Thursday, December 29, 2011

Buenos Aires

It's my first full day here and I've been wandering around the city today. It's quite nice. I left the hostel early after breakfast and a cold shower.

First I went past Obelisco which is culturally important pointy thing and according to the guidebook is 67m high, I didn't bother taking a photo. You can look it up if your that interested.

Next I headed through the shopping bits, mostly trying to scout out the veggie restaurants I'd marked on my map. I was a bit worried they'd all be shut today since it is a public holiday. Some of them were.

Anyway I ended up walking to Recoleta which is a posh bit of town. Very nice tree lined streets. Nice buildings. I'm also liking that a lot of them are one way. Makes it far less likely I'll get hit by a car since they drive on the wrong side of the road. I found a supermarket called Disco, how good is that? Their quality of fruit was really good so I stocked up. Seriously the amount of white bread I've eaten since I got on the plane is terrible. Totally missing fruit and veg so was pleased to find somewhere that looked good.

Anyway, I kept walking and ended up at some church next to cementerio de la recoleta. Here's Jesus wanting something.

Here he is looking sad.

The cemetery was quite interesting. Lots of famous people I've never heard of are buried in what can only be described as mini houses.

After wandering around following groups of people who looked like they knew where they were going I found Eva Peron "Evita".

Some chick named Betty.

Next up was lunch. I found one of the veggie restaurants and it was open. Hooray, greens. I've missed you over the past few days. I also had some soy milk fruit smoothie thing. Yum. So far being vegan is not too bad.

Next up was a walk over to Casa Rosada, (government house) where Evita stood on the balcony and made famous during her hayday. There was a photo exhibition on outside of famous government people I'd assume. I think Argentina has a female president now, and I'm assuming she is the woman in most of them.

Tim, here is your water feature for the day.

Next up was a walk around the harbour thing. It was nice. Lots of cafes and restaurants. Got back to the hostel mid afternoon and met one of my room mates from Canada. She wanted some vegetables for dinner instead of bread and meat. We decided to go to a veggie restaurant in Palermo. This required getting the subway. OMFG I have never seen anything so busy including the tube in peak hour in London. This was crazy, apparently because it was a public holiday and they were only running every 10 minutes according to local who spoke English to us. We couldn't get on the first two then pushed our way onto the third. At the next stations more people pushed their way on and you were fully pushed up against everyone around you. I wouldn't like to be claustrophobic. Getting off was obviously our next challenge. That too required effort to squeeze past everyone.

This photo doesn´t really do it justice, but here you go anyway.

But dinner was really nice and worth the effort. We sat at a table in the street watching cars not give way to each other. No one crashed but there were a few close calls. Still they drive better here than in Asia. Vietnam is still winning by a long way for being the worst drivers ever!

After dinner it was obviously beer o'clock back at the hostel so upstairs to the bar we headed.

We starting drinking with the orther backpackers and before we knew it, it was midnight and time to go out (no one here goes out before midnight. Lots of places don't open until 2am). This is a very strange concept but it kind of creeps up on you and feels normal. So a quick change into a dress, some makeup, and off we all went to the clubbing district of San Telmo. Apparently we didn't line up to get into the club, we just bypassed the line, looked like we knew what we were doing, and went straight in. Love that. Sorry people in the line.
Here's me and my Canadian room mate

The clubbing lasted til about 5am. Turns out I'm quite popular with Brazilian men (I'm looking forward to Brazil!). Although I'm not used to seeing 5am at the end of my night. This is usually a getting-up-to-go running time for me now.

This morning was a struggle but I had to check out of my bed at 10. I met the guys from last night in the breakfast room and they were heading to la Boca. So I hauled my hungover arse to La  Boca with them. Our first challenge was getting on a bus. You need coins only here but they are very hard to get. It makes no sense and there is only one machine on the bus so its very slow. There are definite efficiency savings to be made here. Anyway we all managed to get about the 40c each for the ride and off we went.

What can I say about this place? It's fantastic. Bright colourful, lots of tango happening everywhere. Very touristy but in a good way. It's quite unsafe at night and even during the day if you stray too far off the tourist drag. So we hung out there for the day before struggling with bus change again and coming back to the hostel.

I then said goodbye to the guys and made my way to the bus station. I was worried the subway would be packed again after last night's adventure but it was fine, I even got a seat. This station is huge, it took me 10 minutes to find it coming out of the subway cos there's markets everywhere and a train station and no signs that I could see. I got to practice my Spanish again asking for directions. Then I had to find the correct ticket office to pick up my ticket which I prebooked over the internet. Now I'm sitting around waiting. I have about 30 minutes to go then I'll be in my business class equivalent seat to Puerto Iguazu. It is an overnight bus ride and I'm looking forward to having a sleep before the next party starts!

Loving my trip so far. Hasta luego!