Last week in South America!
Trip Start Jul 16, 2008
85Trip End Nov 04, 2009
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It feels a bit weird to be leaving South America. I definitely don't feel 'done' with it. I could spend a lot longer here. I can't believe I'm not going to be speaking Spanish anymore. I hope I don't forget it!
I enjoyed my last few days in BA, perhaps too much! I think I wrote about this before, about the way the city can suck me in. I was kind of regretting my decision to come back so early before my flight to South Africa, thinking I should spend more time somewhere else. I'd already spent a week here and seen and done everything. But, I just spent another 5 days, seeing and doing new things, feeling like I could spend another week here.
If you can't tell, I really like this city! But, it's hard to relax here. I feel like I always have to do something...I guess that's what cities do to me, as that is how I feel when I am in NY as well.
I arrived on Friday, happy to get off of my last long Argentine bus ride. The bus terminal is in a very crowded area. I felt a bit nervous walking around in the crowd with all my stuff (flashbacks to Quito!!). Especially after I saw a guy trying to rob some woman. His hand was in her bag but she noticed it and swung it away from him, hitting him. A few minutes later I fell on the ground. I don't know if I tripped or was pushed but I was very nervous and quickly got up on my own (difficult to do with all of my stuff!) shoving away the woman who came over to help me, figuring it was some new ploy to rob me! (Don't worry, I was ok from the fall, just some scraped knees and a big bruise which ended up lasting for a few weeks!)
I stayed in Palermo Hollywood, a different part of the city from last time. It had a very different feel to it. I met Meriam for dinner in an area with lots of cute restaurants and bars, lots of outdoor seating. We went for dinner at 9:30 so the restaurant was pretty empty when we arrived as that is early for dinner in BA!
After dinner we met Meriam's roommate, Hosanna (she lives in NY but is from DC and went to Barrie Day School for preschool!) at a Cultural Center where they were having a tango night. It was great fun watching all the people tango. We got there late and missed the lesson they gave before the open dancing so unfortunately I couldn't join in! I was home by 3:30 am that evening and was the first one in bed in my dorm room of 6 people! 3:30 is early to go home on a Friday night in BA!
I spent the next day with Meriam and a friend of hers, Stephanie (from Belgium) and some of Stephanie's friends. We went to Plaza Serrano, a plaza with an artisanal market and lots of great clothes shops around it. We spent several hours hanging out in the Palermo parks. Rented a paddle boat and rode around the lake.
We had a big night out that night as it was Meriam's last night in South America! Had a delicious steak dinner with a good bottle of Argentinian wine at a restaurant called Miranda (thanks mom and dad for dinner!) Dinner was at 11:30 pm and we stayed at the restaurant until about 2 am when it was time to go to the club! We went to Crobar (it's kind of funny-I've been to the Crobar in BA but never went to the one in NY!) It definitely is not my scene! Never been much into clubbing. VERY crowded. Expensive-AR$50 to get in and then drinks are AR$20 each. Needless to say, I didn't drink there. I was probably one of the few sober people in the club! Lots of drugs going on as well. But, if you can ignore all that and find somewhere where you are not constantly being pushed by people walking by, you can enjoy the music and dance! We stayed there till about 6 am, at which point I was so tired I could barely stand. It was still very crowded in there...I don't think it really slows down until 8 am!
Sunday I was looking forward to going to the San Telmo market. Unfortunately, it rained and so there wasn't as much set up as the last time I went. But, still had nice stuff. The dreary weather made it even sadder to say goodbye to Meriam. That's the really hard part about traveling-you're always saying goodbye to people without knowing when, or if, you will see them again! Just will have to make a trip to Holland at some point to make sure I can see Meriam!
The next day I went to Tigre, which is an hour train ride from BA. The round trip ticket was AR$2.20, so cheap! Tigre is a town that is surrounded by these deltas. Went on a tour with two women, Anna from Holland and Sylvia from Colombia. They met 25 years ago when Anna was traveling in Colombia. So, it is possible to stay in touch with the people you meet while traveling, and still travel together 25 years later!
Anyway, we had a 4 hour boat trip through the rivers and islands, with our guide Sergio. Although the water is an ugly brown, the islands are very pretty, with nice flowers growing on them. So, people live on these islands in the river. They have to travel around by boat to get anywhere, even to most of their neighbors' houses. We saw a school and the school boat that picks up the kids (it wasn't yellow!). There are hotels, bars, and restaurants on some islands. There are supermercado boats as well. There is one island that is a vacation spot for rich Portenos who have gorgeous weekend houses with a view of the BA skyline. They fly in on their helicopters for the weekends!
We had lunch at a little restaurant run by a very nice woman, Fernanda. The water level changes with the tides. Apparently the water level is higher then usually right now but it rose even more while we ate, a noticeable amount. It was hard staying dry on the walk back to the boat! Good thing the house is on stilts! We passed one house where the water had risen so high that the clothes on the clothes line were touching it-not so good for drying. Some houses have cute little benches in front of them. ON our way back, the benches were no longer on the islands, but were their own little islands, surrounded by water. It looked like a surrealist painting, with benches out in the middle of a river!
It was definitely nice to get out of the city for a day and see a bit more nature, see what surrounds the city!
I had to rush back to BA after the tour because I had plans with Edouard (who I had met in Patagonia!) He was heading back to France the next day. Another goodbye...
Back at the hostel they were having a big asado. I ended up eating a ton of delicious meat, chicken, and sausage with a big group of people (Brazilian, Uruguayan, Argentine, and British...this hostel had the most South Americans than any other place I have stayed!) and staying up till 4 am with my new friends (again...it is impossible to be anti-social here!!)
My last day was spent running around BA, trying to finish my holiday shopping, see a few things I hadn't seen before (I had missed a few markets!), and visiting some of my favorite places again! Went to the Museum of Belles Arts, which had a nice collection of Argentine paintings.
Thought about going to bed early (I was exhausted) but it was my last night in South America. So, ended up hanging out in the hostel for a while and then going out for a drink with Bob and Eloise (2 British friends) and sat outside in a café until after 2 am. Another late night. Which is why this is so long...trying to keep myself awake on the 2 hour bus ride to the airport.
So, I guess this is goodbye to South America and hello to Africa!