Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Friday, 6 November 2015

Buenos Aires

6 November. 

The airport could be one servicing any big city. Bus tickets are easily obtained, then we inadvertently skip to the front of the queue as our bags seem to fit best. So after a ten second wait we find ourselves heading into 'town', which is apparently the second biggest conurbation in South America.

We pass walled enclaves, then dirt coloured tower blocks, before our five lane motorway passes through a less prosperous area where the unfinished buildings briefly take on a middle-eastern aura and the footbridges are judiciously caged. Then, closer to the centre, smarter tower blocks, skyscrapers, statues, traffic jams, and the paraphernalia of a modern city centre, to the TiendaLeón bus depot.

The bus service from the airport extends to a second taxi. This takes us to the door of our destination, America Del Sur Hostel. A friendly place where we dump our bags and down cokes before setting off for a stroll.

The city has no particular distinguishing features aside from streets lined with what appear to be the tips of warheads. These are effective safeguards for pedestrians in the absence of raised pavements on the beautifully cobbled streets.

"Cambio" was the word we were waiting to hear, signifying an enclave of money changers. These people apparently offer much better rates than banks - we just hope the guy we used didn't dump a load of counterfeit notes on us. I couldn't tell the difference when the girls at the hostel were explaining how to identify dodgy notes, but whilst I was counting, Sue checked a few watermarks and reckoned we should take the risk (14.7 pesos to the US $, as opposed to around 10 from a bank).

Plaza de Mayo provided a place of calm amongst office workers and tourists. Surrounded by magnificent buildings and monuments, below a burning sun that was orbited by a 'Sun Dog'. We have left the warm English autumn and found the hot Argentinian spring. 28C here at lunch time. Not that we needed any lunch after Air France's more than ample breakfast and an extra dinner in the middle of the night.

By the time we'd admired the vast cathedral and enjoyed a long coffee, it was time to return to recover our stuff from the hostel's luggage locker and claim our room for the next three nights. It's a very comfortable en-suite offering with a shower that's much better than ours at home.

We are on holiday. I finished reading the book I started yesterday - Cathy Reichs' 'Grave Secrets' (Temperance Brennan 5), set in Guatemala where some of our friends will shortly be visiting. More appropriate for our own trip is my next book - Bruce Chatwin's 'In Patagonia'.

The picture above the Sun Dog is of Casa Rosada, a presidential palace beside Plaza de Mayo, sued as a preaching pedestal by people like Eva Peron and Galtieri when they sought public support. There was no preaching today; perhaps they are waiting for the flower beds to be planted.


Louise said...

This sounds like an adventure...I'm hooked. Have a great time!

wuxing said...

Take the yellow bus tour - nice way to get your bearings in the city...

afootinthehills said...

I was sure you were going to Patagonia after Sue's comment on the TGOC regarding the Nallo. Have a super time both.

Alan Sloman said...

I thought 'In Patagonia' wasn't a patch on his other books. Prepare for disappointment.

And, on that cheery note! Have a splendid time!
I envy your weather - it's chucking it down here with a heavy, leaden sky and brisk wind.

John J said...

As in SlomanLand, the weather in Timperley is awful, not cold but grey, wet & windy. You escaped at just the right time.

I'm looking forward to Episode 2.


Phreerunner said...

Thanks everyone. I'm sure you'll be warmer soon, JJ.
We are recovering well from our sunburn, you'll be pleased to hear. This weather is only very temporary, as we head three hours further towards the south pole shortly! We are making the best of it while we can...