Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
324Trip End Ongoing
I have landed myself in Colonia del Sacramento, after an one hour catamaran (or flying boat) ride across from Buenos Aires. Colonia is a pleasant and photogenic old Portugese smuggler port, along Rio de la Plata, with cobblestoned streets as well as historical buildings and churches
While walking around the old historical part of town, I decide I quite like it. It's really quiet, but I can see that the place got "Kodak moment" potential. I am clearly here in the low season, and although I am only one hour away from the bustling metropolis of Buenos Aires, it feels more like I'm on a different planet. There's hardly a soul around, and I wonder if the whole city is on a daily, if not a seasonal siesta. I am sure you could walk around blindfolded for hours, up and down cobblestoned streets, crossing leafy avenues, without once having to worry about bumping into another person or being run over by a vehicle. It's a reverse culture shock from Buenos Aires, and although I could really do with a rest after all the partying lately, I almost immediately decide to just stay one night. I said I quite liked the place, but I am travelling here on my own, and don't want to get bored beyond recognition
So my only worry for now, is to try and change a 1000 Pesos bill (about US 42$) so I'm able to buy something to drink. If you have been travelling around Latin America, you know what a challenge it usually is to break a big bill into smaller notes. You have to use every opportunity you got, so you later on are able to pay for a taxi, bus or shop from a street vendor or corner store. Because those guys will typically always not have any change, or at least claim they don't have any. So it's a custom of mine now, to always use a big bill when I'm paying for a hotel, a trip or for example an expensive meal.
Well, I have one more tiny worry, and that is to find some people (to check out if they are as friendly as my guide book claims). I often find that the smaller the city or the fewer tourists the city/country got, the friendlier the people. I guess this is true for many places around the world. Like in Argentina for example, where I spoke to someone from Tucumán who claimed that people from Salta are unfriendly and arrogant. While people from Salta claimed that people from Mendoza are unfriendly and arrogant. And finally of course, people from Mendoza claimed that people from Buenos Aires are unfriendly and arrogant
I have ventured outside the historical part of town and into the small business district. And they actually got people here, even friendly ones. When I tried to buy a bus ticket to Montevideo for tomorrow around 11AM, the happy guy behind the counter sent me to one of the other bus companies, as his company only had a bus at 13:30PM. Have you ever had a similar experience in a country down here? Where every bus station usually got about a zillion bus companies, all going to the same destination. And they will all claim that the next scheduled bus to your destination is with exactly their company, and not the company next door. It's all business I guess, but for once it felt good not having to wait around for hours while watching about 50 buses from different other companies leaving for your planned destination.
I go to bed that night on a full stomach (I managed to break that 1000 Pesos bill), and find it quite ironic that I have to use my earplugs for the first time on the entire trip. I have hardly ever seen a more quiet and dead city on a Thursday night, the place is so soundless you can almost hear the buzz from Buenos Aires. But then all hell break loose. I am staying at a hostel who happen to lodge about 25 middle aged people from Montevideo on a company kick-off. They are only staying one night, like me, and wants to make the most of it. So just when I am about to fall asleep in my room, located next to the bar, they all arrive back drunk. They end up singing and playing bongo drums until 4:30AM, before they all wake up again around 7:00AM, in order to return to Montevideo. Unfortunately I wasn't in a party mood to join them...