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Travel- Diary Updates, 30th November - 11th December ´03´
Sunday 30th November 2003
I arrive at Buenos Aires Airport in Argentina on a Baking hot day after 19 hours of flying! I was fortunate enough to have my friends come and collect me and take me back to their house in La Plate which is one hours drive to the east of the capital. The rest of the day was spent settling in, and catching up with some sleep.
Monday 1st December 2003
Today we took a trip to the center of town to change my Dollar travellers cheques. This proved very difficult as no bank would change my VISA cheques, in the end found a little CAMBIO place where the rate wasn't that good but gave me my first Pesos. For me everything is quite cheep here, about 4-5 times cheeper than at home. For example this is costing me 3 pesos for 1 hour, (5 Pesos= 1 pound)and Silvi my friend says that this is more expensive.
I have discovered that my mobile telephone is not going to work here, as i get no signal. This could be a problem for when I head in to the mountains.
In the evening I went with my friends to Bingo in spanish! This was difficult as I speak almost no spanish, and to no surprise I didn't win anything. It was great fun though.
Tuesday 2nd December 2003
Still waking up late from the Jetlag and the very late nights they have. Today went into town to look at the cost of flights to other parts of Argentina, Uruguay and inparticular Mendoza where the mountain is.
In the Evening I ate at Loreley's house, my other friend who I met at the Jamboree. She has 9 brothers and sisters.
Wednesday 3rd December 2003
Today we stayed at the house, and took some time to think about my plans for when I am here in Argentina. I cooked my first meal here for everyone. My special spagetti Boloniase which was very much enjoyed. In the evening I went to my first party with Loreley. It was a school graduation party which was at the rugby club, I didn't mention about our Champions of the World. We ended leaving early, 4am, after a lot of dancing because Loreley had an exam the next day! The Argentina people seem to live by the night. I was also surprised to see the poor quality of the cars here. Safety is not an issue, with 10% of the cars driving at night with no lights on. But here that is no problem. You see the police driving round town, but that is all they seem to do!
Thursday 4th December 2003
Today was a lazy day after the party. I didn't wake till 12 o'clock, and during the day helped do some cooking in the kitchen. We made a chocolate and peacan cake, and also a lemon marangue pie which was lovely. I also watched Silvis mum make fresh pasta for a lasagne she was making, so one day i hope to give it a go. So Mum maybe I will be able to cook when I get back! In the afternoon I went to a party at the English school that my friend goes too. I spoke to the students about all random stuff and was impressed by their standard considering they have never spoken to another English speaking person before.
Friday 5th December 2003
Ok, this day was spent typing up some stuff on this web page. Travelled into La Plata on the bus again (30mins) to sort out tickets to various other destinations in Argentina. In the end borght an air ticket to the beautiful waterfalls in the north of Argentina on the border between Brasil, Paraguay, and Argentina. I will try and find a link so you can see on the internet. They do look very nice.
After went shopping with the girls in La Plata and ate a lot of Icecream, which is very nice here and cheap. costing 90p for one quarter of a Kilo. I have eaten so much I think I have made myself a bit sick from it!
In the evening went to see a friend play in a band in a rock bar and played pool, where I lost my first game because I didn't pot the black in the same pocket as the last ball i potted! Strange rules here.
Saturday 6th December 2003
Today, saturday, is Scouting day in Argentina where they meet up for about 6 hours and do scouting stuff. This day they went to the "Institution for the Children" which is a huge park designed for children, with a scaled down town for the size of children. There was much entertainment and activities happening within these buildings. The reason for this visit was to celebrate the Birthday of the Guide groupe, 50 years. My friends help out with the little ones at these meetings who really enjoyed themselves on this hot day. There was also a giant puppet show, and much singing from the Scouts and Guides.
In the evening I watched the film "Alive" for the 3rd, you know the one when the plane crashes in the Argentine Andes with the Argentine Rugby team on board and they survive for 90 odd days by eating the dead.
Sunday 7th December 2003
Went to the park with Silvina and her boyfriend, drank a lot of Mate(Ma-tee) which is their native tea like drink they have here which they drink out of a funny cup and a metal straw. After a while you grow to like it. In the evening had my first BBQ here. The Beef here is among the best in the world and they love to eat it. In the Gargen at the house they have a big BBQ, where they cook a lot of the cow, including its intestines which I cant describe the taste of, but is quite grissly. After watched a film in English with Spanis Subtitles, the one with the guy in a Phonebox for the whole film, not sure of the name. Sounds boring but was very good. Costs 80pence to hire a video here. After Went to Bingo again with Silvi and her father for about an hour, this time it was very busy and fast and could just keep up. In the end the best I could do was 3 nembers remaining in 3 consecative games. It was very very smokey and I did suffer the next day with saw eyes.
Monday 8th December 2003
BANK HOLIDAY in Argentina. Mary's Dayday, a day for sorting out christmas decorations and dressing the christmas tree. After went to Buenos Aires on the Train (1 and half hours) where speaking english is not a very safe option. Wend to the shopping Mal for more shopping with the girls. Had my first McDonalds. Concern is mounting among the girls and parents at the amount of icecream I am eating, I love it. They keep saying that I will go back to England Very Very Fat!! I dont think so.
In Buenos Aires I also enquired about a mobile phone and costs. Cheepest one is about 160 Pesos(40 pounds), and I asked If buying a new chip would be a solution to my problem. They could not believe that I had one of the Nokia Video phones which have only just been reliced here in Argentina but has already been discontinued in England. The Mobile Sim chip system has only just been introduced in the last month, with little coverage over Argentina. They all have bricks with the sim kind of intergrated into the battery pack.
Tuesday 9th December 2003
Emmmmm..... Cant remember at the moment, will write later. I think in the evening I went to Loreleys house to eat again, which was very nice.
Wednesday 10th December 2003
In the day stayed around the house as Silvina had meetings with the other guides to organise their camp in January when I am in Mendoza. In the evening cooked as close as I could an English Cooked Breakfast (fry up) for my friends.
Silvi was very interested to see all the climbing equipment I have bourght with me I will take to Aconcagua. Also Discovered that my GPS isn't picking up Satalites here in La Plata! does surprise me, but will take it with me to the waterfalls for another test.
Thursday 11th December 2003
Today! I come to the internet cafe to catch up with E-mails and write more for my page. Before went into La Plata again for the 3rd time to sort out tickets for my trip the the Waterfalls tomorrow. Would not believe how much slow and behind time they opperate here. It is not as simple as going into the travel agents and booking a trip. You have to leave a deposit, they then send by post various documents to the hotel who then send back conformation and vouchers etc. Then you pay the rest of the money, but not by credit card, by cash only! but it is ok to pay for the flight only by credit card which is done by one of those old thingy machines that takes a print of your card. so the whole thing takes a very long long time, with many phone calls and many hours have been spent sitting by the desk in the travel agents. It is not helpped by the fact that I am organising many trips at the same time.
After went shopping with Silvi and I bought 5 new T-Shirts, new jeans and jean shorts. All very nice and fasionable here. The guy in the shop could not believe it when I said that I will take them all, can I pay now! The total was 203 Pesos which is 40 pounds. As I said very cheap here. Silvina is now a lot more happy to walk with me in the street when I am wearing my new cloths :o) The cloths I bourght were all old, and ones I can wear on the mountain and throw away after to save weight on the flight out.
Also Today Booked my ticket on a Lux bus to MENDOZA on the other side of Argentina which is where Aconcagua is. The journey will take 18 hours on the 2nd Jan and will give me the oppertunity to see a bit of the country. Cost was 75 Pesos with food included (18 pounds).
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