photo site address—they worked great for handing out to people I met along the way). I told the kind folks here at Hostel Inn Iguazú that I would be back in about 6 weeks to collect my things. Well, more than 6 months have passed and they have no idea where my stuff is. If my things haven't turned up by morning, I'll head out on a bus for Posadas, back south, the way I came. It's located just south of the Paraguayan border. I'll probably spend a night or two there, then I'll enter a country I have, as of yet, never visited. I've been bopping around the same two countries for the past 6 months, so I guess it's time to move on—and without the added weight of books, maps, insect treatment, my cards, and my dry bag.
As an aside, when I arrived here in Iguazu Falls today and got my bag off the bus (Flecha Bus), it was clear my backpack had been tampered with. I don't think anything was gone. For the first time on my entire trip, I think, the bag handler didn't check my tag when I retrieved my bag. Normally, when you put your bag on the bus, they put a tag on it and give you a matching number. Then, they require you to give them the stub before they will give you your bag back, after verifying that the stub you have matches a bag under the bus. Not today. On the same bus, another guy had his iPod stolen from his bag from under the bus during the trip. I've had good experiences with Plusmar, Andes Mar, Via Bariloche, and Crucero del Norte, but I think any of them is really a crap shoot. You may have problems, you may not. Just don't leave anything valuable in easily-accessible outside pockets of your pack. You're best off keeping critical items in your day pack with you in your seat.