Monday, August 10, 2009
San Telmo´s Fire
¡Hola para Buenos Aires! I can´t believe I´m finally here. Despite the fact that I am jetlagged to the max and feel like I´m coming down from an acid trip, I am totally loving it here. I left Melbourne for Sydney on a 7am flight Saturday morning and boarded a plane for B´s A´s at 10.30. Flight was pretty cruisy except for the usual uncomfortableness of economy seats but even they aren´t really anything to complain about. I spent the majority of the flight watching movies and documentaries and caught a bit of sleep in between. We landed in Buenos Aires, were waved through customs and through to our waiting mini bus. I tried my mobile to find that I don´t have international roaming on it so no phone for me whilst here.. I gave the tour guide the address of Ayres Porteños and away we went. Driving out from the airport didn´t seem too dissimilar to Melbourne so there wasn´t any ooohhing or ahhhing . Eventually the driver pulled over and said we were at my hostel so David helped me with my suitcase and they were gone. The guy at the front desk knew who I was immediatly which was nice. Poor guy was nursing a pretty severe hangover and was consuming mate like there was no tomorrow! He completed all my details and then helped me with my suitcase up two flights of stairs. My room, which I envisioned to be akin to a broom closet is actually large with a double bed, side tables, a table with chairs to sit at and a large wardrobe. The shared bathroom is right across the hall. The place is old and I found out at breakfast from Luisa, the breakfast lady that it was built in 1920 as a rooming house for small families. It had been vacant and run down for a while until someone bought it and decided to open it as a backpackers to take advantage of the tourist trade- good move as it´s a pretty cool place. Nothing like Casa Bolivar where the others are staying but okay if like me, you just want a crash pad. The showers leave a lot to be desired but hey, you can get one and that´s all that matters! Once I´d unpacked, showered and changed, I went out in search of coffee. A fellow blogger mentioned that if I want to get to know this city well, walk as much as possible so I´m taking her advice. I found a place a couple of blocks from here and braved my bad Spanish by asking for a cafe con leche (coffee with milk) which arrived quickly with a little biscuit and a small glass of soda water- nice touch. I´ve since discovered that this is de riguer. I ask how much and she replies ¨"ocho". I walk out thinking eight bucks for a coffee is pretty steep until I remember it´s in pesos, not dollars. I do the math and realise it´s pretty cheap. I´ve been told many times and read about piropos which is just the word here for the attention and compliments men give you as you walk down the street. I received some by a group of men on my way to find coffee and a couple on the way back. Muy buena para mi alma! I come back to my hostel and do some map reading which I find difficult as I´m exhausted from the flight. I give in to a cat nap and then get on the internet to try and remember where Dave,Di etc are staying as I completely forget where they tell me as I´m retarded with jetlag. A local who I think might work here starts speaking to me in Spanish. I tell him ´´no hablar Española- soy Australiana¨. He persists in trying to converse with me in Spanish and I get up to get a pen. He follows me to my room, peers inside the door and asks ´tu sola?¨ "Si" I reply. He laughs and asks why I have such a big bed for one person then suggests that maybe he could get in with me... ha ha- nice try, pal! More map reading and still having difficulty. I´m going cross-eyed and feel ill from lack of sleep. Then before I know it, I wake up and it´s 8pm! I get up and ring the tour guide and ask here the name of the hotel where she dropped my friends´ off and she gives me the details. I ring to speak to them but the front desk closes at 8. I decide to get ready and take a taxi down there to see if I can find them. The cabbie doesn´t speak English and I try to communicate with my broken Spanish. We get there and there´s no sign of life. I get him to bring me back here and I go to dinner at the restaurant downstairs. One of the waiters there speaks good English and he takes care of me. When Argentine´s tell you they have the best beef in the world, believe them. I ate the most divine piece of steak ever that night, not to mention some of the nicest red wine. It´s 11pm and the restaurant is jammed with locals. Dinner at 11pm but when in Buenos Aires, do as the porteños do. My waiter then says he wants to give me a free shot of Limoncello and I accept. I pay the bill- Steak, papas fritas and 3 glasses of vinto tinto come to 60 pesos. What a bargain! My waiter tells me that he hopes I come back and he´ll see me again. I shuffle upstairs to my room feeling like a well fed princess and go to bed.