BA (not) Caracus
Trip Start Sep 02, 2008
30Trip End Dec 14, 2008
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The promised en-suite was factual if nothing else, a slight come down from our last hotel room (the Amara Sanctuary on Sentosa Island), but we'll get the hang of it I'm sure - we have a strict budget and nothing will allow Jen (less so me) from wavering from the decreed 100 bucks (US) a day,(more on this later).
First impressions of Buenos Aires seem to buck the trend of what we've read, i.e. most impressions seem to have been based on low rising to high after experiencing BA's famous European feel, however ours went disappointly from high to low following our quick skirt around the graffiti, dog shit and traffic filled streets. Having said that first impressions don't necessarily last and today we seem to have discovered the nicer parts including a great trip around the Cemetaria de la Recolata - I have to say as cemetary's go this is a corker. Housing BA's long since departed in greater style than most of the modern block of flats that surround it, including Eva Peron (Evita), it's quite a sight and better still, it's free which pleased the keeper of the finances.
What didn't please the aforementioned controller of the purse strings however was the fact we spectacularly destroyed the designated budget in style with a couple of purchases that hopefully won't be far off ending up as highlights of the trip. Firstly I was delighted to see our hostel advertising tickets to the upcoming world cup qualifier, Argentina against top of the table Paraguay at River Plate's stadium on Sat. This trip was never going to be optional (for me), but we procrastinated sufficiently to mean the cheaper tickets behind the goal had sold out leaving us with the 'lateral' tickets left, and at that price ($225 pesos, $110 NZD or $70 USD) we had better get tickets on the halfway line or things will get Messi I guarantee...honk!
So our last task for the day was to book our bus to Mendoza, coming conveniently a couple of hours after the football finishes......I can just imagine them loving my banter of leaving 10 mins before the end to 'beat the traffic', I know this is Buenos Aires but there's no way the roads can be as bad as Selhurst at 6pm on Sat afternoon!
Back to the bus, we had been advised to go semi-cama class which I guess is something akin to premuim economy on Air NZ and is apparently better than any bus/coach experience known to man (but especially known to Greyhound Australia), but thanks to Jenny's awesome Spanish efforts we deduced the only options left were...servicios "Cama" ($190 pesos) or "Royal Suite Max" ($210pesos), well Semi-Cama was never going to cut it and faced with the option Cama or Royal travel, there was only going to be one winner -----Royal suite Max here we come, woo hoo!! From the pictures in the brochure we can expect a DFS style leather sofa to ourselves plus as much Champagne as we can manage. I tell you this travelling lark is hard, but someone has to do it.....
Back to the present day and we are relying on the LP (lonely planet to the uninitiated - world famous with backpackers since ages ago!) for a classic Argentinean steak meal recommendation to blow the budget* once and for all.
btw a bottle of vino tinto goes for roughly $4 (NZ) and the local beer is the Cristal, so good I believe it's very popular in the Hip Hop / R & B circles in Northern America.
* an emergency bugdet meeting was convened, the conclusion of which stated we'll live it down in Chile to make up for the futbol / first class coach travel debacle.