Buenos Effin Aires!!!!!

Trip Start Aug 23, 2006
Trip End Dec 23, 2006

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

After 36 hours on buses and a long ass layover in Rio Gallegos I have reached the end point of my journey..and what an end point it is...Buenos Aires!  Got here the 16th on a Saturday early in the morning and was pretty muched stopped in my tracks by the heat.  I haven't had a hot weather destination the past 3 months.  Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia were all fairly high in altitude, western Argentina was perfect and cool...and of course Patagonia was down right cold at times.  It was 90+ degrees when I arrived into BA and it would get hotter.
Given this is my last 6 nights in a 3 month trip, I cashed in thousands of my Starwood Hotel points for 5 nights at the best Sheraton in town...the Liberatador.  But...I have one night to begin in the best hostel in town...the Millhouse.  Took a taxi to the Millhouse around 9AM and of course it is too early to check in.  Had a quick shower to wash the bus off and changed clothes.  Checked my bag, dropped off some laundry and headed out to explore BA until my bed was free.  Walked down to the Plaza Mayo and checked out the Casa Rosado or Pink House...which is similar to our White House.  Checked out the main shopping plaza which is called Florida Ave...it is huge.  Took the Subway to Palermo and walked around the parks, saw some lab retrievers playing in the lake, checked out the Japaneese Gardens and then took a taxi back to my hostel.  The Millhouse dorm rooms are huge...4 bunkbeds...but a huge room and huge lockers.  Went out that night to meet Lana and Julia at their favorite bar in town...El Alamo.  They brought a cute friend with them...Kerry...and the 4 of us proceeded to drink mucho cerveza.  El Alamo was fun bar...especially on Saturday nights.  Free beer from 10-10:30, 1:00-1:30 and 3:00-3:30.  Guess how late we stayed?  Got home around 5 but slept for only a few hours as I was anxious to check out and head over to the Sheraton to get my own room...for the first time in a long, long time.
Got to the Sheraton around 10AM Sunday mornign and flashed my Starwood Platinum card hoping it would get me an early checkin and a room upgrade.  After nearly an hour of waiting...my room was waiting...and it was a regular room...right across from the elevator.  I called the General Manager and she came up to have a chat.  Next thing I know I have a seperate set of keys, a bellhop to help me with my bags to the Presidential Suite...no lie.  I will try to put some photos up of my library, guest bathroom, private sauna, dining room or hot tub with a TV.  Sick...and definitely different than a hostel.  Got cleaned up and headed over to San Telmo for the Sunday market action.  The market itself kind of sucked, but I did run into a friend from Bariloche...Amy from the US.  She was back in BA and asked if I wanted to go out tonight...how could I say no?  Had a great lunch and bottle of wine and saw some great guitar playing and tango dancers.  Walked back to the hotel via Florida Ave and the Casa Rosada.  Amy came over around 8 and her jaw about hit the floor when she saw my room.  We decided to go to a pub called Gilbralters which was quite fun on a Sunday night.  Had some good food, a few beers and headed back home before the sun came up.
Monday I had intended on meeting up with Claire, but she had to overnight in Mendoza so I decided to hit Recolleta...one of the richest parts of Buenos Aires and home to a very famous cementary.  Had lunch on the trendy street (forgot it's name), toured through a church, walked through the cementary, saw the tomb of Eva Peron and did some window shopping at Hermes and the other trendy coture shops.  Went to Wilkenny Pub that night and hung out with a group of three others...two pilots of a Gulfstream V and their cute flight attendent.  They work privately for some billionaire out of New York and are living the life.
Tuesday I met up with Claire (my buddy from Quito and the jungle tour).  We headed over to La Boca to take some photos of the colorful buildings, watch some tango and shop at the market.  Gave us some time at lunch to catch up on our travels and trade stories of the past 8 weeks.  We've both had some great times and it was good to be back with a friend from Quito.  That night we went to San Telmo for dinner at Disinevel (sp) which was this amazing steak house.  Seriously..the filet was like butter and it only cost 9 bucks.  Went out later with Claire to a great bar called Million and then I had to stop by El Alamo as it was just around the block.  Good times at El Alamo.
Wednesday was museum day for me so I went to the local art museum and saw some great paintings and sculptures.  Did a bit more walking and finally starting Christmas shopping.  Met Claire later that night at Opera Bay.  Every Wednesday after work, the locals go absolutely nuts at this huge bar near the port called Opera Bay.  It really is huge...like Ibiza club huge.  The party starts early around 8PM and doesnt end until dawn.  Good times and definitely the place to see and be seen.
Thursday...my last full day in South American. :(  After three months, it is hard to believe this is it.  Walked down and had some lunch off Florida Ave.  Then to Plaza de Mayo to watch these old women with white scarves march around the center of the plaza.  They have been doing it every thursday for 30 years to protest and remember all of the young children that were kidnapped during the revolution.  Did some more shopping and picked up a couple of bottles of wine for the preparty at my hotel before going out.  The Dutch sisters, Kevin, Claire and her friend Eric are coming over around 9PM before we head out for drinking and dancing.  Good to see old friends from different places in  my travels.  Our night consisted of good steak, great wine and drinking until early in the morning...a good end (and typical night in Argentina) to my travels.
Last day...as you might imagine, I slept in very late.  Got up and grabbed lunch with Mairjn and Corina before heading back to the hotel to pack...which I knew was going to suck.  My backpacked weighed nearly 40 pounds before my Christmas shopping...and I knew now it was going to be pushing the 50 pound barrier.  Somehow I squeezed 50 pounds of crap into a 20 pound back and by 6PM I was checked out (late checkout for the presidential suite...sweet!).  Walked around the city for a couple hours, checked internet and had my last beer in Argentina.  I know I will be back...hopefully soon.  Left for the airport around 8PM just as the sun was setting....several times on the long journey to the airport I almost told the driver to turnaround and take me back.
Next post...a trip wrapup and lessons learned.
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