Trip Start Mar 07, 2009
Trip End Apr 08, 2010

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Airesh July – 4th August 2009:

We spent our last day in Australia on a trek round the outdoor shops of Sydney, eg. Their Millet's etc looking for some new sleeping bags. I wasn't even going to bother with a bag at all but after some last minute research Ang & I came to the conclusion that it was going to be arctic, especially down south and the last weekend in the Blue Mountains (Australia) showed our current ones to be shite but we managed to pick up a couple of beauties in a sale but still laid out about 400 big ones between us. Anyway that aside, and a pub quiz in which we rocked, it was time to head off to South America. WE were delighted when we got on the plane to find we were in what we discovered to be Economy Premium seats. I actually thought they had mistakenly put us in business class at first but this was better as it means we can ask for it in future. The seats were huge, with loads of space to stretch out. I was devastated at first when I thought we had no telly but it was nicely stowed away in the arm rest, and 3 times the size of the back of the seat jobs, nice one. He movie selection was a bit guff so I watched series 1 & 2 of the IT Crowd back to back & some Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares so those 13 hours just flew by.

We arrived in Buenos Aires Argentina on the same day as we left, at pretty much the same time, which was a bit weird. The place has a metro which is quite convenient so we found the hotel without too much fuss, though it was much more expensive than we have been used to paying in Asia, something we would have to get accustomed to.
After checking into our hotel, which was quite rustic and had toilets similar to those you would expect to see in a derelict abattoir, we headed out for lunch. For this I was completely reliant on Ang as none of the locals spoke a word of English, or if they did they were not letting on. Checked a few menus and it seems that South Americans, or at least Argies eat just Pasta, Pizza or Steak, awesome.

Crashed hard that day at about 5pm and didn't crawl out of our joint together matching sleeping bags (sad I know but necessary) for about 19 hours, man those bags are worth every penny because this place was freezing. After getting over the jet lag we hit the town for a bit of a reccie. The place was really busy but it was a nice change not to have touts following us down the road or literally dragging us into shops and restaurants. There were very few tourists about, at least not obviously European or American tourists anyway so we were able to check the place out in relative peace. Leaflets seem to be the rage here, keep getting them put in my hand but of course have no idea what they say so not much use really. Ang is really good at Spanish by the way, which is why we haven't yet starved to death or had to sleep on the streets!

Went to bed relatively late that night (about 8pm!) and discovered to our annoyance that there is a club across the street from our room. It turns out that the Portenos (people from Buenos Aires) party all week and don't get started till about midnight. Which meant we had to listen to some seriously loud rock music (all English ironically) until about 6 o clock in the morning, every night, except Sunday. Luckily I had some ear plugs but those are crap after 1 use. We could have just joined them of course but refused to support the place out of sheer principal, plus we are píkey back packers and can barely afford to eat let alone get hammered every night.

Next day, late, we got up and headed for a bit of a stroll round this ecological parkland that was on the edge of the city in the docklands area, about 30 minutes walk from the hotel. It of a weird place being so close to the city, the docks reminded me a bit of Salford Quays, but the locals were cleaner. He park was just a huge field really, with a few dry ponds and the Atlantic Ocean viewable on one side. We got lost, of course, and ended up backtracking a bit and noticed many odd characters hanging around, possibly buying and selling drugs but that is pure conjecture on my part. There was a permanent police presence in the park however, which makes you wonder. The environment was uninspiring but we saw a bunch of parrots flocking about and better still they had wild Guinea Pigs, chomping away in the grass. I would never imagine such a thing but I guess they must come from somewhere? On the way back we stopped by a supermarket for some grub, we had discovered that we can ill afford to eat in restaurants every night here so back to basics and student food for tea. Settled in for a night of more metallica etc after our tuna pasta concoction and planned some more of our onward travels.

The next day we did little but I managed to order a steak and a beer at a local cafe which was quite an achievement, now I am set. It has actually been quite nice doing pretty much nowt here, more relaxing than Asia where we were a bit go go go, nice to sit back and just enjoy not being at work, sorry guys not wishing to rub it in. I was a bit disappointed though because Argentina is world renowned for its steaks and I have ordered 2 yet both have come chopped up in a sauce, very nice but I am seeing big slabs of meat dropped on various tables around us and I want some of that, maybe next time. Went into town after that and got the piss taken out of me by a dude in a Hosteling International place as I clearly had no idea what he was saying to us, luckily Ang did, then saw Public Enemy at the pictures, alright film, not great. Had some issues ordering the popcorn but got there in the end. Practice makes perfect.

Next day we took a walk to La Boca, one of the poorer neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, so we could see the football stadium and check out this cool artists enclave which is quite a popular tourist spot. The book recommended we get the bus as it it supposedly a bit dangerous but I figured it cant be as bad as Watford can it? J Anyway we walked and you could really sense the atmosphere of the place as we walked through, ie a bad atmosphere. I became acutely aware of the fact that I was wearing an expensive coat as I caught the odd glance but we pushed on. We then took a short cut through a quiet alley (Ang was navigating), when we saw a dude on the corner obviously signaling to his mate who then came round the corner and approached me saying hello and some other stuff I could not understand. I stopped while Ang walked on a bit and this bloke was gibbering on and then he put his hand beneath his jumper as if to suggest he had a blade or a gun and started going muneey, muneey (I will assume for the sake of this blog he was saying "give me all your money or ill kill you gringo punk") That bit I did understand. I was fairly confident he wasn't packing anything so just pleaded ignorance for a bit then he started putting his hand to his mouth and said something about a sandwich. By this stage I was confused, was he robbing me or begging for money? Either way I wasn't hanging around to find out and simply shuffled off saying no intiendo, no intiendo and apart from a few Spanish swear words thrown at me (probably?), nothing really came of it. Ang & I then, needless to say, got out of there pretty sharpish and walked back a different way. I had to get her out of there as she was getting the right hump with this him to F-off. Still took some photos of the stadium though!

Saw the arty place which was just a couple of blocks away, amazing the difference a few tourist police makes, which was pretty cool, also saw loads of dogs wearing jeans and sweaters which was weird. The street is quite famous as all the house are all painted up cool colours and artists sell their wares on the streets while people are doing the Tango all over the shop. Had a bit of ravioli for dinner, I'm tired of not getting the steak I deserve, and headed back (along the main streets in public places course). Saw some old dudes playing chess in the park, thought that only happened on telly.

Next day, our last full day in buenos, we took a walk to Palermo, the wealthiest area in the city to check out a posh grave yard where Evita is buried, boring really, then a mammoth hike along the parks and stuff before getting our ferry tickets for the next days travel to Uruguay.
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