A Travellerspoint blog

day 7

rosario to puerto iguazu

not sure where i left off, but i´m here now at iguazu hostel, tomorrow we are going to go see the falls. the bus ride here from rosario was 19 hours, we left last night at 10pm and got there today around 5pm.

these past 36 hours have been a whirlwind considering how relaxing the preceding few days were at maxi´s. i think i mentioned the party we were going to go to last night. it was in rosario and we left to take the 30 minute taxi there at 3am. we had only munched on some empanadas around 6 when we woke up, so i was pretty hungry by the time we had dinner at 11 -- pizza. they ordered three, a cheese, a tomato and cheese, and a ham egg olive cheese pizza. i tried the last one first but the tomato and cheese looked too delicious to pass up on, so i didn´t. two bites away from finishing star informs me that we´re going to have chicken sandwiches and that they were about to come any second (tonight was take out night). sure enough, a second late, the door rings and the chicken sandwiches had come. and they were sooo good. they were little toasties with melted cheese, ham, chicken, and ketchupy sauce. really good. and fries. alright i should stop im making myself hungry.

finished dinner around midnight then hung around til 230 when we started getting ready. everyone took a cat nap but i couldn´t fall asleep so i just watched tv while the, lily played bejeweled on the computer (her favorite pasttime). the party was crazy, there werent 5000 people there, but there were at least five dinner areas that had bars, dancefloors, discolights, it was a big thing. the drink to get there was called a champange shower, for 100 pesos they gave you a bucket to pour a bottle of champagne and a bottle of speed (redbull) into and then are given cups to pour it into. it was pretty good. also, towards the end of the night there were platters of little pastries served at the bar... yummm

the party wasnt over until 9am, we took a taxi back and stopped at the grocery store to finally get ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies for the family. we made the cookies right when we got home, the brown sugar is different here so they turned out a little different but still delicioussss. came out of the oven just in time for breakfast at 10am. i would give my right arm for one now.

anyways, we passed out for a few hours, got up for some leftover grilled chicken sandwiches, then took our time to pack up and clean up cande´s room. we left around 4 or 5 with maxi cande and their parents. we stopped at this huge park next to a pretty impressive monument that i dont remember the name of. a bunch of craft stands were set up along the sidewalk that opened up to a huge park right on the river. we checked out the stalls, walked along the river and across the street at the monument, took a bunch of pictures then got back in the car to head to the bus terminal. we were 8 people squeezed into a five person car, cande sat in the front with her mom and there were five of us in the back, but it wasn´t too uncomfortable. as we were driving we were listening to the game of the local soccer team, the whole family was so into it (apparently they would have been there if it wasn´t for us.... ooops), when they scored they went crazy, the dad was honking the horn with excitement for at least a minute.

we got to the terminal maybe an hour early, and they waited with us the whole time (even through star and maddys bickerment about how rude it was star was eating all of maddys food), literally until we drove away. the mom was even crying :( gotta go, people want the computer. should go to bed anyway we have a longgggg day of iguazu tomorrow.

Posted by alexascamp 19:03 Archived in Argentina Comments (2)

day 5

wow. we woke up 2 hours ago. its 7pm......

we didn´t go out til like 230 or 3 last night but it didn´t feel like it at all, the whole family was still up hanging out. we went out with maxi, cande and some of her friends who were all so nice. we went to a bar about a ten minute walk away to get ´to go beers´. literally they poured the beer in a cup and we left and drank them on the curb down the street. i guess that everyone in town knows there are 4 american girls here, maxi looks like quite the pimp. one girl asked michelle to help her with her english homework. some guy said something to me in spanish and when i told him i didnt understand and walked away he said ´fuck you! fuck you!´but im pretty sure he was joking and that wasjust the only english thing he knew how to say, at least thats what cande said.

after we finished our drinks we made our way to another bar called queens which was across the park and diagonal to maxi´s house. it had a main room with a bar that attached to another room with a bar. through that room you could go outside, it was just a concrete square area but it was perfect for a break from the inside rooms which were crazy packed and really hot. the bar wasn´t nice by american standards but i really liked it. super local.

the sky was turning light by the time we got to maxi´s and i learned today that it was 7am when we got home. i walked back with flavio and we were waiting for the rest of the group when all of a sudden maddy comes rolling up on weso (her pool partner from the previous night)´s motorbike with the biggest smile on her face. classic. clearly the ride of a lifetime and she did not want it to end.

