Monday, November 29, 2010

Bag? - check!, Luke?..erm... Luke?

When I was packing I was careful to follow Aussie Nuffields advice and mix the bags up a bit so if one got lost on route Luke and I would still have some clothes etc each. What I didn’t bank on was my bag coming through to Buenos Aires… but not my husband! –I had to book him a last minute flight after my original travel partner dropped out at last minute –so Luke was flying via Frankfurt to Buenos Aires, however a delayed flight at Heathrow set it all into a spin.

So my main reason for wanting to arrive in South America with someone went down the pan and I found myself at Buenos Aires airport with no money, hotel, transport etc after all. However my concerns were unjustified – if you’ve landed in Johannesburg, Buenos Aires looks like toy town – no hawkers, no whistling, no staring, just an empty cash machine and some very helpful, welcoming people.

So I found a hotel the ‘Grand Hotel Espana’ and headed off on the random bus system (maybe makes more sense if you speak Spanish?) into town and then sat about at the bus station waiting for the ‘conductor of operations’ to forward me on to my chosen hotel. So two and a half hours after arriving I check into my hotel which reminds me of the hotel we stayed in on our school trip to the Isle of Wight in 1991, but it’s clean and quite spacious.

After freshening up (16hours on a plane) I ventured into town, very cautiously –following all the travel guide, friends and families advice –no flashy jewellery, no phone or camera (that’s in Lukes bag) on show, virtually no money on me and my cash card (still in need or Argentinian bargaining currency) wedged in my pocket, firmly under my hand –I decided the long list of rules about carrying bags meant it was simplest not to bother.

Trip 1-Ok on the whole, checking into the secure bank area to use the cash machine was daunting, had a lovely meal where the waiters were very friendly –eating out on your own seems perfectly normal here, even on a Saturday - the only phasing bit was the group of youths sitting drinking in a pile of cardboard boxes –I crossed the street – probably just being a wimp but I did have £80 -400 pesos wedged down my bra by this point! –Surely when you get mugged that’s a safe place? Anyway didn’t stay out late as I was already brimming with that self pride you get when you’ve negotiated basic everyday tasks in a language you don’t speak and the travelling had left me very sleepy.

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