Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Buenos Aires, and leaving Patagonia...

Our Patagonian days were over...Sadly. The area shared between the 2 countries, is something unbelievable, and we had barely scratched the surface, it seemed. Puerto Madryn did not really feel at all like the Patagonia we knew so well, especially compared to El Bolson, but it is technically still part of it. That's what Patagonia is, a bit of everything, from vast plateaus, to green forests, rivers, lakes, icebergs, glaciers, and of course Tierra del Fuego, and yes, Ushuaia. Patagonia is more of an idea than it is a place, because there is so much to it.

Puerto Madryn was really hot. The beachfront was gorgeous, and much needed of a visit by us, but after our 2 days there, we were itching for a taste of Buenos Aires, or at least I was...

We pre-booked a bus, with 'Andesmar,' and left at 7pm from the Puerto Madryn bus terminal. As usual, before boarding, I took our 2 big backpacks to the side of the bus, where there was a man with one arm, loading baggage. He was taking, one by one, people's bags and tossing them inside the loading bay. Upon my turn, he set ours aside, and I was a little weary of why. They are pretty big/heavy bags, but there were many others with very large suitcases, and oddly shaped, wrapped packages. I waited a couple minutes, then boarded the bus, and continued looking out the window to make sure they were put underneath the bus.

We pulled out of the terminal, and watched the sun setting over the last glimpse of Patagonian nothingness that slipped away to night. 15 hours later, we'd pull into Argentina's massive capital of Buenos Aires.

The only bus terminal we've seen thus far that comes even close to 'Retiro' in Buenos Aires, was Panama City, where we were several floors up when we got off the bus. This place was huge! Upon exiting the bus, I was immediately sweating, for the last two weeks in the capital, a major heat wave had been visiting. We waited outside the bus a few minutes for our bags, and the driver's assistant took them out for us. I went to put my backpack on, when I noticed that the small zip pocket on the waist-support belt was wide open...This pocket had been a spot for random change from all of our previously visited countries, and a small, gold, good-luck charm that my grandmother had given me years ago. All of it was gone, and I knew that that small pouch didn't come open on its own...I told the driver what had happened, and he let me crawl around in the baggage compartment to look for it. Nothing. Now, the change, obviously was just a keep sake, but the piece of gold, was sentimental. I was almost positive it was the man in Puerto Madryn. I spent a few minutes cursing and searching the ground out of hope and anger, and felt stupid for keeping that in there, but all of these countries, and Argentina had to be the one! Danica and I joked that his arm may have been 'taken off' after stealing...Karma's a bitch.

We were in Buenos Aires, and like I said, it was an absolute inferno, to say the least...We walked around the front of the Retiro Bus terminal, and found a line of taxi's looking eager to have an errand to run. We approached one man, who looked fairly normal, and told him where we were headed. “Rock Hostel, on Rivadavia,” we told him, and he quickly said it would be 100 Pesos, because it was out of the way. We thought about taking the subway, but with all of our stuff, it wouldn't have been very smart...We tried another cabbie, and he laughed at the last guys outrageous price quote, as we headed into the metropolitan madness that is Buenos Aires, South America's second largest city.

We pulled up to the curb in front of Rock Hostel, and paid 35 Pesos. Rang the bell on the big, old door downstairs from the hostel, and they let us in. Our one night reservation would turn into 3 nights, and a really cool, diverse group of people, and craziness...

We met some really cool people there, and roamed around with some of them, before heading back to play some rooftop tunes on the terrace above the hostel. Next day we met Rob, from Australia, who was working there, and invited us up top for a parilla. Our third night turned into an interesting one, because we had no where to stay...They were all booked from reservations, and all the close hostels were all booked up as well...The owner decided to let us sleep up on the roof, which was actually a nice deck, and despite the heat, we made it through. I can officially say we 'camped' in Buenos Aires.



Rob's rooftop Parilla
We had met some folks back up the road, in Colombia, and in Ecuador, that were from BA, and had invited us to stay with them and visit. We were looking forward to it, but seeing as that we didn't know our timing, it really didn't work, unfortunately. It will have to be on the next trip!

Our 3 days in the big metropolis was enough, mainly due to the heat...It was breaking 40 Celsius, or 104 Fahrenheit while we were there...And if any of you have been there, you know that there's really no where to hide from that kinda heat...My 30th birthday was in 3 days, and we needed a plan. Uruguay....


Cynar/Pomelo...