South America, Day One: Buenos Aires, Argentina

I’m writing this entry after a very fine bottle of Argentine Malbec… I’ve also had sod all sleep. Both of which will become evident so apologies in advance.

I guess our South American adventure really started after our accidental siesta. We arrived in Buenos Aires after a bucket load of drama: aka, a cancelled flight, a confrontation with some morality-challenged French business men and a touch-and-go riot in the queue for a taxi at Orly Airport, Paris. I mean, what a way to kick it all off? Thanks, Air France. Anyway, needless to say, it was quite a stressful journey. We met an Argentinean in Paris (as you do), so even if we had missed the flight (and it came close), Buenos Aires was still there with us in spirit. His name was… like the Spanish version of Nigel (I’ve later discovered it was in fact Ignacio – nothing like Nigel, but there you go) and he was nineteen. We become friends and shared a frantic taxi together in Paris – from Orly to Paris Charles de Gaulle. It could be considered romantic if it wasn’t so… wrong. All that aside, we caught our connecting flight from CDG and all was ok. I slept for a good eight hours (without a pill, I might add). Vicki didn’t. Subsequently, she hates me.

So, after landing, we braved the public bus. Mistake. This would have been a lot less terrifying if we didn’t need to change our notes into coins (the bus costs ten pesos, so you need x10 one peso coins – there’s a bank in the airport but good luck finding it). The journey took two hours and it’s a bumpy ole ride. The bus in question also lacked aircon. And seats. So don’t do ‘public transport’ if you like your creature comforts after crossing an ocean. We met a young German lad, Max, on a solo Latin American adventure of his own (this becomes important later on). We hopped off hoping we were somewhere in the vicinity of downtown. Having survived the journey – mentally, physically and otherwise – we botched our way to the hostel, waved goodbye to Max, ordered some bar food while we waited for our room – and, as the clock struck ‘check in’, dived head-first into a much needed nap.

Desperate to make every moment count, we surfaced from our slumbers, slapped on our faces and left without a friggin’ idea of what we were gonna do. We pointed our feet in the direction of Recoleta and hit our target after passing the Obelisco de Buenos Aires. Then we got cocky and tried to find Eva Peron’s resting place. We couldn’t find the cemetery, let alone the grave! In retrospect, it would have helped if we looked it up on the map beforehand. Or if we knew the Spanish word for ‘cemetery’ (which is, annoyingly, ‘cementerio’). We blamed the jetlag.

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The best bit about today…?

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The dinner and tango show at Cafe Tortoni. We shared a table with a Venezuelan couple and practised our abysmal Spanish by randomly shouting out things like ‘thank you’ (‘gracias’), fork’ (‘tendedor’) and ‘how’s things?’ (‘que tal?’) in different orders. We still blamed the jetlag. Then we watched a group of Argentine tango dancers get hot and slinky with each other. It was an unbelievable performance and – despite having next to no idea what was going on (it was all in Spanish) – it was a sensational show.
Tango is actually pretty damn sexy. Not the way we do it though.

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Now, the party is just kicking off at Milhouse Hostel and we’re in the process of locating our earplugs. Na night… I mean… buenas noches.

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