A Sad Farewell to Latin America

Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
Trip End Sep 23, 2011

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Where I stayed
Augar Hostel

Flag of Argentina  , Capital Federal District,
Monday, December 13, 2010


So after a gruelling 27 hour bus journey from Florianopolis, Brazil we arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina which would be our last stop in South America before heading off to Australasia. Once we arrived in Buenos Aires we took the underground to our hostel and had a much needed shower. We were very glad we had one when we did as moments later all the hostel’s water had been turned off! The hostel didn’t have a reason for this but ensured us that it should come back on within a few hours or so.

Buenos Aires is a huge metropolis and 3 times as big as London, holding 17 million people and a large Jewish community. The Jewish community is so big that there are Kosher McDonalds. The weather was scorching hot (30 c) so after watching United win 1-0 we went out to get something quick to eat as the hostel kitchen was disgusting and there was still no running water! We got a large Pizza and a drink for 3...job done!!!

The following morning we woke for a terrible breakfast and still no water, the toilets at this point were starting too smell real bad. Again we ventured out to the city centre visiting the stunning marine, parks and shopping areas of downtown. We really went in search for somewhere to eat the famous Argentinean Steak along with some great Red Wine from the Mendoza region. Being in the capital of Argentina we thought we would come across loads of Steakhouses and restaurants serving up meat on a wooden board, but they were actually few and far between.

But that night for the first time in a while we got to dine out and found somewhere that served some great tasting 400g Rib-Eye and a nice glass of Red Wine, happy times. Not really understanding the rest of the menu apart from Rib-eye we just randomly selected our starters. Mine was a mixed grill and at first sight I thought I had made a great choice, but after closer inspection we realised what it was. The mixed grill consisted of Cow’s ears and cheeks and Bull’s balls!!!!! These are not for the faint hearted and those with a weak stomach but after getting over the shock of what we were eating it was quite tasty, albeit very chewy. The ear was a little fatty and gristly as it is cartilage but the meat inside was quite nice. The testicles on the other hand were quite tough but tasty when grilled. Nice!!! When we arrived back at the hostel we were hoping for a shower but still there was no running water, it was now becoming a joke as we were feeling quite dirty and sweaty after a long hot day out. At this point the toilets were reeking so when we needed to go we had to go to the McDonald’s down the road.

The next morning we woke and finally had water, after 48 hours without any! This was lucky as today we had our midnight flight to Auckland, New Zealand. When Hollie asked for compensation in the morning, we were well pleased as they coughed up two night‘s stay, basically paying for our meal the night before!

To round off 4 months of travelling so far we went to an intriguing restaurant we had walked past the day before. The menu was very interesting as it cooked many ethnic recipes and unusual combinations. Damn we were not disappointed!!! To round off a great meal and the best Red Wine I have ever tasted (even Hollie liked it so I jotted down its name and hope to buy it when home) we were advised to get the apple pie. OMG!!!! It is the best apple pie we have ever tasted in our lives, even after the huge portion we were given (see pictures) we could of eaten more until we were sick, simply gorgeous!!! A great romantic end to our Latin American adventure. After our meal we walked back through the busy city centre and watched street dancers perform the famous Argentinean Tango as I gave them a Strictly Come Dancing score of ‘SEVEN’. Downtown was full and really buzzy as we manoeuvred through all the street sellers who were set up in the middle of the streets. At this point we wished we had more time here and then it started to sink in that we would really miss the Latin American vibe and frantic way of life that we have experienced over the last 4 months. We would miss the heat even more so as the city clock read 5.30pm and it was still 31 c.

On our way to the bus stop to catch the local bus to the airport Tom was a little lost and decided to use the Moon as a source of direction. This made Hollie laugh for the rest of the way as I compared myself to Jesus as I used the stars as a guide! Yep that’s right, Jesus!!! I told her that she wouldn’t laugh if we were lost in the middle of a desert or something and I managed to get us back by using the moon and stars. It was a funny moment though. After a 2 hour bus journey we arrived at the airport and checked in for our 2.20am flight. The flight itself was very very smooth and we were asleep even before take-off. However, the seats were very small and uncomfortable, the staff shabby but friendly enough, and the audio system rubbish. So after a 13 hour flight over 9 time zones we had managed to miss a day and arrived in Auckland on Friday morning.

Summary of the first 4 months of travelling

So after just over 4 months of Central and South America we were on our way to New Zealand. The first 4 months of our trip have been great and we really couldn’t of asked for a better introduction to travelling. We really did put ourselves in the deep-end of it all. It was difficult travelling in countries that did not speak a word of English and for us not to speak a word of Spanish nor Portuguese really didn‘t help. Besides this we managed to get by on very short phrases and a lot of sign language and hand signals. Getting used to local cultures and people, food, hostels, guesthouses, living out of a backpack and carrying it everyday, haggling, planning routes and taking entertaining local transport was all a massive learning curve for us. Furthermore, figuring out budgets has now become Hollie’s specialist skill set and its been interesting to say the least especially as so far we have travelled using 11 different currencies and that doesn’t include the US Dollar nor our very own British Pound!

On our way we have seen some amazing scenery, stunning historical sights, completed awesome hikes, seen some great wildlife and aquatic animals, met a couple of very nice local people and kind fellow travellers. Over these 4 months we have taken over 50 buses, many of them overnight and cumulating to over 1000 hours of sitting in a squashed chair and being frozen to death by the gale force air conditioning!!! Many of the journeys were gruelling, especially the 27 hour bus journey from Brazil to Argentina, and the 25 hour back breaking “Death Train” from Bolivia to Brazil. Apart from these undeniable negatives, I think we will miss the late night eating and drinking, the buzzing local markets, the cheap food and beer, the sweet Spanish colonial towns, and the entire Latin American energy which we hope to experience again.

See this video for highlights of both Brazil and Argentina - http://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-022c-586c-9f85?ln
All our love

Thomas and Hollie xxx
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