Excerpt from the Journal of Olds – Day 309-310 – Argentina – Buenos Aires – Part 1

Eventually our delightful bus journey had to come to an end (no matter how good the service the sleep is fitful at best) and we reached Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America.

The weather sucked.

We had a coffee in the Bus station while we got our bearings then hopped in a taxi to a hostel in San Telmo where Fi had sourced us a private double room for the price of dorm beds in most other hostels. We found it and they were kind enough to check us in early. The place was pokey and the room was of a standard that those who’ve never travelled would assume a typical hostel to be – tiny, basic, dirty and grim. We were disappointed and tired but as we were in BA we decided to it was high time we met up with the Argentinean Whirlwind we know as Ariel.

We tracked him down on the book of the face and arranged to meet him for lunch. He came to get us at our hostel and we set out to get to grips with the metro (hint: it’s the same as any other Metro and thus requires no getting used to) and take a wander around the university district to a place Ariel frequents while he’s studying. We enjoyed a delicious Argentinean favourite – Milanese with mash potato – while catching up. After filling up we took a wander to Ariel’s university building. They have a three door entranceway and apparently it’s bad luck for those who study there to go through the middle door so we took the right hand one and visited a student coffee shop where as luck would have it Argentina were playing Germany at footy. I managed to get the first half in before Ariel had to leave and Fi had had enough so we said our goodbyes and arranged to meet later.

We returned to our hovel and, overcome with exhaustion and Fi not feeling well, cried off a night on the town with Ariel in favour of some sleep.

The next day was heavy and grey again. The shared bathroom was a mess and the general mood of both of us was of resignation – this was not the Buenos Aires we were looking for. Paris? While I’ve never been BA was far from what I’d imagined it to be. Fi spent the majority of the day working on our insurance claim for the Auckland incident while I was just generally down. The highlight was a trip out to a nearby restaurant for the always incredible Argentinean combo of Steak and Red Wine but even that couldn’t turn the corner for us. By the end of the day we’d cancelled on Ariel again (in favour of a proposed meal at his parent’s house the following night) and were seriously considering leaving the capital behind.

Something wasn’t right though; there had to be more to Buenos Aires than this. We decided to move to a highly-rated hostel and take dorm beds in the hope that a change of scenery could shift us out of the rut.

This proved to be one of the best decisions we made on the entire trip…