A Travellerspoint blog

Blech - Why am I strapped for time?

Too busy

sunny 20 °C
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It amazes me how little time I have for blog updates even when I have 6 months to roam.

Pending:
Cordoba Summary
Salta Summary
Jujuy Summary

Trying to go down to Cafayate after bumbling in Salta for a little while in the morning. We shall see how that works out. Getting paranoid about not being able to get a bus seat to Rio from Iguazu. :( Had quite the trouble booking a Cama ejecutivo ticket from Tucumán to Puerto Iguazu already, so my paranoia is justified, damn it.

Posted by BatSoo 15:05 Archived in Argentina Tagged bus Comments (0)

Buenos Aires, Days 3-5

Away and still sleep deprived

sunny 25 °C
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This is getting ridiculously behind, so in point form it is.

-Got up annoyingly early when the girl next to me woke up and had to check out. Couldn´t get back to sleep, and at 7:30 AM, the breakfast wasn´t even ready. (8-11 am)
-Got my breakfast after tinckering around on the computer for a while.
-Signed up for the tango show. 95 pesos. Ouch. Better be good.
-Rode ´subte´(subway) to the bus terminal to buy my ticket to Salta. As I walked to the long distance bus terminal (out of the three buildings, located farthest from the subway station ), someone squirted me with men´s lotion from behind. Having been warned about the age old pickpocket trick of spitting or spilling something on tourists and then snatching valuables in the moment of distraction, I marched on hurridly, disregarding the man who tried to slow me down, pointing at the lotion on my dark shirt. I smelled of cheap men´s aftershave all day, which really sucked. But I still had all my money, so todos (everything) was still muy bien (very good). I started wearing my backpack in the front instead from then on, though. Sure, I looked like a tourist, but it´s not like I didn´t before (evidently).
-After practicing a million times ¨I would like to buy a one-way ticket to Salta¨, I changed my mind and got one to Córdoba instead. Of course, this threw me off entirely, so I started speaking English instead. Luckily, Nuevo Chevalier had a staff that could speak alright English. Phewy. 8 hour overnight, first-class (coche cama ejecutivo) bus for AR$ 165. CAD 1 is roughly 2.8 pesos. You do the math. (Double decker bus with 3 seats per row. Reclines so much it is almost a bed, with leg supports that lower from the front seat to complete the cama (¨bed¨). Yes, it is awesome to be here.
-Walked around Retiro (the bus station name), listening to the audio guide tracks I downloaded before I left Canada, courtesy the government of Buenos Aires. Every corner you turn, there is some historical site in this city. Friggin´awesome.
-Headed over to Recoleta Cemetery, where Eva Pèron is buried. Didn´t find her tomb, but it was kind of neat to be in a necropolis. Took many pictures. (I know... yet to be uploaded)
-Slowly walked back to the hostel via the aforementioned supermarket. I´m maintaining my emotional stability by keeping up with frequent grocery shopping, I guess. Took about 1.5 hours including the wandering in the supermarket.
-Had a dinner of apples, yogurt and crackers before heading off to the show with three other girls I met at the hostel, Jen (Irish), Miriam (British), and Katy (Aussie). The show was good. Awesome footwork. I have to respect anyone who can tango without giggling like I tend to. In my festively drunk state (half a bottle of wine), I lost my little notebook that night, and I suspect it was at this stage. Alas. Good thing I had been procrastinating filling in my banking information.
-The night continued with more wine and oozy cheesy piping hot empanadas from the pizza place next to the hostel. More wine was drunk. This country is going to kill me with some liver disease... In bed by 3:30 - 4 AM. (I also must add that Argentines dine incredibly late. Their dinners start at 9 and go until 11.)
That about wraps up Day 3.

Day 4
-Woe up at 8:30. Oh, for Christ sake.. At least it was during breakfast. Laughed at the bumbling Welsh boys travelling (round the world) with no clear plan. Tom was cuddling a pillow in the common room, falling asleep. Terribly irresponsible in that fun way.
-Lounged about for the girls to get ready for the Recoleto craft market (Feria Hippi, I think). By the time we got out, ti was around noon. Unprescedented late start for me. I suspect the comfortable hostel common room had something to do with it.
-Standard jewel and craft fair type. Highlight was Katy´s comment to a mate cup vendor: ¨I´ll be back later. Many gourds to see.¨
-Had a humongous burger for lunch (AR$15). I think South America is going to kill my arteries.
-While others either wandered around the vendors more (Katy) and went to the cemetery, I jumped off to the fine arts museum. Many big names like Piccasso, Monet, etc. as well as Argentine art. Spanish speakers have the oddest surrealism art.
-At 6, back to the hostel. All seemed to be content with cracker and cheese dinners. Of course, by Argentine standards, this was only a snack...
-We saw Katy off. She was dressed in the Gringo Getup of hiking boots, stripy pants, and large backpack. No wonder the locals make fun of us..
-Recruited two new people to go find the mythical free music concert. Ironically, one of them was named Katie (from Washington D.C.) whose luggage Air Canada lost. Ouch. The other was South African soap opera director, Sasha. Never did find the concert, but the night walk around Puerto Madryn was pleasant enough.
-Settled at the pizzeria next to the hostel again with the empanadas. Teetotalled to save the little liver left.
-Tom & Co came by and informed us that they were going out to this Brazillian club. All decided to go. The time was.. past 1 am.
-Got to the club at almost 2 am. Stayed until past 4 am. Not much to note other than the extreme stuffiness, smokiness, and sweatiness. Oh.. and what happens in Buenos Aires stays in Buenos Aires, right? J/k. There´re just some more-scandalous-than-it-actually-was pictures floating about. Maybe I shouldn´t have written about it at all..
-Crashed at 5 am. Goodness. So sleep deprived.