michelle and i both got up around 11 to go to the bathroom. we passed back out until maxi opened the door and asked if we were ever going to get up because it was 530. maddy mich and i literally all jumped out of bed because we couldn´t believe it, i thought he was joking. but nope. so much for our plans to play soccer and make cookies today. maddy said she had been awake for a while which i think marks a first.

we had some tea, cookies, and burgers (soooooo good, love the ham on the hamburger) and now we are just chilling. family is always popping in here, maxis other grandma stopped by earlier (who star was introduced to as maxi´s girlfriend and mich as the sister in law haha) and now his cousin and her son gaston are here. star tried putting a hairwrap in gastons hair last night but didn´t get far before we had dinner. he passed out after eating so she never finished and his hair is so short it fell out, so star is finishing it now and going to glue it onto his head haha

i still can´t get over how late we got up. and tonight is apparently going to be even more of a party - supposedly a 5000 people party. its one of maxis friends birthdays so we are going to go to dinner at 1030. i think cande said the party doesn´t start til 4am and who knows when it ends so its a good thing we got some sleep.

not much else to say... but i promise i will get pictures up soon, for those of you who have been reading im impressed because i realize its a whole lotta writing, sorryyyyy

Posted by alexascamp 15:03 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

day 4

when in rome....

we are still at maxi´s, we were planning on leaving tonight for iguazu falls (20 hour bus ride from here) and try and make it to chile by the 17th or 18th to make it in time for the end of their independence day festivities but maxi and his family invited us to stay so we figured we should take them up and not rush things. words can´t describe how awesome this experience with maxi and his family has been. there is no way more authentic to discover a culture than to really be immersed in it... today and yesterday we´ve really just been experiencing the local life and it has been a great time. im glad we decided not to rush things - instead of leaving tonight we are going to leave sunday evening, so we basically get to stay here twice as long which just goes to show how incredibly nice and hospitable this family has been. they are beyond awesome.

last night we took a walk with maxi and his sister caande around town. it´s a pretty simple town, the streets are gridlike, there are few big parks. it´s a relatively short town too, the tallest building is i think 8 stories and it´s the only one that height. the streets are pretty deserted, i haven´t seen one cop and i feel like everyone that passes by maxi knows. anyways, got back to their house probably around 10pm? i was feeling a little hungry and was more than happy when i found out that dinner had yet to be served. we had dinner at 11pm - cheeseburgers! it´s funny, bacon cheeseburgers are popular in america but here they literally put a slice of ham on their burgers, it was realllly good, much better burger experience than at the restaurant the other day.

we all finished our burgers, more than satisfied, and within five minutes we were served another round. maxi´s dad told us ´don´t be shy´ so... needless to say we all had another. the meal did not end there, caande and mich went after dinner to get ice cream and terimisu cake. maxi´s dad poured jameson on his ice cream, quickly offering us the same. we had already finished our ice cream but he gave us a liquor which star poured into shots and topped on with baileys. the meal lasted for about an hour and a half, afterwhich we just hung out at the table. as it got a little later maddy and i headed to our bags to get into more comfy clothes. right after we changed michelle walks in and asks if we´re ready to go out..... after changing again we headed out to a local bar, it was probably close to 2. it wasnt too big.. there was a huge poker game going on, like at least ten people playing, a pool table, and then the bar. we ordered a couple beers for the group (probably size equivalent to 40s, maybe 32 oz bottles) and settled into a casual night at the bar. played pool (or at least tried to in my case, maddy proved to be a pro and was on the table for basically the whole night), drank beer, and tried to communicate with the locals til about 330. it was mostly guys, there was this one woman who was clearly stoked we were at the bar because it meant she could shout out all the english phrases she knew, which was a limited number. her vocab was limited, she would shout out ´random things like ´game over´, or (i didn´t hear her say this, but i wish i did) ´HOT DOG!´

we left with maxi and a couple of his homies but didn´t make it far beyond the bar. about a 30 second walk to the left and we were at a pretty big intersection that had a statue. apparently they just put in traffic lights there which required them to change a lot of one way direction streets to the other direction, which, as one would guess, would create a lot of confusion and eventually result in an accident. well the accident happened 2 days after changing the rules and we could still see the glass from the crash i nthe middle of the intersection. anyways, as i said the streets are pretty deserted, so deserted that it was perfectly normal for maxis friend driving by to stop and park basically in the middle of an intersection. so we hung out there for a little while then made our way back to maxi´s and passed out.

