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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Buenos Aires, Argentina: Part 2: Bondiola, Beer Pong & Bicycle Tour

I arrived to Buenos Aires via a ride on the giant catamaran once again, this time with all of my luggage arriving. I walked straight back to my hostel for a third visit. It's social but not a party hostel and has the best breakfast I've ever had at any hostel in the world. I asked for a dorm by myself and my wish was granted. As with most hostels I just book one night at a time to stay flexible.

The first couple of days just involved a bit more exploring and arranging a meet up with a guy from the internet to exchange some of my US Dollars for Pesos in a McDonalds' toilet. I received 50% more than the official rate... Dodgy Argentina.

On my third night I ended up at a beer pong tournament in a bar (I can't imagine that in Australia). We lost in the 2nd round by 1 cup... I nailed 9 out of our 11 cups so I'm blaming my partner for the loss. Beers here were 2 pints for less than 4 bucks with my new exchange rate.



I ended meeting Victor and a Chilean girl, Estefania. Victor has about 100 nationalities. I think he was born in Chile but has lived in NZ, Scotland and USA. All 3 of those accents come out when he speaks english. All 3 of us went back to Victor's place for more drinks before crashing out. Victor had to get up ridiculously early for work. Estefania and I didn't make it up until noon.
In a city of 13 Million people somehow Victor and I ended up standing next to each other at a set of traffic lights on my way back to the hostel... Crazy odds. I finally made it back after 2pm with 11am checkout. The girl at the front desk was worried about me. I booked another night and she shared her lunch with me... I was supposed to fill in for soccer that evening in a team with one of the other staff, I'm glad it was cancelled.

A couple of nights later I went over to a girl's place out in the suburbs for drinks. I decided to return to the hostel around 3am. On the bus I really needed to pee so I disembarked. After watering a tree I walked up to a black guy (from Liberia) and asked where I was. He said "It's not safe for you to be here, get in the next taxi or they will take your clothes and your shoes" He was dead serious... I was drunk and couldn't stop laughing. I went to pull out my phone to show where I needed to but he said "Don't!  It will be gone in 5 seconds then they will take your clothes and your shoes".

He walked me one block to the main street. I could see the McDonalds from the toilet exchange so I knew it was only a 40 min walk. I put both my hoodies on (as I always do in dodgy places) so I look like the bad guy and not the gringo.... I made it home with my clothes and my shoes.

The next day I went over to a guy's house from CS for a bike tour. We spent 6 hours riding around the city of BA. This city is so beautiful and ridiculously big. All the streets in BA are one way but the bike lanes are 2 ways so you need to be careful when crossing an intersection from the wrong direction as the cars won't be looking that way... I had one incredibly close call. Literally centimetres from death with the car and I both a high speed through an intersection.

The Law School



An Old Abandoned Prison





The next day I went back to my 2 favourite places from the tour. A massive row of BBQ stands that sell the best and the cheapest Bondiola Completos in Argentina and possibly the world. Argentinean asados are BBQs that use coals instead of fire so everything is slow cooked over hours. The 2nd place was Palermo Lakes, one of the biggest city parks I've been to and certainly the most populated. Here you will find live bands, runners, people using anything with wheels, free aerobic dance classes, acrobats in the trees and many picnics. The day ended with a visit to a party hostel and a night of clubbing.

Just over half of my Bondiola Completo - About $3.50

One of about 50 of these that line the strip
The next day was 25 May. 214 years since the beginning  of the revolution to claim indepence from Spain... I will talk about the revolution/independence more in a later post. It was a chaotic celebration with streets closed everywhere and buses parked everywhere. I avoided the celebrations as there were smashed bottles lining the streets.

It was now time to say adios to Buenos Aires one again.

Next stop one of the most famous waterfalls in the world IguazĂș.


Lessons Learnt:
People actually will take your clothes and your shoes.
I need to practice my beer pong skills.
Making someone worry about you is rewarded with a free lunch.
Riding a bicycle in BA is more dangerous than Paris & London.

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