Day 5, Feb 8
-Curses. Woke up before 8. What is wrong with me??
-¨checked out¨by paying for the tab of AR$30 for the first day´s BBQ. That was it. Had breakfast and hung out for a while until going ot San Telmo market with the girls.
-Again, standard market affairs. Blocks and blocks of it, though. More antique driven than the other ones, I suppose.. Miriam didn´t feel well for a little while, but she pulled through. Had mashed potato and grilled/flattened 1/4 chicken for lunch while others had lomitos (thin loin steak sandwich).
-Came back, lounged some more. Contemplated ditching my bulky sleeping bag. With 10 minutes to go until the intended departure, it occurred to me that I hadn´t seen my secret stash of money for a while. Rummaged through. Terrible idea, trying to completely unpack and pack at the very last moment. Lost my quickguide for the camera as a result. At this rate, I´ll have no choice but to travel light.
-The overnight bus to Còrdoba rocked. Got on, fell asleep, woke up, got off. Very comfortable seats.
That about wraps up the Buenos Aires portion..

Posted by BatSoo 19:07 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Buenos Aires, Day 2: Getting the Hang of Things

Well, okay, mostly the booze.

all seasons in one day 25 °C
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Day 2: Woke up fairly full still, but who am I to stop me from a free breakfast?

The time was 8:20 - ten minutes before my watch was set to give me a wakeup call. Thanks to a hostel mate who started packing up to check out, I was wide awake and unable to go back to sleep. I suppose this was like old times, as this was really 5:30 Ontario (Central) time. I attempted to stay in bed for the next twenty minutes to no avail. Sigh. FYI, Mom, it's all your fault I am mildly insomniac.

Shower! Glorious, glorious shower. Thy name be salvation. I hadn't had a good shower in.... let's just say too long. (What?? I'm a backpacker. May as well go full out.) So much for being paranoid about needing bath products right off the bat. Not only was I given a towel when I checked in, I also discovered many bottles of human-cleaning products in the bathroom. Score, money saving points, I guess. <- cheap

Breakfast. Nothing in particular to write home about. Buns, baguettes, croissants, danishes, DULCHE DE LECHE (!!), jams, and butter. Strong-ass coffee (this needed to be vulgur to convey just how strong this was.), and a pile of oranges. Turns out, you take an orange, cut it in half and juice it right there and then. 'course being the lazy type. I ended up just peeling and eating the oranges. Ha. Actually I lied. I should write home about the breakfast being outside, albeit under some cloudy skies.

Went outside. Saw Plaza de Mayo and the many colonial buildings around, like the cathedral. Lest you worry, I should tell you I haven´t changed a bit and promptly got lost. I´m not sure how, actually... All I know is that I kept going south and came out to somewhere north of my original location. O.o

The weather wasn´t exactly tourist friendly this morning. Aside from the aforementioned clouds, it was now drizzling with winds. My flimsy free umbrella from IT Appreciation Day flailed helplessly in the air as I wandered about. So I just went up to Coto, a supermarket chain, where I had lunch of mixed salads and a carne (meat) empanada. This particular choice wasn´t all that spectacular, but I should add that I saw many people with plates of HUGE steaks at the cafeteria. Argentinians really do love their steak. After the lunch, I got some staples like yogurt and water and went back to the hostel, where I once again lounged around quite contently. That´s the problem with good hostels. You simply don´t get out enough if you´re not careful.

By the way, the weather cleared up after I got back.

One of the girls at the hostel, Katy, was going to check out this cafe where the locals supposedly danced tango and avoid paying a small Argentine fortune for a full out show. So, I, along with two guys lounging about, hopped on a cab and joined her in her quest to find it. After some bumbling about due to not remembering the address correctly, we found the cafe. It was a hole in the wall - an upstairs wall - but had the lofty charm nonetheless. There were dreadfully large number of tourists, though, and we let out disappointed groans as we entered. We sat down anyway, of course. As we sat and drank beer in the dark bar with mish mash of chairs (Katy sat in a velvety office chair), two guys sang tango songs. Throughout the night, only two people ever danced any tango at all, so I suppose we did fail in our original attempt. Good night noneless.

