Published: January 1st 2009December 30th 2008
So into Argentina and on to the world’s best busses. Cold, tired and worn out we had another bus to Salta in Argentina, we arrived early in the morning, had a wander around this beautiful city and then had a well deserved night out partying. Things are done a little different in Argentina; it's not unusual to start your night out at midnight or later. Whereas in England Clubs and bars are closing at 2.00-3.00am, they are just about getting going at this time here. The strangest part however is when you walk out the club and its daylight and there’s people going for their morning jog or heading to work. You feel a sort of shame come over you until you see the other 500 people from the club doing the same as you. This worked well actually because we got back to the hostel just in time for the free breakfast.
Salta was just a flying visit and the next evening we took the 20 hour bus journey to Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital. Before this though we had time to head up a mountain in Salta, with the aid of a cable car. For only a few Pesos
the line took us to the top of this mountain/very big hill. Where we had views of the whole city and some nice gardens to stroll around. It was a little weird being somewhere civilized like this after Bolivia's craziness. As for the bus that night...Well I've never been on anything like it before in my life. It was luxury. Only 3 seats wide not the usual 4, huge padded leather seats or should I say beds. Plasma screens everywhere, amazing hot food. It was more like an aero plane flight; in fact better, like on a flight you could call for assistance and ask them to top your Champagne up! I liked this!
I think Buenos Aires is easily the biggest city I've been to. Official reports say it has a population of 13 million but really it's something more like 15 million. It's also called the 'Europe of South America' and for good reason too, it's like a mixture of all the main cities in Europe, with its biggest influence being Spain. This would be our home for the next two weeks and for both Christmas and New Year. We arrived (3 Swedes and I) on the
23rd and for the Swedes the 24th is the day celebrated the most at Christmas. So my Christmas dinner this year was actually on the 24th, with Swedes, eating Mexican food and in Agrentina...Not your typical English Christmas dinner. So for the 25th we all headed to the big Botanical Gardens in Buenos Aires, like most other Argentineans as well, and just spent a day enjoying the sun.
When we were at the park we saw people riding the bike/car things around so the next day we decided to do this as well. To start with I got a front seat with absolutely no responsibilities and could just enjoy being driven around by the others. Soon enough though it was my turn behind the wheel and to do some peddling. This is when things got interesting and we just flew around the park, actually taking off over the speed bumps and nearly loosing who ever was in the front seat. I think the other people in the park had just as much fun watching us as we actually did driving around. Unfortunately we couldn’t keep this up for long and after half an hour we were all out of
breath and finished. Probably something to do with a few to many drinks over the Christmas period as well as way to many big fat beef steaks. Argentina is famous for its steaks and even before I got here I had heard all about them. It’s because they produce so many cows here. Every restaurant is based around steaks and the shelves in the meat sections of supermarkets must be about 60-70% beef.
A really good day out we all had was to the area of Buenos Aires called La Boca. You may have heard of the Football team called Boca Juniors, well this is where they are from. It’s a really poor area of the city right by the docks. But the people are so colourful and full of character that make it worth going. There's Tango dancers out on the street and everyone there paints their houses in all weird and wonderful colours. I think though it's caught on as a tourist attraction in recent years so it's turned a little fake, with souvenir shops in these ruff neighborhoods. Everybody here is football mad, the local teams team photo is painted on a huge wall, locals paint
their homes in the teams colours and there’s kids kicking balls around everywhere. A real nice place to stroll around.
Another great night out was spent watching a band called 'La Bomba del Tiempo' or 'The Bomb of Time' in English. It's kind of an underground thing which I had heard about along the Grapevine. You buy a ticket at the gate and head into a sort of old warehouse with no roof which is full of people and loads of guys and girls with drums and all sorts of percussion instruments just playing away the evening. They were amazing and as I thought it couldn't get any better I realised that they were only the warm up band and the best was yet to come. About 10 guys took to the stage with all their percussion instruments and somehow got the crowd going crazy. There was such a good atmosphere around the place with everybody dancing around, clapping and chanting along to the beat. It was one of those unplanned nice little surprises and we all had a great night.
So Merry Christmas everybody and Happy New Year.
There are more photos below