we got up around noon today and pretty soon after made our way to maxi´s grandmas house for lunch. she made us a delicious pasta dish - she literally made the pasta herself, it was sooo good. similar story to last night, downed two servings of the main dish, maxi went to get lemon pie cake (literally the same as the terimisu but lemon flavored), ate a slice of that, then sat there in disbelief of how much we had eaten. i kind of expected the lunch to be a big deal but it was super casual, maxi´s little cousin turned his video games onto this huge projector and we watched him play grand theft auto and fifa. he was definitely into it but i was surprised at how quickly his video game sesh was.... only like 15 minutes of each game, never seen some one with such selfcontrol regarding video games....

maddy and star went into a food coma and passed so i went over some spanish words with mich then we got into a game of spanish categories. after a few rounds we decided to wake the girls up and head back to maxis. maddy and i got to ride with maxi in this huge truck he drives for work (oil transporting i think, his whole family is a part of it). got back to his place, star and maddy left again with maxi to go to the bus terminal to figure out our bus to iguazu. michelle and i stayed behind and hung out with cande who made us a cold mate. everyone drinks mate here, so often too. usually its hot but cande told us that another version is having it with cold juice (apparently more standard in paraguay). it was soooo good. i wish i could describe it, kind of like the best lemonade in the world. and i dont even really like lemonade. we sat outside sipping and talking for a while, came back inside and before too long star maddy and maxi were back as well.

we walked around the corner to a meat shop to get dinner (craziest meat shop ive been too, even more so than mzolis -- there were brains, intestines, kidneys, livers, parts of an animal i didn´t know existed... maddy was in shock), dropped the goods off at home then went to another store to get veggies that looked straight out of the garden. unlike any grocery store in the us, so local and so authentic. anyways, came back home and started preparing for dinner. maxi light up the grill and we chilled as the veggies (peppers with eggs and cheese and zuchinnis with cheese) and meat cooked. some of maxi´s family had come for dinner and maddy and star started giving the two younger ones hairwraps, but were cut short for dinner which was served around 11pm. another delicious meal, pork ribs, salad, french fries, stuffed veggies, bread, beer. what more could you ask for? meals here are so different than at home. it´s such a family event but its also so casual. the tv is usually on, people are on their phones, but it doesn´t matter because it is such a long activity. it´s 1 now, we finished eating probably 45 minutes or an hour ago but we´re all still together.... maddy just finished her hairwrap, maxi and gaston are passed out on bean bags in front of the tv, and the adults are still sitting around the table. i love it. im so happy to have another night of this. they are all so nice. and being around them is just really enjoyable because its so real. i can´t understand them half the time but its cool to just listen and try to understand, i definitely feel myself getting a better grip on spanish which im stoked about.

trying to think of what other details to add.... some random things about argentina: at the hostel and most places the sewage system can´t handle toilet paper so you have to throw it away instead of flushing it down. everyone smokes cigarettes, anywhere and everywhere. they are smoking at the table now. its natural for parents and kids to smoke together (not the real young ones but maxi). hmmmm tryna think of other things but im drawing a blank. ive been on here forever, i get so carried away and these are all just the thoughts and things that come to mind first. oh! maxi´s family has the cutest little, luna, shes 8 years old but looks like she could still be a pup. she has a bad back leg so her front legs lead and her rear kind of hops/slides around after. too cute.

just took a break for some of maxi´s dad infamous ice cream with whiskey. he called me over to ask if i wanted ice cream, i obviously said yes, then he offered the whiskey and i couldn´t say no, until he kept pouring it on literally until i said no. strong but yummy. this family is too awesome i am going to be really sad to leave even though i have a hard time communicating with all of them. never met a family more kind and hospitable. truly great people.

Posted by alexascamp 21:40 Archived in Argentina Comments (4)

day 3?

buenos aires to rosario

i´m pretty sure this is day three... might be day four. when i last wrote we were having a lazy day at the hostel. we went out to get dinner, the hostel recommended a place for us but we gave up looking for it pretty quickly and settled for a nearby restaurant. we decided to sit outside which quickly turned out to be a bad idea. lots of mosquitos and people asking for money made unwanted appearances. also there was a mini protest that walked by. it was a much more eventful dinner than we anticipated. maddy and i got gnocchi with pesto (pesto = literally basil-oregano sprinkled on top, not actual sauce) and fish and mashed potatoes. mich and star got this kinda weird fried chicken dish with potatoes. to be honest none of the food we´ve gotten has met /exceeded our expectations but i don´t know if that is because we are ordering the wrong things, if it´s because we are ordering the cheapest things, or if thats just how it is. probably the first two.

