Buenos Aires was the gateway to my first South American trip. Auckland has direct flights to Buenos Aires, and the added bonus was that the tour I did started from this city. Initially, I had planned on arriving on the day the tour met for the first time, as we weren’t scheduled to meet till about 6pm. Given the flight was going to land at 5.30pm, I thought this was perhaps cutting it fine, and decided to fly in the day before. Be kind to yourself and do the same, because #JetLagGameStrong.
G Adventures usually suggests adding pre/post nights in their starting and ending cities and in my case, I did both at Buenos Aires and I’m glad I did. I flew in the day before the tour met, which gave me that evening, and all of the next day till about 6.30pm. Following that, once the tour ended, I flew back to Buenos Aires on an afternoon flight getting me in around 5.30pm, and had that evening and the full day the next day, and by default the day after as my flight back to Auckland wasn’t till midnight.
Once I landed at Buenos Aires, it was quite smooth to go through customs etc. and make my way out. I went to the taxi stand, and started talking to the staff requesting a taxi. I walked to the taxi and tried to explain which hotel I was going to, and to my surprise at this point of time, they really struggled to speak in English. I knew they speak in Spanish, but for whatever reason, I never felt that language would be a barrier. Perhaps, because of the fact I was in South America, and America had been embedded in my head, and I overlooked the ‘South’. Telling him the name of the hotel didn’t help as he just wasn’t able to comprehend what I was telling him, and so I took out my print out of the hotel reservation and showed it to him. The reason he couldn’t understand was because he was pronouncing the English words in the same way he would in Spanish. For example I said Park Royal Buenos Aires, whilst he said Park Ro-jal (pronouncing the J).
As he drove through the motorway, I couldn’t help it but feel like I was in Delhi. Driving home, and my eyes eagerly awaiting the sight of the black gates, that would lead us to my home. Maybe, it was the layout of the city, or maybe the way they drive, or maybe even the buildings to the side, but I felt like I had just arrived in Delhi and was making my way home. I had to keep fighting the urge as I knew I wasn’t going home. I felt kind of sad, I’ve never really grown up in India, and don’t have the strong relationships with family and friends that my family have. I don’t think I could ever go to Delhi alone.
We kept driving, and he kept trying to help and point out attractions in his city. However, it was dark and it was raining and I was trying to listen out for the keywords that I remembered from the time I learnt Spanish in high school. To be very honest, I felt like I had made a mistake in coming on this trip. I just wanted to turn around and go back. I had been very anxious in the lead up to the trip and had mentally prepared to expect the worst. There were a lot of factors in this, and I could see this playing a major role in me appreciating being in Buenos Aires on this first night.
The traffic and road layout was so different and the way they drive, whilst they are used to it, I’m not. I was being dramatic, and kept thinking to myself that I didn’t want to die on my first night here. It took an hour and 45-minutes to get to the hotel, and after freshening up, I went down the road for dinner. This hotel was in what I would call an alleyway, and walking down a dark alleyway in an unknown country is never great. But it’s all in your mind, right? You train your mind to not think that anything bad is going to happen and act casual. I made it down to the restaurant, had dinner and made my way back.
The next day, the miserable weather continued, and so I decided to cancel the plans I had, and went to the nearby mall. I had not slept all night because of jet lag, and was feeling very irritable. I just wanted to be in the hotel, but at the same time not be there. I will not lie, I was regretting having a lot of extra time in Buenos Aires on the way back. I finally met the tour group later that evening and from the next day we set off.
When I got back to Buenos Aires, my entire perspective had changed. Maybe the beautiful experiences along the tour played a role in that, or maybe the laughs with the group and the friendships formed, I don’t know. In fact, I got to Buenos Aires, and just did not want to get back on a plane to come home. The remaining days in Buenos Aires, were surreal. Exploring the colourful neighbourhood of Caminito in La Boca, or seeing the architecture in the city. Each building looks like it once was a palace or a building with some significance, but in reality it’s just apartment buildings in this day and age, and let me tell you, I wouldn’t mind living in an apartment that was in one of those buildings. I met some of the nicest people, who whilst they struggled to talk in English, they really did try and went out of their way to make sure I had a great time. Let’s be real, where else can I see hot men dancing the Tango if not in Argentina?
Buenos Aires is a great city, but if you are travelling from Auckland, give yourself a full day to recover from jet lag or at least get to a point where you can easily walk around and not feel tired. You are sure to have a good experience.
Until next time,