Adjusting in Argentina

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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17 December 2008

Arriving at Buenos Aires was kind of crazy and frustrating. Nick´s checked baggage was at the Guatemala airport, but mine was sitting in Argentina for those few days. So when we got to the airport, I had to search all around for my bag and it was behind an unmarked door in the middle of nowhere. TACA has a new office and they hadn’t bothered to put up any signs yet. I had to run around back and forth asking people where to go and it was very difficult to find, but when i finally found the right door, my bag was right behind it and i was soooo happy! It was a little beaten up, but fully intact and still had all its contents.


The next step was figuring out how to take the bus. Bus 86 goes directly from the airport to the hostel. However, obtaining Argentinean coins is a big problem. My cousin warned me about change being difficult to come by in Argentina, but I didn´t think it would be this bad. I had plenty of Argentinean pesos with me, but didn´t have any coins. We went to get on the bus, and it drove off because we didn’t’ have coins. So i had to go back to the airport to the currency exchange. They had no money! Unbelievable! They told me to go outside ...where there’s a bank but since it was 7:45am of course it was closed. Then i went to a cafe so get change. He wouldn´t give it to me. When I asked, he hugged his little money box as if I were going to steal from him. Then i asked if i bought something would he give me change and he said no. So then I went to the newspaper stand. I pretty much got the same response. I went to buy a newspaper and she would only give me bills back. I said i needed change and she kept telling me she didn’t have any and that i should to go to the currency exchange. She wouldnt believe me when i said they had no change either. So then I tried the last little shop next to her and bought a small package of gum. The only change the lady would give me was a 50cent piece. She said she didn’t have change either. I was at wits end and asked the security guard what to do, he told me my options, which i told him i had already gone to all those places. and i was told the bank wouldnt open for another 2 hours. i wasnt going to wait 2 hours to get 2 dollars in change. that is completely ludicrous! so then i asked a traveler if he had change. he didn´t but i gave him my money to buy a newspaper and since the lady was pretty sick of me for standing there, she finally gave me some change. with 2 dollars in change, i thought i had enough. so i went back to the bus stop, and when we finally got on, i figured out we still didn´t have enough change. the bus driver seemed irritated, but then i handed him a 2 dollar bill and he gave me coins to put in the machine. at this point i was incredibly frustrated.


we rode on the bus knowing that the ride should be and hour and a half. there was so much traffic! seeing the different sites made me feel better, but all we wanted was to find the hostel and get beds. we took out nick´s travel guide and figured out where we were on the map and fortunately got off the bus at the right time. making sure nick doesnt strain himself, i carried both our packs, while he carried our smaller backpacks. It was 60 pounds for me, but the weight was distributed very well, so i could get by walking a few blocks.


We arrived at hostel de granados in san telmo. It took 2 hrs 15 min to get there on the bus, but we were so glad to make it! we went to bed right away, and i slept for 5 hours. I was so glad that i carried ramen noodles all the way from belize, so i ate dinner without having to go out. i made some extra for nick for when he woke up. nick said he was feeling better. he truly believed his antiparasitic medicine was working. On the bus, he said that his liver didn´t hurt, but he had a stomach ache. He saw this as good news because he knew that the stomach ache would go away.


The hostel was very nice. Free breakfast at the cafe right downstairs and all the other usual amenities. Also, we paid the few extra bucks for air conditioning! it felt so good! A lot of the other travelers speak English and so does the front desk. Oh and we had a small veranda adjoined to our room!


18 December 2008

Nick and I rested in the morning, but had to set out to run some errands. I navigated us to the camping stores where we bought some gas. I also bought a Salomon backpack which I really needed since my college backpack was painful to wear.


On our way back we ran into Florida Street. In the evening the street comes alive with artisans selling their crafts. We spent a long time walking down the busy street and it wasn’t long before Nick engaged in business with one of them. We sifted through some stones and Nick picked out one to have a ring made out of. He watched while the Colombian artisan skillfully macromaed a ring. We also came across some street tango and sat on the sidewalk to watch the free show.


After setting down our purchases at the hostel, Nick and I decided to treat ourselves to dinner after our rough few days of traveling. We walked quite a ways to a local restaurant recommended in Nick’s Lonely Planet. When we got there, it was teeming with locals. We ordered some bife de chorizo accompanied by red wine and melted our stresses away.

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