anyways after dinner we got back to the hostel around 830 which is still reallyyy early by buenos aires standards. star and maddy took a nap claiming that it would make them more likely to go out later. michelle and i hung out downstairs of the hostel, we watched the peru/argentina game and mich made me a hairwrap. around midnight we went back upstairs to wake up the sleeping beauties. not to our surprise neither of them were too keen to go out. we compromised though and decided to just hang out with our brazilian roomies. we went outside and took a walk around the city, got some snacks to munch on then went back to our room to pack. we could communicate simple things with one of the brazilians, but the other didn´t really know english at all. he had no problem laughing at us though. he was lying on his bed as we were packing up and he literally would just burst out in laughter. pretty funny.

the next day was a big morning, maddy had to go to the us embassy by 12pm to get a new passport and star had to go to the bank to hopefully get her atm card back. thankfully both missions were a success! i went with star to the bank, it was like a 10 minute walk from the hostel. the streets were sooo busy, there were vendors with their crafts displayed on the ground. made a pit stop at starbucks, checked out a protest (we heard what sounded like cannons shooting consistently and couldnt figure out what it was so we had to investigate), then went back to the hostel were we locked up our stuff and made a quick turn around.

the adventure for the day was a graffiti tour of the city. we had to take the supte (subway) about 7 or 8 stops then took a taxi to the meeting point because the maps were pretty confusing. the tour lasted about 3 or 4 hours and was pretty cool. our guide told us how street art got started in argentina. because of the dictatorship in the 70s/80s it didn´t really take off until a couple decades after the rest of the world. now it is really appreciated, the intention of it is to brighten up the city. the artists respect each other, the walls they paint on, and the street signs. technically it is illegal and considered property vandalism but no one really gets in trouble - property owners often ask artists to paint on their wall. the tour guide showed us one street where an artist painted a few walls and a neighbor asked why they didn´t paint his wall, if it wasnt good enough. once i figure out how to post pics i will, it was really cool.

the tour ended at a restaurant that supports the street art community - theres a studio in the back that they let them use for free and all the walls are covered in stencils. we got a pitcher and some food, maddy got a tomato and cheese sando (not many options for a vegetarian), star mich and i all got hamburgers.... wont go into that. took the supte back to the hostel, grabbed our bags then took a taxi to the bus station. the bus station had all these kiosks for buses to different locations. we got tickets for a bus to rosario, a city north of buenos aires. we were all looking forward to the bus ride so we could sleep (went to bed at 4am the night before and had to get up early). the bus left at 830, me star and michelle passed out pretty quickly. maddy on the other, usually the queen of sleep, couldnt because apparently everytime she tried all she could think about was how hungry she was and restaurants at home. i woke up after about 2 or 3 hours (it was a 4 hour journey). the bus ride reminded me a lot of the bus from cape town to namibia, but instead of playing an intensely religious movie, this bus ride offered popular movies people actually wanted to watch. before we knew it we were in rosario, stars friend maxi and another homie picked us up and we went to a restaurant. got pizza (cheese and tomato.... maddy had some very diverse food experiences this day) and some local beer which was really yummy. took a little drive around town, we got out at a park and before we knew it star was having a really bad allergic reaction. her face puffed up literally within five minutes, she could barely see out of her eyes, the doctor thought she was japanese. we assumed it was the mosquitos (they are everywhere). gave her some antiitch cream and a claritin but it didn´t seem to help so we had to take her to emergency care :(

it was a pretty small local clinic and it was pretty clear we were not in america. there was one waiting room with open doors (which meant lots o mosquits) then a door that led into the room where star got treated. they gave her a shot and some oxygen. the doctor was not very friendly, i mostly just waited in the waiting area with maxi and his friend. we got there around 330am, maddy and i went back to maxis to pass out around 530, star and michelle didnt get in til 10am this morning. pretty crazy, the doctors think that it was the strawberry star ate because apparently they have some sort of acid here? anyways, had some cookies for breakfast (my kinda breakfast) then we all passed out again til about 4.

we´ve just been hanging out with maxi and his family, they are so nice and welcoming. they don´t speak english which i actually prefer because it forces me to try and understand. definitely helpful that star and michelle are here though to translate. had some empanadas for lunch (little pastries with spinach/veggies or meat) which were delicious, tried the popular local drink (coke and this drink called fernet which is just alcohol, sugar, and an infusion of herbs) definitely a new taste but not bad at all! sipping on it now as i type. oh! maxi took me on a ride around town (he lives in peres, a few minutes outside of rosario) on his motorbike. it was so fun, never been on one before but definitely keen to do it again! (dont worry mom and dad i wore a helmet). now im here, we´re all up and just hanging out. not sure what the rest of the day has in store for us but i definitely need to take a shower.

i think we are going to head up to iguazu falls tomorrow...........

