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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Argentina - 25 January, 2002

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Aero Club Gonzales Chaves, Otto Ballod S3801.737' W06007.589' 197 m
Finish Majestic Hotel, Buenos Aires S3437.076' W05822.245' 18 m 460 km

Leg 2 Total:

8,670 km

Leg 1 Total:

9,010 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

18,341 km

 

Weather: Clear, sunny and very hot.  Rain at night.

 

 

Argentina02_BA_Enroute_Truck_Vodka_C253_Web.jpg (80623 bytes)

Today we complete our long drive north to Buenos Aires.  We have an early start as we want to get to the city as soon as possible.  We have breakfast and pack up the truck and are off just after 7 AM.  We have a quick stop for lunch on the way, but pretty much just push on.  The highlight of the ride is the vodka jelly.  We had made some for last night's gala performance, but as everyone was too tired, it went uneaten.  So we needed to consume it before we got to BA.  Some tried to resist, but resistance is futile.

 

We arrive into the city just before 2 PM.  A bunch of us jump off as we need to apply for our Brazil visas.  We have limited information on the opening hours and it normally takes two days, so we need to apply today and try to pick it up on Monday.  We grab a taxi and head off to the embassy, which is a short drive away.  Our first impression of the city is favorable.  Wide boulevards lined with trees and impressive, but not too large, buildings.

 

We get to the embassy only to be disappointed.  It is closed for visa application and we have to come back on Monday to apply.  This could cause major problems as the truck is leaving Tuesday morning.  The lady at the reception is not very helpful.  It takes some doing to get some forms out of her and she would not even tell us how much the visas cost.  Well, it is back to the hotel to meet up with the others.

 

We check into the hotel (after a change of room - the first one was way too hot and the fan barely stirred the air) and sort out our stuff.  Then we hit the streets.  Top priority - changing money.  It is Friday afternoon and we have a weekend in BA, so we need to have some money to spend.  Also, it is unclear what will be open and when given the current financial crisis.  We check out a couple of exchange places, but they did not have good rates.

 

We decide to head up to American Express to see what they can offer.  We also want to see if they can exchange some of our Amex TCs for cash.  We take a taxi up there and we are pleased to see that they are still open and will exchange our TCs into local currency (but not US dollars cash).  They offer an exchange rate of 1.70, not the best, but better than the official rates of 1.40.  We change up quite a bit.

 

Then we decide to walk back to the hotel and we are very glad that we did.  We pass by the Teatro Colon and we notice that the guided tours will be cancelled on Monday and Tuesday, so we go for the tour right then.  Colon Theater was opened in 1908 and is rated as one of the top 5 opera houses in the world (and just about the best for acoustics), or so we were told by our sweet guide.  It is an impressive place and much of the original, grandiose fixtures are still in place.  Everything used to build the place was imported from Europe and was meant to rival the best opera houses in the world.  There are carvings all over the place, huge grand stair cases, gold gilding, velvet curtains, gigantic chandeliers, ceiling paintings, etc.  We just wish we could have seen a performance there (it is closed for the summer).

 

On the way back to the hotel we wander the streets, have some ice cream and stop off in a cafe for a quick drink.  We also buy some supplies (such as water) for the weekend.  We get lost (thanks to faulty information in the guide books) - next time we will pay more attention to our surroundings when we leave the hotel.  With some help from Jim (who we ran into), we find the hotel.  Back in our room, we turn on the TV, only to see live coverage of the various demonstrations going on in the city.  And we are about to head out for dinner!!!

 

Around 9 PM we head out for dinner.  The streets are deserted, so we take a taxi.  We are looking for a steak place.  After some false stops, we find the place.  We have to walk the streets for a while and we notice all the policemen.  They are on every street corner.  It is comforting (they also helped us find our restaurant).  The restaurant is only about a third full - we are a bit early.  We have a good meal, and have a chat with some of our co-travelers (Melissa, Tessa and Sarah) that show up at the restaurant when we are half way through our meal.

 

We have the restaurant order us a taxi to take us back to our hotel.  The streets are still deserted and we make sure that we are dropped off right in front of our hotel.

 

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