I know more people in BA than in Guildford!

Trip Start Feb 03, 2013
Trip End Dec 13, 2013

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What I did
Lots of European looking things
Ecological Park

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Hello again and a Happy Mothers Day to all the lovely Mummys!

I could walk around Guildford town all day and not run in to a single person I know, but put me in Buenos Aires and I'm bumping into everyone! It really is a small world and the travelling world seems a lot smaller. People told us at the beginning that we would bump into the same people but we hadn't expected to so much. Just after we checked into the hostel a couple we had met in Puerto Iguazu checked in, then when were out for a walk around the city we bumped into two girls who had been in our first hostel back in Rio. The day after that Garry jokingly said 'oh i wonder who we might see today?' and then around the corner we caught up with two oz girls who were in my room in Puerto Iguazu. As if that wasn't enough the day after that a Brazilian guy from our hostel in Sao Paulo checked into our hostel here! It's crazy!

Anyway, we have spent the last week in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. We decided to spend so long here as we were getting fed up of moving every couple of days, and being such a large city we thought it would be nice to spend some time and get a feel for the place.

4th March - We arrived into BA after a long 20 hour bus journey from Paraguay. As soon as we left the bus terminal we instantly noticed there was no humidity and it was half the temperature of Asuncion - woohoo our sweat glands thought! 
We checked into our hostel and our beds were ready so we dumped our stuff and went in search of food. We found a random lunch shop and had a meat empanada which is similar to a pasty but seems much nicer (my cornish routes are kicking me for that!). 
The bus journey had left me tired and irritable so i went to sleep for a few hours whilst Garry researched stuff to do. When I woke up we headed out to see the city and Garry took me to Plaza de Mayo where the 'Pink Palace' is from the film Evita. I was left unimpressed but put this down to my tiredness and now hunger rage. We stopped and had a very good pizza and I nstantly felt in a better mood so we headed back to the palace and I could appreciate it better now. Poor Garry deserves a medal putting up with that foul mood!

5th March - Today I woke up with a spring in my step and we were up early. The breakfast here is great and I discovered Dolce de Leche which is a spread made of milk and sugar but it tastes like Rolos! It's so good and definitely sorted out my craving for chocolate which I have given up for lent! We spent the day walking around Buenos Aires. We started back at the palace to take some photos and I bought some 'Ray Ban' sunglasses for £3 off a lady in the square! 
Buenos Aires has a definite European feel to it and in Plaza de Mayo the most. I think it is due to the architecture and the domes on some of the buildings. We walked down to the obelisk and then towards Recoleta. We got a bit lost but ended up seeing Floralis Genérica, which is a cool steel and aluminum structure of five or six petals and looks like a flower - it even closes up at night and opens in the morning like a real flower!
We got back on track and visited Recoleta cemetery which was very surreal . I don't come on holiday to walk around a graveyard but this was on the top things to do and listed as one of the top 10 most beautiful cemeteries in the world, so we gave it a go. It was unlike any other cemetery i had visited. Instead of the coffins being 6ft below your feet they were all around you. There are 4691 vaults set in this labyrinth cemetery and it is where all the notable Argentines are 'buried'. There are several mausoleums and you can tell only the wealthy or admired would be laid to rest in such a grand resting place. You could see into some of them and the coffins would be right there, I swear I even saw one which looked like it had been opened!
We got our first bit of steak 'Bife de Chorizo' (sirloin) from the butchers and for two good slices we paid about £3 and they were amazing - don't know why they have steak knives here when a spoon would suffice!

6th March - Today was the second day we had left the hostel without putting any sun tan lotion on but since we hadn't burnt the day before we thought the sun wasn't as strong here and that we would be OK - how wrong we were! By lunchtime my chest, arms and knees were red raw - I don't think I will ever learn! Anyway we had a nice day walking around the ecological park before seeing the congress building and then massively avoiding the sun! We had steak again for dinner - yummmmmmy!

7th March - Today we decided my skin could't take being out in the sun so we had a sorting day - can never get away from admin! We booked boats to Uruguay and a plane to Patagonia. 
 Since we had spent all day in the basement of the hostel we went out for dinner. We had heard brilliant things about the restaurants in Buenos Aires, like the steaks melt in the mouth, and must of been bathed in oil of olay so we were very looking forward to it. Garry ordered Bife de Chorizo but I chose the round steak with onions and peppers. Garry got his served first where the waiter came over with his steak on a metal plate and placed it on Garry's plate - this was his meal, we expected it to come with some sides but to be fair the steak was so big it nearly filled the plate and it was about two inches thick. Meat + red wine = a happy Garry. My meal was a meal served with chips but the steak was no way near as good as Garry's.

