A Travellerspoint blog

Oh I remember.

For better or for worse...

Travel tip #6: When adjusting the tab in South America, don´t take C for cold. The word Caliente means hot. Ow.

Posted by BatSoo 17:17 Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

Hostel Love

I am such a nester

all seasons in one day
View Global Hoboing: South America on BatSoo's travel map.

Turns out, my hostel in Ushuaia (La Posta Alberque) is absolutely, utterly, and surprisingly lovely.

1. Spring mattresses with box spring
2. By some fluke, I´m the only one in my room of 4 beds. Hello, sleeping alone! The rooms are scattered into different buildings, and the "bungalow" I am in has only three people in. Two in a private bedroom and me in a 4 bed dorm alone. <3
3. The HUGE kitchens (Yes, multiples) are actually usable. It is clean, has decent utensils and other amenities like spices (it´s even got BBQ sauce and a hot sauce. A real rarity in Argentina.) It shoudl be noted that it has a food processor and an electric hand mixer. ...I may make peanut butter tomorrow. (It should be noted that most western tourists I run into lament the complete lack of PB here.)

Also, I found a bag of flour, sugar and butter. ....someone tell me not to bake in Ushuaia.

4. The beds are made every day. The reception staff are friendly. The place is very quiet. It is more of a hotel than a hostel.

5. Walkable from the airport. Away from the city centre. Some say it´s a minus it´s got a 20 min walk into town, but the view you get as you walk out is fantastic.

Travel tip #1: When trying to decide on a hostel, look for "good breakfast" in the reviews. The correlation of good breakfast to the general quality is astonishingly high.

Travel tip #2: Have an overnight bus ride pack with the following necessities - travel pillow, light blanket (a towel does a great job. Hitchhiker´s Guide did not lie), emergency food supply, antinausea medication, and BABY WIPES.

Travel tip #3: In a city, know where the free museums are. Free museums usually mean free bathrooms.

Travel tip #4: Always travel with a spoon. (Useful for yogurt with granola on the run, messy fruits, self defense...) And a towel, of course.

Travel tip #5: When asking for directions in Spanish, ask how you can get there, not for "directions". Dirección in Spanish means address, so you won´t get anything useful. True story.

I had a few more but forgot. Will eventually remember and post.

In other news, I went on a penguin tour in the morning and another tour in the afternoon, sailing around the Beagle Channel, watching birds, sealions and the southern end of the Andes.

Posted by BatSoo 20:55 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Real time update

It´s about time I did at least one of those

20 °C
View Global Hoboing: South America on BatSoo's travel map.

Hello from the [southern] End of the World!

The weather in this area is fantastic. Windy, though, and it´s a little cloudy today. But the mountains and the cool 20 degree weather is doing much good to my a little worn-out spirits. You say how I could possibly be that stressed. Three hour sleep + airport debacle + stressing over arrangements will wear you out too, damn it. Tonight I am going to make a ratatulli type of chicken stew with wine to show myself I can cook on the road after all...

-BatSoo, in Ushuaia, about to go find a good penguin tour

p.s. Note to self: trying to get on a plane with the Leatherman in the backpack is a bad idea.
Note to Samir: I thought of you.

Posted by BatSoo 12:21 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Now, where was I... Jujuy Update

Not that anyone cares, mind you.


Jujuy summary:

Lovely town. Far more personality than Salta, which mostly felt like a miniature and more run-down version of Buenos Aires. I got there after the painfully early aforementioned bus ride, and immediately knew I was going to like it there. Perhaps it was just a desperate attempt to pick up my mood. Either way, I was really counting on Jujuy making me feel better, and it did the job. The bus terminal was bustling with the municipal market just outside, and the temperature was quite bearable, though it did make me sweat a bucket by the time I got to the hostel.

The quaint little place had wooden lockers for the backpacks, which smelled lovely and not dingy looking like most other hostels´wooden lockers tend to be. You know, the ones that you worry about splinters getting stuck in the bagpack straps. It was a quiet one, reasonably clean with a pool in the backyard and rather bungalow-y decor throughout, including the dining room/kitchen decors. It must be said that I checked in entirely in Spanish. Okay, I confess, I only said that I had a reservation and gave the receptionist my name. But still. Combined with understanding (some of) the directions to the hostel from the bus terminal, this was certainly an uplifting fact of the day.

I bounced off to the tour agency that was run out of the hostel and found out the Quebrada de Humahuaca I wanted to go on was not until the next day. Not a problem. This was anticipated, and I had backup plans. (I had headed up that early in the hopes that there was a tour on the same day and that I would be on time for it. Plan A. We were now looking at Plan B) I happily signed up and went on my merry way to wander for the day.

Nothing too remarkable about Jujuy. Just more indigenous than other places I had been. The puzzling but exciting (for me) fact was that despite having read that the Jujuy province was the poorest of all of Argentina, I found about 4 different mother(s) of all grocery stores. They were HUGE, boasting of all sorts of western goods (complete with aisles of wine like any good South American store should). But, really, who am I to complain when my hobby away from home is still grocery shopping.

