ARGENTINA BIG BLOG EXCHANGE TRAVEL

My first day in Argentina…

El Ateneo Bookshop in Buenos Aires

So to recap from Day 1:

Bag piper in Santiago Airport, Chile

The strangest things happen in duty free shops! A bag piper dressed me up in Santiago Airport, Chile!

After 27 hours of travelling on planes, buses and taxis, I’ve arrived in Argentina. It’s 9am on Thursday morning (30th May) and I’m currently sitting in the Hostel Suites Florida in Buenos Aires, Argentina writing this blog post. So far the jet lag hasn’t reared it’s ugly head. I totally mucked up my sleep pattern before I left so I’m hoping that I may get little or no jet lag. Wishful thinking I know but one can only hope.

I arrived late last night after a mammoth journey through 4 cities (Melbourne, Sydney, Santiago, Buenos Aires) and 3 countries (Australia, Chile, Argentina) and was greeted at the airport by Cristian, the Hostelling International contact here in Buenos Aires. After checking into the hostel I took a much needed shower and then spent the rest of the evening relaxing and checking out what the hostel had to offer.

Today I’ve got a free day to relax, recover from my trip and start to explore the city. Cristian came and met me at the hostel this morning and went through my itinerary for the next 3 weeks. I’ve got such an amazing trip planned. I can’t wait. From waterfalls, to rafting, to tango, to wineries, to mountains, I’ve got a lot planned and all of it I am really looking forward to. Cristian also took me to change my money on the black market – or dollar blue as they call it here. I felt like I was in some undercover movie in the 1950’s. It was such a surreal experience. And one I’ll explain in more detail in another post.

I’m looking forward to my 3 weeks in Argentina. I’m visiting Buenos Aires, Iguazu and Mendoza in Argentina, the Brazilian side of the Iguazu waterfalls and also spending a day in Colonia in Uruguay too.

I will even get to meet Rosario, my exchange blogger, from At Blue Heaven tonight and we are heading to a tango show together and then she’s invited me to an asado (a traditional Argentinian meal) at her family home on Saturday night, which I am really looking forward to.

But for now I will sign off and I’m heading out into the city to explore – and I’m also on a mission to buy a sim card – wish me luck.

Later that day……………….

Florida Street Buenos Aires Argentina

Outside the Hostel Suite Florida in Buenos Aires first thing in the morning

The Hostel Suite Florida is on Florida street which is a pedestrian street in central Buenos Aires. First thing in the morning when I emerged from the hostel for breakfast, it was a sleepy quiet street with a few people coming and going. Oh how that changed a few hours later though. Chaos is the only word I can use to describe it. There were hoards of people everyone. It was like a writhing, swimming mass of people, and I have to say I was somewhat overwhelmed.

My only mission for today after meeting Cristian this morning, was to get myself an Argentinian sim card for my phone so that when I am on the road, and not near wifi, I can update my facebook, twitter and instagram and show you all the awesome things I am seeing along the way. This task was easier said then done. What I have discovered so far is that there are different shops for different things. One to sell phones, one to deal with phone bills, one to sell sim cards, one to sell credit and so on. I visited all of these shops for 3 different networks today, some several times after getting lost on the way to the shop I was meant to be looking for.

I am ashamed to admit that half way through this task, and having not yet got a sim card in my hand, I had a girlie moment and a bit of a meltdown. It all got a bit much. I was totally overwhelmed by the sheer number of people, the difficulty of just buying a simple sim card, and the fact that the language barrier caused by my poor excuse for pigeon Spanish was making things 400 times harder than it should have been. I also think that as much as I thought I’d dodged it, jet lag is totally rearing it’s ugly head, and I’m shattered and after 4 hours of wandering around, I was just exhausted by the entire process. My brain was fried and I felt like I was on another planet. I was giving up on the sim card mission and was heading back to the hostel when I discovered this amazingly beautiful bookshop called El Ateneo just a few doors down.

El Ateneo Bookshop in Buenos Aires

The beautiful El Ateneo Bookshop on Florida in Buenos Aires

I was lured in by the mellow singing of Dean Martin wafting through it’s doors, and wandered around the calm, serene interior looking at all the shelves filled with books and music. Upstairs there was a little cafe where I ordered myself a tea and sat there quietly watching people coming and going, and generally just taking time to chill out. I don’t know how long I was in the bookshop for, but it was definitely a few hours and a few teas worth. At that point I felt more sane and able to deal with the chaos outside and tentatively ventured out onto Florida Street. What a difference a cuppa and some relaxing music can make. The world seemed like a different place and I got to the task of getting the sim which took me less than an hour. Feeling incredibly pleased with myself I headed back to the hostel, where I am now chilling out before I head to the Tango show with Rosario tonight.

So lesson learnt from today – don’t try to attempt anything when jet lagged. It doesn’t end well. EVER. And that I love swanky Argentinian bookshops, tea and Dean Martin.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Ignacio
    June 11, 2013 at 1:55 am

    You should visit the other Ateneo, the Grand Splendid, is much bigger than the one in Florida and it supposed to be one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. Its in Santa Fe Ave. 1860 (you can take the D line to Callao, or just walk from Florida, its not that far 😉

    • Reply
      Katherine
      June 12, 2013 at 3:54 am

      I am currently in the Grand Splendid. Made the trip over here!! OH MY!! It’s so beautiful. I think I have found heaven in a bookstore!

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