Friday, February 3, 2012

Buenos Aires part 2

Got back to Buenos Aires at about 3pm and decided to try getting the local bus for $1.25 (about 30c) to my hostel. I went and outside and found the bus stop and managed to ask a guy in Spanish which bus to get, where it goes and how long it takes. Yay! Got back to the hostel I stayed in at the very start of my trip. I was even in the same room and same bed!

Later, I took the metro a vegan place, Noble y Natural that sells empanadas. Yay, so excited! Basically it is a vegan takeaway buffet next to the metro station. I filled up my container, grabbed some empanadas and off I went back to the hostel. Yum. It was all so good. I might have to go back tomorrow night.

Then I went up to the bar for beers. Some Dutch girls gave me vodkas cos it was my last night. That's pretty much the extent of my memories. But I appear to be having a good time according to photo evidence on my phone.

I woke up very hungover. Again. Buenos Aires, why do you keep doing this to me??? But I got up and checked out of my bed and headed off to Palermo.

There's lof veggie restaurants in Palermo so checked out La Esquina de las Flores. Unfortunately my appetite was not great so I just had some veggie soup. It was very nice though. And they gave me some wholemeal rolls with some kind of pumpkin or carrot dip. That was really yum.

I headed back to the hostel after and lay on the couch for the rest of the afternoon watching old CSIs. Oh yeah, I'm living the holiday dream!

I decided to go back to Nature y Noble for dinner and stocked up on vegan goodies. I also got some extra empanadas and fruit for the plane since I'm not convinced that Aerolineas will have the vegan meals I requested. It's best have a Plan B.

Now I'm sitting in the bus heading to the airport. I can't believe it's been 6 weeks, it's gone so fast. I've seen some amazing places and I've met some fantastic people. Please come visit me if you're in Oz. Chile was my favourite country. I would totally live there. Plus the men are fit from climbing up mountains and volcanoes all the time. Buenos Aires is an evil temptress who's sole purpose seemed to be to get me drunk and make me as hungover as possible. But it was so much fun I can't complain. Brazil was also a lot of fun and it was great seeing Marcia again. It also had the cleanest street dogs and NYE in Rio was the best ever. Peru had the best ruins and the best juices, I wish I could take a juice lady home with me.

The food has largely been fantastic. Despite all the warnings I was given I ate all kinds of fruit and veg without peeling them and just giving them a good wash. I also drank tap water everywhere except Peru (where I used my steripen) and did not get sick. Either it's all fine, meat is the actual problem, or I have good guts. I have not really struggled to stay vegan at all. In fact it's been pretty easy, but obviously I have happycow to thank for that. The booze is also good and cheap and you can pretty much drink anywhere, especially Brazil, which I like a lot. My Spanish was good enough that I had no problems getting anywhere and I did not really get lost, even when taking scary local buses. I may have got ripped off a couple times, but I did not get robbed. Although I'm pretty sure someone tried rifling through my bag today on the metro. Luckily it was only the front pocket which only had hand sanitizer and my Spanish dictionary in it. Plus I'm pleased to say that despite all the street dogs over here, I did not step in dog shit once. How I avoided that is a bloody miracle.

All the hostels I've stayed in have been great (except Paraty, which was a bit average). Good beds, clean bathrooms, generally good security, fun people to hang out with. And to top my holiday off I saw the best mullet ever on the way to the airport. Some teenage boy with hair at the back nearly down to his arse. I wish I got a photo.

Basically I had a ball and I can't wait to come back. There's still so much more I want to see over here. But, I am looking forward to wearing different clothes when I get home, and not having backpacker hair, which will promptly be taken care of the day after I arrive. I am also looking forward to not sharing a room and sleeping in a bunk bed anymore.

On that note, I will end. I'm really glad I blogged my trip as its a great reminder of all the cool things I did. I don't even really mind that there's so many typos, since I've written the whole thing on my phone. Until my next holiday, thanks for reading.


El Calafate

I arrived in el Calafate around 11pm, which was basically a five hour bus ride including an hour for immigration. I got to my hostel late after walking the wrong way. El calafate isn't that big so I wasn't worried about walking around late at night, but what should have been a five minute walk ended up being about 15. Idiot.

The next morning I booked my bus ticket to the Moreno glacier for the afternoon. I had a wander around the town and went down to the lake. My hostel is up the hill and the view is this.

I walked around the town, which is quite pretty. You can tell its set up for the snow and skiing in winter. I imagine its pretty nice if that's your thing.

Tim's fountain.

Watching the street dogs here is interesting. They all run everywhere. They must be too cold to walk.

I found a supermarket and stocked up fruit a tomato and avocado so I could make lunch for this afternoon. Then I went back to the hostel and watched the last half hour of the Aussie Open. I wanted Nadal to win. He didn't.

Then it was time to make my sandwich and head off to the bus station. The bus to the glacier takes about an hour or so. It then drops you off at the boat if you want to take that. Yes please! It's the best way to get to up close to the ice. But not too close cos ice does fall off and can travel a fair few metres. Apparently 32 people have died from falling ice over the past 20 years according to a sign.

This glacier is amazing to look at. I've never seen anything like it. It's very, very cool.

We did get to see some big chunks fall off and that was also very cool. It is really loud and causes quite a wave to form. I can see how tsunamis occur. It really doesn't take much.

After the boat ride finished, the bus picked us up again and took us to the lookout area. This was really cool. The glacier is massive! I think it joins up to some other glaciers up the back and is 30km long. Apparently it is in increasing by 2m a day, which I don't understand since it's summer and bits are falling off in front of you, plus climate change is having a good crack at destroying all glaciers.

Apparently the 90% if the ice is under the water like most icebergs. But the bits you can see are 30-60m high. That is huge! This thing is incredible.

Thankfully they created paths all around the lookout area. Elevated grated paths with ergonomically correct height steps are so much nicer to walk on than dirt and rocks. Plus it stops erosion so good for the environment too. Like las Torres, they tell you to take all your rubbish with you. Once again, people seem to respect this which is good.

The bus took us back to el Calafate at 7.30pm so I had time for a beer and finished book number 4. Hooray. I love having time to read on holidays. Tv gets in the way at home. Thankfully I'm not reading those terrible Twilight books this time. They were so shit. I can't believe I read all of them all in Asia. That's time I'm never getting back.

After getting back to town I headed into the main street for dinner. There is one veggie restaurant here, Casa de te Kau Kaleshen, that I was looking forward to going to but it was shut. Dammit. Not happy, cos it gets some good reviews and its meant to be open today. So I trawled the main street looking for something and found a tourist restaurant with a vegetarian menu and got a lentil veggie salad that wasn't very exciting. If I can make something better then it's not restaurant quality in my opinion. But the wine was good. I haven't had any bad red wine in Chile or Argentina (I did have some shit Peruvian red wine. Best to stick to beers or pisco sours there). The upside of it being fucking freezing down here in Patagonia is it's perfect for drinking reds. I'd better drink up though because tomorrow it's back to Buenos Aires. As much as I have loved Patagonia--it is a beautiful untouched part of the world and I hope it stays this way--this weather is not for me. I'm so glad I don't live in the UK anymore. Patagonia reminds me of shit Aberdeen summers. You can take the girl out of Queensland, but you can't take Queensland out of the girl.