Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
We took the metro to the bus station which was really packed as it was rush hour and we had to squeeze ourselves on to the train with our back packs whilst being alert to pick pockets AT ALL TIMES (Andrew’s mantra) the only thing that I have in my bag side pockets are toiletries and I’m not sure that Silverkrin for dry and damaged hair is top of a pickpockets wish list. So of course I was thrilled to arrive at the bus station with shampoo and conditioner still on my person they hadn’t even been interested in Andrew’s dry and flaky scalp shampoo so we considered ourselves very lucky. We stocked up on snacks for the bus (2 bags of crisps for lack of anything else to buy) as we didn’t know what to expect in terms of food on our first South American bus journey, some services offer a cooked meal and champagne while others give you nothing at all. The bus arrived and we got in line to give our bags to the bag porter (who puts them in the bag store), a well dressed elderly lady decided that she wanted to play the pushing in game and practically stood between me and Andrew – this time I stood my ground and moved my bag firmly to the side of me blocking her way – I will no longer have people take the piss out of me like that (memories of the Philippines and China come flooding back) anyhow everyone was giving a small tip so we followed suit as we wanted to get rid of the last of our change which amounted to about 30p
Not long after setting off the steward brought round breakfast, a paper bag with a cookie, diet chocolate puff bar and a carton of pineapple juice – we promptly scoffed the lot. I decided that I quite fancied watching the film which was showing English subtitles, however after plugging in my headphones the subtitles disappeared and I couldn’t understand a word – no I still can’t cope with listening to Michel Thomas’s recordings teaching Spanish his voice really grates on me but we do feel terrible that we can’t speak the language it feels like China or Russia all over again. We watched the last Entourage and then I was glad that I hadn’t got in to the film because what was happening outside the window was far more stunning. As we crossed the Andes the scenery was stunning, snow covered peaks, glaciers and CACTUS! Now I do feel like we are in a different continent. As we climbed higher and higher Andrew started to suffer with a headache – oh god this does not bode well for the Inca Trail in Peru – we both realised that this was the highest altitude either of us had ever been at and poor Andrew was feeling it.
At the Chile/Argentine border we got off the bus and got our passports stamped out and in
We emptied the bags in the room and sent a quick email to Andrew’s mum to send the new cashcard on to us. After a quick freshen up we decided to walk in to town to explore and check out the eateries for dinner that night. After wandering through the park with its many fountains and amorous couples we ended up at a bar (shock me) along the main street and shared a beer as we people watched. To our amazement it was here that we actually saw a seemingly normal guy walk up to a table where a man had half a sandwich left on his plate casually asked “don’t you want that” and walk away with the leftovers! Talk about cheek! That’s even worse than anything Andrew would do. We whiled away an hour and then decided to go in search of the 'eat as much as you can’ restaurant that the hostel owner had told us about. We wandered around and eventually found it with its smoking and sizzling BBQ displaying a whole host of delicious looking meat.
We got a table and ordered the wine at 3 pounds a bottle an absolute steal then tucked in to the cold food counter before getting stuck in to the BBQ. The food was sensational and at 7 pounds a head a veritable bargain. We both gorged ourselves on steak, ribs, chicken, pork, black pudding, chorizo and intestine (the latter I left to Andrew). As we were on our 3rd plate of fare a band struck up and serenaded everyone as we ate it was very charming and a great introduction to Argentina – we could get very used to this wine and steak, it beats petrol and pasta any day of the week. When we physically couldn’t eat anymore and the second bottle of wine was empty we wobbled back to the hostel with our stomachs full and our hearts happy. Back at the hostel we decided on one for the ditch, well it was our free glass after all and got chatting to Rob from Ireland and some other very, very drunk Dutch guys who entertained us with a midnight wrestle on the hostel floor – I don’t know about you but that’s how I prefer to end all my evenings. Time went on and by this time it was 2am so we bid buenos noches to our new friends who for the most part had passed out on the sofa and climbed in to our bunk beds exhausted from eating like great big fat pigs.