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Published: November 11th 2010
After a nerverending flight- sat right in front of some woman who WOULDN'T STOP throwing up- I finally touched down on South American ground. At last the realisation struck me that I was indeed going to be spending the next half year here and that-like it or not- there was no turning back!
After passing through customs I followed an Argentinians advice and booked a taxi, also known as a "remise" before leaving the airport. Apparently, the taxi drivers lingering outside are keen to rip you of and like to take you on the scenic route to your destination as soon as they realise that you are a tourist and don't have a clue of where you are let alone where you are going. So I handed over my $135 pesos of ny freshly changed money (not really having much a clue of how much that was in Euros -or pounds for that matter- because i can't be bothered to devide my 5.4... everytime i buy or spend something😊)
My driver was a balding, fat, middle-aged man named Hugo (pronounced Ugo- a bit like the noise i imagine the homo erectus or neanderthal used to make) who possessed the kindness of clearing the clutter off his front seat so I would have the pleasure of chatting to him in my what I then realised as pathetic little wisps of Spanish(A-LEVEL-what happened?!). Before we had even driven halfway "Ugo" had provided me with a map upon which he scribbled our journey, (whilst driving at breathtaking speed through manic traffic to which he didnt seem to be paying any attention whatsoever!) also, providing me with his taxi-card (in case i should ever need him!?) and his personal mobile number before complimenting me on my "ojos hermosos"(beautiful eyes) as if i hadnt taken actually the hint yet!
We eventually arrived at my first "port of call" in the Avenida de los Incas in Belgrano, a slightly more upmarket "barrio"/ area of Buenos Aires with many nice houses and apartments. Beatriz, the owner of the house and the main force of the organisation "El Arte de Vivir" is still away until the 13th and so I felt a little lost at first as everyone else in the house seemed to be doing work or out and there didnt seem to be anything to do. After unpacking and a nice shower i decided to take a stroll and ended up on the Avenida Cabildo, the main street in Belgrano filled with shops and food stalls and so on.
I read that people of Buenos Aires, also known as "portenos" are often described as very proud and slightly arrogant people- they definitely seem to be very confident and in my very few outings so far, i have often seen women of about 50 or 60 wearing mini skirts and hair, styled to perfection! Portenos are also very loud (that seems to be the case for every hispanic country?!) although not in an unpleasant way. More in a lively and vivacious way.
This vivaciousness particularly comes to show when someone like me (an un-knowing tourist) tries crossing the road for the first time- a life threatening experience!:D i crossed the road, following other pedestrians and almost had a heart attack when we were tooted at by a load of cars turning the corner and coming our way even though (surely) it was our turn! The drivers in the car wave frantically for you to get out of the way, whilst the pedestrians on the road take all the time in the world and only react to the drivers through sometimes even rude hand gestures. However, clutching my Starbucks Caramel Frappucino to my chest, i hurried to the other side and breathed a sigh of relief when i finally made it! Next thing I knew I was in the midst of a herd of about 15 dogs of all shapes and sizes, all being taken for a walk by what I would later find out was a "pasillero de perros" a PROFESSIONAL DOG-WALKER!?which is quite common here in Buenos Aires (whatever next?)
However, to summarise my first impressions, I love this city! It is loud, it is lively, the air is polluted like hell and yet you see people everywhere chilling out for some fresh air (haha!) and enjoying life. I am happy to be here at this place in time. I am now. I am happy.
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