Not-so-"Buenos" Aires

Trip Start Oct 17, 2012
Trip End Mar 27, 2013

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Where I stayed
Plaza Hostel Buenos Aires
Read my review - 1/5 stars

Flag of Argentina  , Autonomous City of Buenos Aire,
Sunday, November 4, 2012

Aside from our worst hostel experience/breakfast ever, our last day in Buenos Aires started out great... We were going to be walking around the city so we decided to rearrange our packs and headed out with just our usual day pack- we usually keep all of our important stuff and electronics in the day pack with us so we don't lose it. We went off to play tourist, walking and seeing the major capital buildings around Plaza de Mayo such as the Rose Palace where Evita spoke to the crowds from her balcony, and the nearby church where San Martin, the liberator of Argentina, Chile and, I believe, Peru is buried. There were several protests going on in the plaza and some people assumedly camping out on the plaza. We also noted that much of the graffiti around the area was political... Especially pro abortion rights, which we heard was up on the next election. We wandered further to see a very nice statue of Don Quixote and onwards to the congress building which is modeled after the US Supreme Court building, seeing many other interesting pieces of architecture along the way. We walked through a few different neighborhoods and found several music festivals (Kendra's favorite thing) going on in almost every park we passed, and more bands just out on the streets as well. We headed over to the neighborhood of San Telmo for a lunch of asado and a weekly outdoor antique fair where all of the vendors dressed up in theme to their booths. Two of Lydia's favorite things, antiques and costumes, needless to say she was very happy. San Telmo was a great barrio, young, artsy and felt a bit like BKLYN making us feel right at home.

After we finished our wandering, we took the Subte (B.A.s subway system) back to our hostel, picked up our backpacks, and headed back on the Subte to catch our bus to Bariloche. By this time, we actually knew our way around the Subte and transfer points since we had been using it so much the past couple of days. As we are walking to our transfer, someone taps Lydia on the shoulder and tells her that some gunk had fallen from the ceiling and gotten on both of our bags. It looks and smells like mustard and we assume some dumb kids got us as we were walking. Both of us are determined not to miss our bus and to keep moving and clean it off later, but this man pulls out tissues for us and tries to help us clean it all off of our backpacks. Even when we think we got it all he is telling us there is more behind us. So we take our three packs off to search them in the middle of the stairs and the guy moves Lydia's backpack from one side to the other, presumably to get it out of the way of other people. Some guy starts yelling Spanish gibberish at us from the platform like we are about to miss our train, but we don't understand what he is saying. Then out of the corner of Lydia's eye, she sees the first guy run up the stairs the other way. Half a second later Lydia yells "he got our bag!" Damn. Kendra, at first thinking it must have been a mistake, instructs Lydia to run after him. Though it would have made more sense for Kendra to chase him down as she is much faster, there was no time to argue. Lydia runs as fast as she can through the subway being instructed by pedestrians where a man with an extra bag had run to and ends up above ground with nothing. Moments after Lydia left, Kendra realized it was a trick and that he stole it and tried running after it as well but soon stops, remembering the crazy gibberish guy that is probably waiting to take our backpacks.

Thirty minutes of chasing nobody around the Subte and the above streets (Kendra with two packs) and we finally find the police (and a sympathetic group of locals). Lydia is bawling. He got away with our day pack that we keep all of our electronics (iPhones, iPods, camera, hard drives, tablet, chargers), money, IDs, guide books, journal, etc in. The police take Lydia to the station to make a report and Kendra takes a cab to the bus station to exchange the tickets for a later time. Luckily, Kendra always keeps the passports and most cash and credit cards on her at all times, but anything else that was worth anything was usually in the stolen day pack. Almost an hour later when Kendra got to the police station with a list of things that might be missing, Lydia was still waiting for the "tourist police" to show up and take a report. Kendra looked through the backpacks and found that, for some reason, for the first time ever, we had taken most of our electronics out of the day pack and put them in our big packs. Although we are obviously still extremely upset that this happened to us-- that we had actually let this happen to us-- at least we hadn't lost everything. What we did lose was a wallet with $300USD, our New York State IDs, our journal, an iPod, Lydia's favorite scarf, and guide book. Keep in mind $300 is our budget for both of us to live for 10days. So we have lost ten days, and our confidence. Anyway, we made a police report (which does not include any description of the method of theft and is quite worthless unless we had travel insurance) and went to find a pub to repair our broken confidence. After purchasing a new journal and two liters of Quilemes (an Argentinian commercial lager) we return to the bus terminal, truly scattered, and board our bus leaving not-so-"buenos" aires for good.
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Cindy on

So sorry about the theft. So many tour guides have warned of these types of tricks. Never let your bags out of your hands. Need anything when I come?

Phil Parish on

What an awful experience. Trust no one.

Tim on

I wish there was a dislike! That so sucks!

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