Sunday, October 21, 2012

Peru/Brazil/Argentina Day 21: Arriving in Buenos Aires

May 23, 2012
Argentina Day 21: Arriving in Buenos Aires

Up and a quick breakfast and we said bye to our friends from last night. Frank was sadly still feeling like crap, but he was holding it together enough to fly at least. Poor Frank :( We headed to the airport in Iguazu Falls and it was tiny :) It looks like a little Holiday Inn - light yellowy-brown brick. It was really funny.

As a testament to the casualness of airports that are not in America... great story. Frank in his haze of still being sick forgot to put his really expensive favourite hunting/pocket knife into his luggage, oops. We were already in line for security when he realized it was still in his pocket. He went down to the checkin desk to see if they could check it in a plastic bag or something, and they said, no problem... and walked him OUT TO THE RUNWAY to go drop it into his checked luggage! Even more hilarious and laid-back, they couldn't see his luggage, so he put it into his wife Jess's luggage instead, and they said it was no problem! This was very unexpected given the usual style of airports and how if we were in any other major country it's very likely he would have just lost his favourite knife. So that was pretty lucky!

The usual tasty airplane snack
As usual, the snacks on the plane were super good.

We arrived in Buenos Aires, excited for shopping, some city life... a real city! On the plane we read up in Lonely Planet about food and city stuff to do. We jumped into the taxi cab and the guy was so funny, he loved our excitement for Buenos Aires. He showed us lots of cool stuff along the way, acting as a sort of unofficial tour guide, so excited to show off the city he loves. We stopped at a traffic light, and he bought some local chocolate from a street vendor for us so we could try some Argentinean chocolate!! What a nice guy.

We are renting an apartment in BA for a week and the cab dropped us off there. We met Grisel, a nice lady who was taking the deposit from us. The BA ATM machines said "US $" were an option, but none of them worked at the airport. So we went on a search to go find enough Pesos for the deposit for her... and we had our first (of what was to be many) ATM adventure in Buenos Aires.

Frank and I went to the first ATM, it failed. Another one across the street? No money. A third one... nothing. A forth one... nada. A fifth one... a guy was there repairing the machine and he said that at this time in the afternoon, MOST BANKS IN BUENOS AIRES all empty their ATMs at the SAME TIME and replace the bills?!?!?! So there is no money available in most ATMs in the entire city, and we should just come back in 30 min?!?! Wow. I knew there were many things in Canada and USA and Europe that were sort-of standard expectations, and that those things are not always the same in other countries... sure. But I was very surprised that you couldn't get money out of an ATM! Crazy. I didn't have this issue in any other developing country I've been to so far... this was quite nuts! After 30 min of searching, Frank and I went back to the apartment empty-handed. We felt bad and made plans with Grisel later in the day to come by her apartment with the deposit later.

Frank still felt gross so he went to sleep for a bit and Jess and I headed out for a wander and exploration of the streets of Buenos Aires. As we were walking, we managed to get some money out from a different ATM, and we saw one of the funnies things of the entire trip: a guy holding many Kermit The Frog hand puppets and selling them on the street, saying over and over in a funny deep voice, "Rana Renee!"... "Rana Renee!" hahahaha! Apparently Kermit The Frog's name in Spanish is "Rana Renee!!!!!!!!!!!!" Amazing.

Awesome Pizza spot in Buenos Aires
Jess excited for Pizza
A grocery store that only sold chocolate and booze!
Jess asking someone we met why this place exists - a "Bomboneria", a chocolate and booze-only grocery store

We walked up 9 Julio Ave, and found a good Pizza Napolenato place, it was really good. We also came across a "Bomboneria", a grocery store that literally sold only 2 things: 1) Booze and 2) Chocolate. It was weird and hilarious. While there, we made friends with a very nice Columbian man, who was visiting with a large family. We chatted a bit and he pointed us towards a Supermercado which was very helpful.

Jess and I headed back to the Apt and woke up Frank. We taxi'd to Grisel's apt to sort out the rent and got all sorted. Then we headed along San Telmo area. It was really interesting, lots of exciting shops and things to do. By chance we walked by a Mate shop!!! This was SO COOL because we were very keen to try a "communal mate" - where you go to a mate shop and share a single mate gourd between friends. (Mate is a kind of Argentinean hot tea). The guy was very helpful and showed us how to prepare mate in the mate gourd (cup). Very important is that the tea has to go at a 45 degree angle! He shook it up with some sugar as well and put the metal straw in, as well as wetting the mate with hot water and letting it sit before adding some more hot water. It was strong but tasty. We also had little cheese biscuits with it.

Our kind guide to the intricacies of Yerba Mate
Mate cup!
Trying mate for the first time
It's good!
We checked out the San Telmo Antique Market area, and there was an Empire Strikes Back poster in Spanish! We got some Mango, Kiwi and Maracuya. I also tried on a blue tango hat at a "Haberdashery" - haha!!

Old camera at the market
Awesome fruit market
We got to Plaza Dorrego, a central area inside of San Telmo, meant to bustling and touristy. Dinner is generally eaten at 10 or 11pm in Buenos Aires, and at 8pm it was completely silent in this "busy area". We walked for a bit to bide our time before we could plausibly get dinner anywhere, and finally at 9pm we went to a restaurant. We were the first people in there, in fact as we walked in, the waiter was sleeping!!

I got stuffed pasta with Buffala. We had some great sauce and bread with it too and some nice Malbec wine. Fun!!

Dinner at 9pm, we were so early - the only people there!
Awesome pasta I got
Frank's pasta
Jess is really serious about Gnocchi

We walked back to the hostel after the excellent meal and it was a good 30 min or so, fun times. I Skyped with Mom and Dad and went to sleep by 1ish. It's nice to be on a real normal schedule again. And how nice to sleep in a real bed without insane humidity!! Buenos Aires is awesome.

1 comment:

Carla said...

The usual snacks of the plane were good because they were made by Havnna. Havanna is famously known because of its super cookies and the great "alfajores" with dulce de leche. When I traveled to Buenos Aires, I rented Argentina apartments and all of them came with a nice Weolcom breakfast that had many havanna products. I would go again just to try them one more time!