8th March - Today we went to La Boca which did not feel European at all. It's very South American with the bold bright colours and the Tango dancers everywhere. It's a very touristy place and there are a couple of adjacent streets which have painted their buildings different bright colours which gave it a very cool feel. Garry also got to see Boca Juniors stadium (from afar) but the ticket prices are outrageous at about £80 a ticket so unfortunately our budget could not fit in a football game. They lost the game we could of gone to anyway 1-0!
We had steak again for dinner - I have never eaten so well! Garry tried to cook fried sliced potatoes so we could have steak and chips but he messed it up by over par-boiling them so they turned out as mash chips but it still tasted good!
Tonight we went to our first Tango class. It was in the nice area of Palermo so I was expecting a grand hall with pretty dresses and men in suits etc (I really should stop bigging things up in my head) buts instead we turn up to what can only be described as a community hall. As we were arriving a load of sweaty kids were leaving so the hall must have been used for a kids activity before hand - not quite the grand hall I had imagined. I also hadn't anticipated the fact that locals would be at the class and attend week on week. We learnt a few steps and then had to change partners. I got a smooth Argentinian guy who moved quite well, then a German guy who's first lesson it was too and then a guy who took life way too seriously so I went back to Garry and we didn't change partners again, although it may have been better to since we just got annoyed at each other for being so rubbish - we had 4 left feet amongst us - it was very hard but quite fun.

9th March - Back in Brazil we heard about Argentina's black market for dollars. The Argentinean Peso is very weak and the government are very strict and limit how many Dollars a Argentine national can exchange. Apparently they have to fill out lengthy forms asking the government for dollars for their holidays and state how long they are going, where they are going, what they will be doing and then the government decide how much to let them exchange and its never enough. So since it's so hard to get dollars in the country there is now a thriving black market for them. Walking down the main shopping street in BA (Calle Florida) you will hear men randomly shouting out "cambio! cambio!" which means change. It feels dodgy and I'm not sure if it is legal but we decided to change up the dollars we had. We walked down Calle Florida and spoke to a guy who had just shouted "cambio!". He told us the exchange rate for dollars was 7.65 pesos for 1$ - the official rate is 5 pesos. He then took us into a shop where a lady exchanged our $200 dollars at a 7.5 rate (you only get the higher rate for 100 and 50 dollar bills). We got 1500 pesos - a 500 peso profit on the officail rate meaning we were now £66 richer! Woohoo! We are going to get a load of dollars out when we are in Uruguay and change them up again, serious money to be made here.
Getting away from Calle Florida as quickly as we could in-case we got mugged and/or stopped by the police, we headed for Cafe Tortoni, the oldest cafe in Argentina which opened in 1858. It was very grand inside and Garry had the best coffee he had had in his life. I had a Dr. Lemon which took me back to my uni days as it was a lemon alcopop which tasted like 'metz'. It was lovely in there and we both really enjoyed it, plus we were still buzzing from our massive profit!
You will never believe what happened tonight - the butcher was closed!!!!!!!! No steak for us :-( we were gutted and had to revert back to pasta in a tomato sauce.

10th March - Today we went and explored Palermo, which is supposed to be the nicest neighborhood in Buenos Aires. It had a lot of nice expensive clothes shops and all the window displays looked gorgeous but at £100 a shoe we would not be shopping here. We had a look around the stalls in the plazas which sold home made goods from jewellery to dog coats. We then headed down to the parks and the Rose gardens were beautiful, it had a lovely lake and pretty paths, with the sun shining. It was a lovely way to end our time in Buenos Aires! 
Oh and the butchers was open again so steak Fajitas for dinners to sum it all up.

So that was the Buenos Aires lo down and we are now all up to date as I am writing this whilst Garry is cooking the Fajitas. We catch a boat tomorrow lunchtime to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. We will be in Uruguay for a week before heading back to BA to catch a flight to Patagonia next Monday, so we will be in touch again then.

Love to everyone.

K x x x
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