It’s been a transitory week, full of packing and moving. We packed up our life in New Zealand and eventually managed to make it to Argentina, which somehow seems even better than it was the last time we were here.
Monday 1/8 Since our departure day was Tuesday, Monday was a haze of last-minute preparations. We did some packing and some cleaning before heading over to my mum’s pace for a final family dinner, then had a glass of bubbles with Chris and Sarah back at home. Craig stayed up late in an effort to finish off some urgent ITP work and I worked out how to get into Buenos Aires city if the flight was delayed, as the Aerolineas Argentinas website seemed to indicate it would be.
Tuesday 2/8 The Auckland Airport website had joined the party and was saying that our flight was delayed, so I rang the Aerolineas Argentinas office to check. When they finally answered at 10 o’clock they said that not only was the flight delayed, it was also overbooked since the previous flight had been cancelled. I asked about the next flight (on Thursday) and they said that if we wanted to fly on Thursday, we could fly business class. We said yes.
This took a lot of pressure off Craig and freed up some time for me to organise our photos, which I spent most of the next two days doing. We headed out once, to find pies for lunch, and in the evening we ate guacamole and watched a documentary.
Wednesday 3/8 Having a whole completely unscheduled day was strangely freeing – I think I’ve spent too much time teaching! We used the day to get some work done; I continued organising photos, while Craig did all sorts of things. It was nice to be together during the day, even if we were mostly just staring at computer screens.
Thursday 4/8 Departure day two started well, Auckland Airport’s website said our flight was scheduled to leave on time, and when I called to confirm the flights, Aerolineas Argentinas said there were no delays. I called again later in the day after my dad noticed that the AR flight to and from Sydney was cancelled, the same aircraft usually does that run then heads to Buenos Aires. But no, they assured me there were no delays. They lied.
We got to the airport after a day of cleaning, packing and errands (and a coffee with Ange) and were greeted at the check-in desk by a delay announcement. The flight was going to depart at 2300, about four hours late. At least our business class status gave us access to the Koru Club lounge, where we headed after spending some time with my dad and Craig’s mum and sister. The lounge was awesome, we enjoyed the food, the wine and the internet access right up until the time they kicked us out. At 11pm, when our flight was supposed to leave. It didn’t. We finally boarded just after midnight, taking off at around 1.45am — seven hours late.
The flight was okay, I tried to sleep but didn’t succeed too well (surprise!). We’d been planning to catch a bus into the city but since we arrived at 11pm at night we decided we’d be better off travelling by remis, a kind of private taxi. We made it to our couchsurfing host’s place at around midnight and all headed to bed soon after that.
Friday 5/8 We’d booked a walking tour with Urban Adventures for Friday before all the delays, and getting up early in the morning was a bit of a mission! The tour was great though, we met our guide Daniel in the Plaza de Mayo, and he showed us around the cathedral and plaza before taking us to Caminito and San Telmo. We’d been to most of the places before but it was great to see them with a guide, he explained a lot about the history and social significance of the areas we visited.
After lunch we headed home and chatted with Soledad (our host) for a couple of hours. She headed out for the evening and we went to bed, still trying to recover from a couple of bad nights’ sleep.
Saturday 6/8 We spent most of the morning working and hanging out with Soledad and her sister Belén, then went on a fruitless search for a sim card — who would have thought the phone shop would be closed on a Saturday. At 5pm we met up with Luis the water lawyer, a language-exchange friend of mine who I’ve known for about two years but never met in person. It was so great to finally meet him! We wandered around Avenida Corrientes looking at books for awhile then grabbed a drink in Luis’s favourite cafe, where he was met like the prodigal son.
Dinner was at a parrilla complete with tango show, we all ate too much meat and drank maybe just a little too much malbec. The metro was closed when we finally emerged, but we caught a taxi … only to realise we’d run out of cash. The walk home was very pleasant.
Sunday 7/8 We said goodbye to Soledad in the morning, promising to meet up during the week, and met Luis at his hotel. We all left our bags there and caught a metro to San Telmo to immerse ourselves in the San Telmo market. Craig and I didn’t buy anything (we still didn’t have any cash) but Luis got a few presents for his friends back home, all the while trying to speak like an Argentinian and not like a Chilean.
Luis wanted to eat at Siga la Vaca, a restaurant in Puerto Madero, but when we arrived just before three, the line for a table was out the door. We decided to look for another parrilla and eventually succeeded in finding El Potrillo after a rather long walk along the river. It was worth it though, the food was incredible.
After that, we had to hurry to get Luis back to his hotel in time to get to the airport (though we shouldn’t have bothered rushing, he was flying Aerolineas Argentinas so the flight was delayed). After saying goodbye, Craig and I headed to Kaixo hostel, where we stayed last time we were in Buenos Aires. Apart from heading out for dinner, we basically just spent the evening in, relaxing and getting a bit of work done.
Next week, we start Spanish lessons at Expanish. We’re planning to find somewhere cheaper to stay, hopefully a double room near the school.