Thursday, August 13, 2009

South America 2009 - Day 7 (8/13/2009) - Iguazú to Buenos Aires

After a couple of hot ham and cheese sandwiches (each) for breakfast, we checked out of the hostel and departed around 10:15. The plan was to take the bus to Iguazú, then take a taxi to to Argentine airport to catch our 1:50 flight. Things did not start out well, as we missed the first bus to Argentina that passed by because we were not paying attention. We tried to wave down the next one, but the driver seemed to ignore us and did not stop. We finally boarded a bus a little after 11:00 and took it to the Brazilian side of the border, where we had to get exit stamps in our passports. Since the bus went on ahead without us, we had to wait for the next one to come pick us up - and even then, we were not sure if it would wait for us at the Argentine side of the border, as the one the day before had.

While we were waiting a taxi driver approached us and offered us a ride to the airport for "60" - we assumed this was in pesos, and made the mistake of not asking. We accepted, and he drove us there, with a stop at the Argentine border. At first, we were surprised at how easy it seemed to get into the country (especially after the lack of any real check the day before), but we were a little reassured when the border police called us aside and x-rayed our bags (and even had us open our smaller backpacks). After we arrived at the airport, we found out that the taxi driver had meant (or at least said he had meant) 60 in Reais. Since we only had Pesos, we gave him A$120, as the exchange rate was approximately double. We then checked in for our flight and took it to Buenos Aires.

After arriving in Buenos Aires (Aeroparque), we attemped to follow the directions provided by the hostel and take the #37 bus to the city. When we tried to board the bus, the driver informed us that the buses only accept coins (the smallest denomination we had was a A$5 bill), and that we should take a different bus (#33 or #45). Luckily, a kind lady at the bus stop provided us with change for our bill and told us that either of the buses would take us where we needed to go. We took the #33 and eventually made it to Avenida de Mayo, about half a mile from our hostel. During the walk, we observed that the weather in Buenos Aires was a little closer to what we would expect from winter - it hovered around 55 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit that afternoon/evening, and the occasional breeze definitely brought a chill.

After checking into the Hostel Estoril, we headed out for a walk down Avenida de Mayo. We walked to the National Congress at the nearby end, then down to the Casa Rosada at the far end. Meanwhile, we looked for a restaurant where we could have some Argentine steak, but had no luck - all the restaurants seemed to be pizzerias. We then headed north away from Mayo, and eventually found a few non-pizzerias (and a football jersey store). We were a little apprehensive, as the restaurants all seemed to be empty even at 8:00 (Argentineans dine very late), but we settled on one anyway because we were hungry. We both had the tenderloin steak, which turned out to be alright but did not live up to the hype that we had been hearing (so we resolved to try an Argentine filet mignon). After eating we headed back to the hostel on foot.

I only took 5 pictures today, and they are not worthy of a separate gallery.

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