Came back to the hostel around 1 or 2 and crashed. Oy vey, partying is hard work.

Posted by BatSoo 20:45 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Buenos Aires, Day 1: The Beginning

It all started with fire...

sunny
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After some gruelingly boring 11.5 hours on the flight from Pearson, I landed on time in Buenos Aires at 2:25 pm local time. (11:25 AM in Toronto)

The airline fed us at 1 am!! See, with flights to destinations like Korea where the time difference is significant and you need to reset the body clocks, I may see the point of doing this. But after the plane had been flying for an hour with the lights all off for the passengers to sleep, what kind of cruel trick is this?? Besides, they a) ran out of beef few rows before mine* and b) gave us some awful chicken and orzo dish, accompanied by a sad excuse of a beet salad. Blech. If any of you know how much I love beets, this reaction should tell you something. The breakfast omlette about 10 hours later wasn't much better. Pathetic, rubbery gelatinous mass. Talk about needing revamps. Air Canada, fix your culinary abomination of flight meals or.... Okay, so I have nothing. I can't even boycott given it's one of the two lines that fly to Fort Mac. Anyhoo, I digress...

  • : Given how Argentinians love their red meat, it was really no wonder. Usually with any other flight, it's the chicken that runs out first, which I am just a-okay with. Argh. I suppose I'm richly rewarded with the abundance of steak now.

During the very last leg of the flight when the attendants were handing out the visa and custom forms, I had a brief last minute paranoia creep up, manifested by the Brazilian visa troubles. What if I didn't have the appropriate visa requirements? I knew I didn't need a visa for Argentina, but what if I did after all and missed it? What if my having lost the Air Canada receipt/itinerary was going to be a problem, since they technically require a proof of return arrangements? All kinds of thoughts ran through my head during this silent panicky heart attack.

Regardless of my mental toils, the flight landed at the Buenos Aires airpot. I must say, though, that was one of the worst landing jobs I've ever riden through. Wooosh - calm - woooosh - calm, repeat for 15 minutes. Anyway, as soon as I got to the exit and stepped on to the bridge between the plane and the building, I knew I was in bodyheat trouble. It was hot. 31 degrees celcius hot. Now, some of you know how I don't do hot weather. I whined all the way through Thailand (which in retrospect was pretty dumb, inconsiderate and sometimes rude), and I whine all the way through CANADIAN summer (Yes, that one whole day. j/k.) No matter, it was too late to change my mind. I marched out into the <s>wild</s> ungodly long lineup for the customs/tourist entrance and impatiently waited to be released into the <s>wild</s> luggage pickup area. On the upside, I saw mine as soon as I got there. On the downside, I had forgotten to go to the bathroom first. Crap. The perils of travelling alone, I tell you.

Once I got through the deservedly anticipated bumbling around the airport later (what with my vast void of Spanish knowledge), I hopped on to the shuttle to downtown Buenos Aires, where they transferred me on to a small vehicle that dropped me off at my hostel, Hostel Estoril. At least this was smooth enough. Much thanks to the hostel for providing the directions/shuttle instructions. If only the location of the hostel didn't confuse the hell out of me... 1st floor wasn't actually the North American first floor. It was the lobby and THEN the first floor. I had to tread through a very sketchy looking cast iron cage type of elevator, up and down up and down until I eventually arrived at the check-in on the first floor. Then... they sent me to the sixth floor. -_-;

A pleasant staff greeted me in (the guy on the first floor had called to give him a heads up about my arrival) and gave me my linens. From then on, I just stayed in, save for the short trip outside to get a bottle of water, napping a little, checking my email, pathetically attempting to update the travel journal. (Ultimately a failure due to the severe hand pain that is lingering for the nth day now.)

That is, until the hostel weekly BBQ at 8:30. And what a BBQ. From 5:30 or so, the staff fussed around the brick BBQ with cast iron grills and charcoal fire with loads of small whole chickens, strips of beef (I think brisket?) and long fork-prongs of spicy sausages. I had thought I had missed it due to my nap that lasted until 7 or so, but boy was I wrong. I sat down at 7:30 and had to wait an hour at least still. Entirely worth the wait, though. We were fed for the next 2.5 hours of meat (sausage, beef, chicken), salad, potato salad, and bread. Two and a half hours! Brings back the memories of glorious rodizio trip with the boys. Hung out with the people at the table until 1 am or so until they went out dancing. I, being the predictably weak one, stayed back in the name of sleep. (It was a long day!!)

The weather is quite glorious. It's hot, of course, but the night time brings cool breeze and just-cool-enough warmth to your skin, embracing gently. I could really get used to this.

But now.. I go sleep.. Much to see and do tomorrow.

Posted by BatSoo 19:23 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Test

Test 1 2 3

Anything but that. Oh. Wrong song.

Posted by BatSoo 13:51 Archived in Canada Tagged packing Comments (0)

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