Posted by alexascamp 13:51 Archived in Argentina Comments (3)

Day 1

Buenos Aires

Well, I finally made it. Travelling wasn´t too bad, i was a little nervous about doing the trek alone but it went more smoothly than i could have hoped. Flew from SFO to LAX, had a 3 hour layover, flew i think 9 hours to Lima, Peru, had a 4 hour layover, then flew like 4 and a half hours to Buenos Aires (best flight by far, i was in the middle row and the two seats next to me were empty so i got to strech out and pretend i was in first class). Took the Manuel Tienda Leon shuttle from EZE airport to the hostel, it was pretty easy to figure out. The most annoying airport was Peru, just because they searched my bag, and because i couldn´t get the wi-fi on my phone to work.

We´re staying at Milhouse Hostel, it´s really nice. When i got there Star and Michelle were waiting for me in the lobby, maddy was passed out of course. We´re sharing the room with two Brazilian guys who we can´t really communicate with but as far as i can tell they are really nice. I got to the hostel arounddddd 10pm, took a few minutes to get settled (and for maddy to get out of bed) then we took a taxi to, wait for it..... a sushi restaurant. if someone told me i would go to a sushi restaurant my first night in BsAs i probably would have laughed at them, but hey life is unexpected. i was hoping for an Oshio type restaurant, but it was on the far other end of the spectrum. the restaurant was called Little Rose, it was a total hole in the wall, if you didn´t know it was there you would have kept driving past. right after the taxi dropped us off and we started walking up the stairs we realized that it was probably a little too fancy for our budget, but we decided to stay. to be completely honest the restaurant was a little creepy. the only lighting was two dinky little candles at each table, and the walls were covered in weird pictures of pale little girls with heavy make up. i kid you not. the sushi was decent though...

we wandered around the streets a little after we left the restaurant. it was close to midnight and it felt deserted. i guess buenos aires is a night city - things don´t really liven up til after midnight, but it wasn´t just the fact that no one was out, it just felt really run down. trash was piled up at the street corners, graffiti was plastered all over the wall, it just felt kinda dirty and not well kept. we saw a car that was totally trashed, like beat up, doors taken off, the works. the driver seat was literally a lawn chair.

anyways, we took a taxi back to the hostel, met some of our neighbors (2 from london, 2 from scotland) then went to a bar down the street. it reminded me a lot cape town, going out with friends and being around a bunch of foreigners, it was fun. woke up this morning around 1130. i honestly feel bad for our brazilian roommates. they were trying to go to sleep last night when we got home from the restaurant and this morning all they heard was us bickering because maddy woke up too late to go to the embassy to get a new passport. i thought it was pretty funny but i can only imagine what we sounded like... a bunch of lameo american girls. anyways, went downstairs to get some breakfast (i had pizza so maybe i should call it lunch). the lamest thing so far is the fact that water is sketch here, if you want some you gotta get bottles. its cold which is nice and refreshing, but spending money on it is just a drag.

we were going to go on a graffiti tour of the city today but apparently today is the ´private tour´ whatever that means. wow i just looked at the time and its 130pm......... maddy and michelle are in bed and star and i are at the computers. probably going to head to bed after i finish typing this, still haven´t caught up on sleep from travelling (just slept on the flight to lima and probably only for 4 hours). i for sure want to explore the city, but im just going to go with the fact that this is a late-waking city and go to bed for a few more hours. keeping a blog is weird but kinda fun. oh, last thing to mention before i peace out - we were sitting in the cafe area of the hostel eating our breakfast and who walks in? some guy dressed in a spandex pinstripe coverall, like even his face was covered in the spandex. he was wearing glasses and had a moustache drawn on. we were wondering how he was going to consume whatever he ordered but we found out soon enough, he just ordered a beer with a straw and was sipping on it through a perfectly straw-sized hole he made by his mouth area. pretty comical.

i think i´ve pretty much covered everything. oh yeah, just so i never forget, last night when we were leaving to head to the bar the front entrance (its like porclean/linoleum floor) was flooding (not sure why, some questions are better left unanswered) so they were mopping it up. we tried to dodge the wettest areas but in the process maddy managed to slip and fall straight on her butt. tooooooo funny, im literally crying just thinking about it but maybe you had to be there. good times, more to come and i can´t wait. until next time......................

Posted by alexascamp 09:01 Archived in Argentina Comments (2)

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