You can take the girl out of the grocery store but you can´t get the grocery store out of the... Wait, wha??

The time was around 1 pm when I noticed all the shops closing. Upon further inspection, I discovered that most store hours were 9 - 13 and 17 - 21. ...The people are serious about their siestas, for sure. (Rest assured, the grocery stores stayed open through the napping and lunch time.)

Stumbled back to the hostel and attempted to get online using the terrible terrible hostel computer. The keyboard was pure pain. No other word would do it justice. Made it through only to panic at the sight of one seat of Cama class bus left from Tucumán to Iguazu. So I hopped on over to the tour agency and spent the next grueling half hour of technical difficulties with the agent there. Boy was I ever glad it wasn´t me trying to get the ticket on the phone... After two marathon calls, she produced a AR$ 200 ticket to me, for which I happily paid. (Roughly 60-65 dollars US for the 21 hour bus ride.)

Of course, later that night I panicked at the sight of no bus tickets from Iguazu to Rio. That was one portion I could not risk, you see. The Sambadromo ticket alone was enough to feed a small African country for quite some time, let alone the headache of finding a hostel that would let me book whichever nights I wanted and not a 7-night-package most of the other hostels did. Oh, Rio. I was this close to giving up..

At the hostel-staff-made dinner of quality homemade burgers (for mere AR$15), the hostellers sat around and chitchatted until 2 am or so. Granted, the dinner started at 10 pm.. Damn Argentines. I don´t know how they stay slim. Random: Three girls sitting next to each other- Me, a British girl who had been living in BsAs as a club-tour-leader for nine months, and a Irish woman on a n-month RTW trip (That´s Round The World for you non travel types) with her husband - all turned out to be math majors. WHOAAAAAAAA. (The Irish and I ganged up on the British for liking number theory, btw.)

Couple of the other highlights of the night included the two Irish boys (not the math major and her engineer husband) showing off a picture of one of them havng pulled a prank on the other one.... Dulce de leche on eyelids. Meep. The pictures were hilarious, though. The other was the Irish couple (Yes the math major) having shot rough motion picture using dolls they found in their hostel room in Aguas Caliente. Note to self: Only stay for one night there or I will be just as bored.

I was bloody tired by 1 am and eventually gave up and went to bed. Had to get up early to pack (again) and to go on the tour anyway.

The tour was good. Full day of freezing in the Andes with not much sunlight in the first half was definitely not pleasant (brilliant of me to forget my jacket when going to the Andes on a rainy day), but other than that, the scenary was breath taking and the ruins equally cool. See pictures for further information, I guess...

Ate llama for lunch and goat cheese with caramelized cayote (cactus) for dessert. Yum. Some disliked the queso y cayote, but who am I to say no to cheese, really.

Came back to the city and caught a late bus back down to Salta in order to see about getting to Cafayate next day and to see about the Iguazu - Rio ticket while I was at the terminal. I was really determined to find Inti Huasi this time. However... Got lost getting out of the Salta terminal again. HATE that bus terminal. It was fully dark at 11 pm (duh) and I wasn´t quite comfortable lugging around a huge backpack. It was like I was screaming "Rob me, please!" The good people of Salta stepped up then, though. As I walked past some juvenile delinquent-esque boys, suitably paranoid about them jumping up, one of them called me over and asked if I were looking for a hotel. I nodded, and he gave me a business card for a hostel nearby and pointed me towards the hospitality area, explaining there was nothing in the area i was walking into. I thanked him and turned around. Then, as I promptly got lost again, this tiny (only in height) granny, who reminded me of my own grandmother in size and shape (heheh), stopped me and after some non-communication later pointed me towards the street i should have been on 15 minutes ago. I... had walked by it no less than 3 times..

Checked in to Inti Huasi. It was a nice hostel with very accomodating staffs. Was bitter I didn´t find it earlier. Showered. Fell asleep as I wondered just why I was rushing so much. Part of me really wanted to stay in Jujuy for another night and I knew I really should have. This is a mistake you´ll see me make over and over throughout the next month, of course. Damn you, RIM, you made me even more panicky and skittish. Compared to my Thailand trip, I am rushing through places so much. I wonder if it´s because I changed that much in three years or just because I actually did research this time and have a checklist of places to see, which is not necessarily a good thing when it comes to a long term travel.

Posted by BatSoo 16:18 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Next Stop?

I suppose this is a bit rich for some....

sunny 29 °C

But this is nonetheless a very real concern for me.

I cannot decide where to go after Florianópolis, Brasil. Back to Buenos Aires (24 hrs on the bus) or to Montevideo (Urguay)?

We interrupt this program with Tomorrow´s Bus Forecast: Rio (6 hrs)-> Sao Paulo (14 hrs)-> Florianópolis

Now on to the regularly scheduled silence.

Posted by BatSoo 16:21 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

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