On my way to Resistencia, another bus passenger convinced me to give it a pass. Next stop: some of the world’s most famous waterfalls!
They were wet. Then I went to Buenos Aires.
BA was great, and awful, and crazy. On the better side, La Boca was colourful and pretty (as long as you stay in the touristy neighbourhoods). As well, the Recoleta cemetary was worth the visit, although it felt a little strange to be running around with cameras while people are visiting their dead loved ones. At the very least, it can be said that Buenos Aires certainly has some beautiful neighbourhoods.
On the rougher side of life, I was passed 190 pesos (around CAD70) in fake bills: from the bank’s ATM, 100 fake pesos; from the overly friendly cab driver, 50 fake pesos; from the hostel, 40 fake pesos. What impact did this have? (a) Frosted Flakes became an acceptable dinner, (b) I returned to Canada with a negative bank account balance, and (c) I’ve been left with an unfavourable impression of Argentina.
As for crazy, the story involves taxi drivers and police. It starts with a taxi. We got in, asked the driver to take us to the nearest McDonald’s, were told that it was only a block away, and decided to walk instead. Then another taxi hit ours. Or, to be more specific, its side mirror did. The mirror exploded, sending plastic and glass flying. The offending vehicle stopped in front of our (still stationary) taxi and the drivers both got out. This is where it got a little strange: the other taxi driver was blaming us, saying that we had opened the door into traffic and thus struck his side mirror. To be honest, I don’t know what happened on that side of the car, but I was having none of it. Fortunately, my Spanish was good enough at that point that I could yell back, which I did, in the process releasing some of the pent-up frustration caused by the fake money. Our taxi driver had radioed for the police, so we all decided to sit and wait for them. As we waited, though, more taxi drivers stopped and got out of their cars. At one point, there were six of them, talking and staring—an intimidating sight for a young foreigner. Everything ended well, though. To make a short story shorter, the police eventually got there and told us to leave. We walked home.
As the t-shirt says, Buenos ****ing Aires.
After paying for the shuttle bus to the airport, I was left with four pesos to my name. (Frosted Flakes for lunch!) It was only on the way to the airport that the enormity of it hit: the adventure was ending; I was leaving South America. I boarded the plane with a heavy heart.
Hours later, I was woken by a flight attendant serving breakfast. It was already morning, and we were over Canada. I was home. And suddenly I was all smiles. Giddy, even. I still am, a little.
Next adventure: grad school. What excitement.