I am in Buenos Aires. I woke up this morning, looked out the window of my bus, and thought “I am in Buenos Aires.” I was right, you know. Sort of. I was also pretty stoked.
But – firstly the remainder of my time in San Rafael. I decided to splash out. Go crazy. Treat myself. You know? Got an hotel room, for AR$30. (Despite what that stupid woman in the NZ Herald says, it´s not particularly difficult to tell what currency a price is advertised as. You are in Argentina. It is pesos. If you are foolish enough to give them that many US$ – you deserve it.)
Anyway – hotel room. I decided to pay the extra 10 pesos, just for the private bathroom. When I got into the room, I remembered such things as double beds, complimentary soap, and TV with soft-porn. I immediately cleaned myself up properly, shower with soap, and even shaved. Then put on the clothes I´d worn for 12 hours in blistering sun at Payunia yesterday.
Next morning – went to bodega Suter. Had a private tour of the winery with a seppo who turned up. I wasn´t happy. Initially, I had joined a group of elderly latino´s, guided by nice young senorita. Instead, had to listen to guide I could understand (he was fairly cool, and pretty informative), and a seppo asking stupid questions (the “I know a little, so will ask what I think are educated questions” type. I fought fire with fire.)
Bought an unlabelled 1985 malbec, their champenoise (traditional method Ben. Really bad method, from what I saw), and their classier cab-sav. They only wanted to let me taste their awful sparkling. I managed to get a taste of their production line pinot noir, but had to quaff it before the next tour group saw.
Plan was to visit the cathedral, plaza, maybe museum. But – stopped for a cerveza before dropping off the wine in my pack at the bus station. Got talking to french woman. Muchos hours, cervezas, and advice later – went to bus station together. Me to get on my bus, her to book her bus for the next day, and one final cerveza together. She´s been in South America for six months already. Wealth of knowledge, advice, and cynical hardened traveller´s anecdotes. Also offered free place to stay in Paris. And I think nearly cried when we parted. Would have been the cervezas, I´m not that nice a person.
Bus to Buenos Aires – 14 hours. Two course meal with wine turned out to be pretty bad, but with refills of the bad wine, and a whisky offered in place of coffee. I don´t know much spanish, but I can guess what whiskito means. And the bus stewardess may not know me, but she figured me out pretty quickly. Dirty flirt.
Buenos Aires is pretty cool. Argentina´s trend of beautiful women continues. First police I saw was a brace of stunning ladies, with a rather more butch lady with them. For backup, in case a crim doesn´t arrest themselves when the other two sweet-talk him, I guess.
Plaza de Mayo was a little over-rated, I thought. Building where Eva, Maradona, and whoever else gave speeches from the balcony though. Turns out I didn´t get a photo of that. Sorry Nathan, you´d have loved it. Another photo of a colonial building. This one, as it is done in pink. Other plaza was pretty good. Ridiculous statue/thing – and the Federal Congress building – quite impressive.
Walked down Avenue 9 de Julio. The widest one in the WORLD! As part of this, saw the big obelisk they built. Surpising that they didn´t stick a statue of a general on horse on it or near it. Maybe they´ve grown out of that.
Lots of other little stuff. All the names in Ben´s little piece of plagarism are familiar. Am staying in San Telmo – cobbled streets. Maybe go to watch La Boca´s futbal team play tomorrow. Boca Juniors. Walked down Florida Ave this afternoon. Great sales technique here. At first I thought it was stolen goods, and maybe me being set-up. Sitting at restaurant, guy walks in – drops a boxed set of expensive looking pens, Mont-Blanc I think, on my table. Walks away. I start panicking. Waitress happens to be coming to take my order – I gesture at the pens with bewilderment. She looks at them with disgust, moves them to the nearest empty table. Guy comes back, takes them away. A little while later – another guy. Cheaper looking boxed set – does the same thing. This time, I watch the reaction of other people. They ignore him, he comes back after a circuit of the restaurant sidewalk area – collects his goods. I´m thinking some kind of way of selling stolen goods without it being technically buying it. But next guy – crappy little plastic hand-powered torch. Wish I´d bought the Mont-Blanc pens now. No idea how much he wanted, or anything else. Very strange marketing technique.
Finally living up to my promise to family, in case people get worried – my hostel is Hostel el San Termo. I think. Something like that, and it´s listed in the Rough Guide South America. I think it´s the first hostel from the guide book that I´ve used. 18 pesos.Â And the nice lady did my laundry. Dried it. Folded it, before I got back this evening.Â Didn´t fold the socks together though. No tip.
Flying to Venezuela on the 23rd. Unfortunately, everybody to whom I say this, including hardened french woman, raises their eyebrows. I try to explain that I´m hoping on leaving Caracas immediately – but this doesn´t seem to allay their fears/thoughts-that-I´m-crazy.
But – have had one guy recommend Isla de Margarita. So, I´ll ignore the experienced nay-sayers, and believe the loud over-confident South African. And try to remember to find out how to avoid Caracas despite flying in there.
Heaps more photos uploaded. You´ll love them Nathan. This time, instead of cool old buildings – I´ve got cool old buildings, and landscapes. Pretty sure the photos won´t do the Payunias justice. In some of them, if you look closely, there´ll be a little man, or a little 4×4 – as a point of reference for scale. When I find an internet place on Isla de Margarita, in the sun, serving booze – I´ll move the best photos into my photo album system – and put captions to explain some of them.
Tonight – I think I saw a big plaza filled with tables. Maybe I´ll have dinner there.
Oh, and Bem – the champenoise wasn´t that great. Pretty good, maybe on a par with the first bottle we had the afternoon of my leaving? 29 pesos. Need to drink the 1985 red I have. Don´t really want to travel with them – but the nice man recommended one hour standing time. One or both of these reds is going to break in my pack, with spectacular results.
Oh, hang on Nathan – I think there might be one photo you´ll like. Don´t know which number – but is bound to make a dirty pervert like you happy. Little sisters, shame on you. Shame.