Unfortunately with my computer barely loading a web-browser, the thought of attempting to upload photos is tricky at this point. I hope to back date photos at a later stage tho, and will do so. This post is for the 5 days or so started Friday August the 27th, 2010.
So Friday and I was still a little uncertain what was going to happen the next few days. I woke early thanks to the wonders of jet lag, and realised how impressed I was again with the hostel. Each room has a max of four beds, an ensuite toilet and shower, and is spotless. Fantastic. Wandered downstairs, had the breakfast (fairly standard for Argentina) and headed out. I decided that there was a chance of going out sometime this week, so headed to Florida – the main area for shopping, as my hiking boots don’t cut it for town
While in a small minimarket getting a drink, I felt some movement behind my back. Suspicious as always, I turned around to see a guy walking off. Something felt strange, and I quickly checked – I still had everything, but(!) my backpack and back now had a good splashing of white paint! No indication why he did this, or whether it was intentional, but I was not happy. A quick trip back to the hostel to change, and then headed out to a mall I’d seen where I first stayed back in July, and had success shopping.
Back to the hostel, decided on getting some decent Argentinian steak, so wandered around San Telmo (remember these ‘wanderings’ for later, btw) and found a nice restaurant, and some great steak. At this point I realise d the German girls should be arriving shortly, so I headed bak to the hostel again, and in the main social area started chatting with some of the others. Enter Ben, the German basketball fan, Erin or “Frisco” as she was now known, from (clearly) San Francisco, and Kevin and David, two long-term travellers from Arizona. And of course Yogi, the afore-mentioned Israeli.
A beer or two later and Susanne and Simone arrived from Santiago (yes, the German girls). Good to see them again and have some sort of feeling of continuity in South America as a result. Everyone got to know each other, and eventually most of us headed to Puerta Roja, The Red Door, a bar convenientlyabout 15 steps from the hostel, until around 5am, which (believe it or not) is not that late a night by Argentinian standards.
Finally getting a feel for Buenos Aires
The next morning Susanne and I were both up at about 8, and the others struggled up at various stages. The girls and Yogi headed off to La Boca, which I skipped as memories of that dodgy el intestino still haunted me. We agreed to meet up around lunch at Recoleta. I metro’d it to Retiro and walked the rest of the way, getting there a bit early, so popped into Recoleta again, but still find it a bit weird. It was very sunny, so after meeting the others we got some of the local chain of ice cream, and cruised down to see the giant flower. That sounds odd, but it’s a 60m metal solar-powered sculpture of a flower which opens and closes in time with the sun. So it’s quite impressive. We chilled in the park and decided we could get used to this. Eventually heading back just before sunset, Yogi and I found we had a new roommate – an English girl called Carly. She’d just arrived,and was going to be volunteer/interning at SA Explorers … a sort of not-for-profit group that helps out backpackers. For more information check out their website She was meant to be meeting her new boss for the first time that night, as it was his birthday and he’d invited her to rock up. Uncertain as she was about wandering around, after introductions to the others, Ben and I volunteered to take her down to find the apartment as it was pretty close by. Result, we got invited to the party too, so it was quite interesting to see the inside of a Buenos Aires apartment, and check out the large roof! For an area like San Telmo, there are some pretty amazing apartments hidden behind ordinary-looking doors…
Met an American girl there, Julie, who was just back from a visit to Puerto Madryn. While attempting to describe it, she pulled up her Facebook pics and showed me. Those were pretty much enough to make me want to consider heading down there. At the same time, on the 7th there was going to be Argentina vs Spain football at La Monumental in Buenos Aires…10 days from now. Tempting, much to think about.
Sunday Yogi, I and the German girls headed to the San Telmo markets, where it turns out Neil and Suzie from the Salt Flats tour had been robbed at gunpoint. Anyway, we had coffee and browsed, and it was pretty good weather all around. Also went to the Fine Arts gallery, which was both arty and fine. Monday we went to another art exhibition, completing our quota of art and culture, and wished the girls goodbye, as they flew back to Santiago and a few days later, Simone would fly back to Germany.
The next two days saw more beer and late nights, and cruising around the city, before I’d convinced myself it was time to do some travelling. The others were finding flats, Carly was settling into her new role, and I was getting way too comfortable in Buenos Aires. I booked my bus tickets to Puerto Madryn, deciding to try the ‘Ejecutivo’ class on Andesmar (it´s only about 3 quid extra!), and on Wednesday hopped on a 20-hour bus due south, in the hope of seeing some whales.
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