Friday, December 2

What A Day In Buenos Aires

Great adventure awaits us on November 30 on the streets of Buenos Aires. The night before we already discuss what we need to do for the day,  start our day with the free breakfast in the hostel, go to the bus terminal to check the ticket for Mendoza, change US dollar to Argentinian peso, go to the Central Argentine Embassy, have lunch with Ambassador Rey Carandang, the Philippine Ambassador to almost all South American countries.

It was a great plan and it ended  almost all happened plus sight seeing on the side. We eat breakfast, eat as many croissant as we can, take advantage of it being free and free flowing coffee. Had a minor chat with Mauro, my room mate who has been traveling for several months now, Ramon and Zenon discuss with him few  things about South American travel tips after which with all our things already packed, we leave all of it at the storage of the hostel then leave for the bus terminal to buy ticket. Walking on the streets of Buenos Aires from our hostel, I am with so much  awe  and amazement. The buildings are tall, architecture is fabulous and great, the streets are wide, there are vehicles yet its not crowded.  There are also tourists like us walking on the streets. And as always, we are very mindful of our personal belongings, Buenos Aires is also known for not so good people who will take advantage of tourist looking people like us. But on my mind I feel more scared walking on the busy streets of Quiapo than here. The sun is up but it's not hot and not humid.

Our main objective is to reach Retiro Bus Terminal, with city map at hand we walk the long stretch of streets, follow directions. We reach first the main building with  the central train terminal of the city. All the people who travel to and from the city who uses train as transportation alight on this station. We notice people walking from this building every several minutes. The station is huge and the station guards allow us to enter to take some photos inside. After taking few pictures, we left to Retiro Omnibus Terminal, just few meters away from the train station. Retiro bus terminal is the central bus terminal to all provincial trips from Buenos Aires. It's a huge place with so many people both tourists and locals. We inquire the cost of ticket going to Mendoza and time of travel, but because we do not have enough Argentinian Peso yet we decided to go out and look for the nearest money changer, the bank. The nearest is the bank right inside the Sheraton Hotel. I changed USD1,300.00 enough amount for me to spend up to the end of climb. But because the bank went off line, we decided to use my peso while Zea and Mondy will have their money changed yet. We pass by the tourist desk of the hotel  for the two to inquire about visa before we head back to Retiro Bus Terminal.

After getting our tickets we proceed to Marriot BA at Florida to meet Ambassador  Rey Carandang for the lunch meeting. He is with his cousin Tita Chitas. Both of them are cool persons. They brought us to one of the local restaurant in town, and order soooo many food. Tita Chitas is bubbly and so full of life. She ordered so many food especially for us, milanesa, its a breaded beef and so many bread. Luis arrive in a while and join us. There are six of us eating the so much food. We tried to finish as much as we can over so many stories by Tito Rey and Tita Chitas. I admire them both, and I am glad I met Tito Rey, he is a man with so much wisdom, he has been to so many places in the world but I salute him for he loves so much being a Filipino. His views in life made me think and re-assess my views in life as well. I am really grateful and thankful that I got a chance to meet and have a real talk with them.

After our lunch, just when I  thought we will just be left to go on our own, Tita Chitas tour us around Buenos Aires. We first finish the long stretch of Florida street which we drop by the electronic shop to by a local sim card. After which we walk again heading towards the Tango House, Tita Chitas love tango so much and she wants to show the place to us. Then we went to Obelisco, then she decided to bring us to La Boca. This is a place where first Italian migrants who enter Buenos Aires by boat settled. They are poor but made their house really beautiful by painting it with different colors. Now this place has been transformed into a tourist attraction retaining it's original color and style.

We head back to Tita Chitas place by bus for Mondy needs to change his dollar, the super mercado owner will give a better exchange rate. But because it was getting into the rush hour, what was suppose to be a less than an hour bus ride becomes longer, we need to hurry for we do not want to miss our bus trip to Mendoza. We decided to get a cab on our suppose to be bus transfer then had another cab going back to Hostel Colonial, get our heavy bags then rush to the omnibus terminal. We are still on time and we manage to catch up our bus trip.

Facts and Tips:
Andesmar Bus from Buenos Aires to Mendoza - $378.00AR (PhP3,780.00)
Semi Cama with food
15 hour bus ride with stops
If you have big luggage that needs to be put on the storage compartment, prepare some small bills for the tip. The bagger man will ask for tip up front and will not accept smaller bills. We gave $10.00 (Php100.00)
It's best to choose a seat in the upper deck if possible the front seats. You will get a better view of the places that the bus passes by.
Bring other food even if the bus will serve food, sometimes food is served late making me too hungry.
Bring drinks like water and juice as well.
The bus gets cold so bring out your jackets.

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