Buenos Aires 2011 – Day 2

Buenos Aires 2011 - Day 2  5 Our first official full day in Buenos Aires actually begun.

Russ had to be up early and at his Spanish school Coined, by 8am and I went along for the trip. While he was in getting assessed on his Spanish skills I sat around the lounge area and surfed the net for a bit and tried to plan my day. When Russ finally got out and had time to spare we headed to the coffee shop across the school for a much needed coffee.

It was great to just sit there and just watch people hurry along on their way to work. Buenos Aires is a huge city, very metropolitan, and everyone is busy trying to make their living, but are very laid back and willing to just talk with someone along the way. It’s very refreshing to see.

When Russ headed back into class, as his afternoon is fairly booked, I headed out to explore and get a SIM card for our phone. I went to several locations, Movistar and Claro, but no one seemed to be able to sell me a SIM card. I thought it was very odd. I even went to one of the Claro’s main stores and they told me to go to another store up the street, where they of course told me they didn’t sell them. I was beginning to think that no one wanted my money.

As I walked along the street I saw a convenience store that was advertising pay as you go cards, when I asked the clerk if they sold the SIM cards, she was quick to say yes. WOW score! She asked me which provider I wanted to try out and since I’ve heard that Movistar was great for data, I tried one of their chip. Alas I wasn’t able to get a signal from them. Actually even on roaming the Movistar signal is poor in my area of Buenos Aires, so I opted to try out a Claro SIM. That worked perfectly and it only cost me $10 pesos (about $3.50 CDN). I then purchased a $50 peso pay card and now we are hooked up with a cell phone that works here. I’m not sure how long it will last at the rate since we are charged per call and internet use. Time will tell ๐Ÿ™‚

I met up with Russ at the end of his classes and we just relaxed for a bit before heading back out on the streets to check the sites out. We are close to two main pedestrian streets – Florida and Lavalle, which a night time spring to life with merchants selling everything. It’s also fun to walk along these streets as you get to see some great street performers do their best to have you part withย  your money ๐Ÿ™‚

We were fortunate enough to see a quick tango show which I thought was interesting. After the male/female pair finished, the two male dancers began their very own tango. I have heard that the tango began with men dancing together, but have never seen it before in action. It was fun to see and the audience really got enjoy a great free tango show.

Buenos Aires 2011 – Day 1

So we finally made it here to Buenos Aires.

I have to admit I was starting to get my doubts while we were in Toronto waiting for our flight. Our initial flight was to leave at 11:45pm local time, but then they pushed it to 12:30 and then 1:00. Supposedly there was a “maintenance issue” with the plane that needed to be dealt with. My sister was working on a plane next to ours (yeah she works for the airlines) and she was able to tell me that the plane had some washroom problems. Needless to say her rendition of the event was far more entertaining.

At any rate, we finally boarded our plane and pretty much sat there while they loaded the plane. You see they hadn’t even loaded the plane since they were working on the bathroom. The flight attendents were great enough to let us know what the true issue was and they had a few options:

  1. Fly without the use of all the bathrooms on the right side of the plane
  2. Wait 2 – 3 more hours while the changed a plane
  3. Cancel the flight all together

I for one wasn’t looking forward to option 3, and option 2 would still get us there, but much later than I would have liked.

At any rate, they opted for option 1, but we still had to wait while they loaded the plane and then had to deal with another plane behind us. We ended up leaving 2 hours after our scheduled flight.

The flight down wasn’t that eventful and fairly comfortable. I managed to get some sleep on the plane and the neck cushion I purchased before the flight was awesome. No neck pain at all today.

We landed in Santiago Chile and had to disembark the plane as they cleaned it up and loaded it with newer passengers. What would have taken 1 1/2 hours initially, we only took 1 hour to make up for the lost time.

Chile Airport

Finally making it to Buenos Aires 2 hours after our scheduled landing, the process was fairly quick. I was traveling with my Canadian Passport, but since it lists me as being from Argentina on it, I didn’t have to pay the $75 Visa fee that Russ did. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have to pay. That said, there were a few passengers that were surprised they had to pay. So be warned Canadians, you have two options; pay a one time fee of $75US or pay $150US to allow you entry into Argentina for the next 5 years.

We rented a Remise, which is a personal taxi service that takes you door to door and met at our rented apartment for the next three weeks. Little to my knowledge we waited outside for over 1/2 hour and when I finally was able to get a cellular signal, I called our rentor to find out they were waiting in the apartment and all I had to do was buzz them in.

Our Buenos Aires View

The apartment is tiny, but for what it is and what it will do, it will be just fine. We have a very small working kitchen, a table, a bed and a bathroom. Perfect I would say.

Now tomorrow Russ begins his Spanish classes and I will start to explore the city further and hopefully meet up with the other Vancouverites who are in the city now as well as go visit my family if I can make it out at one point this week.

I haven’t gone out and take pictures yet, except for my those through my iPhone, but I hope to rectify this fairly soon.

Buenos Aires – One More Month and Counting!

Buenos_Aires_ 014 I’m getting excited again. Yup after a hard month of November, I’m actually starting to get excited about being in Buenos Aires Argentina next month. And officially it’s only a month today that we will be landing in Buenos Aires.

This will be a different trip from my previous trips there. This time around I think it will be less family time and more exploring time. We have a few mini trips planned when we are there and hopefully we’ll be able to accomplish most of them.

Russ will be busy with his Spanish classes during the first 2 weeks, and I will probably explore the city, with my camera in hand. The city is full of history and amazing architecture and I want to document as much as I can without feeling like I’m working :). Of course I’ll be be blogging away about my excursions and hopefully, hopefully have my posts on some different blogs (working on some details there).

At any rate it will be a well deserved vacation. I’m hoping to of course see some family while I’m there and reconnect with them.

This year has been filled with ups and downs, but so far is ending better than I had thought a month back.

Buenos Aires Condo

Suipacha Studio I

With less than 3 months away before the big trip back to Buenos Aires Argentina, this week we finally got our condo booked. Thanks to my dad, who was down there, and has some connections, he was able to look at the condo and put the deposit down for us on a studio condo. I couldn’t argue the price of only $560 for the 2 weeks we plan to be there.

Alas we are not staying in the heart of Ricoleta or Palermo SOHO as we had hoped, but we are staying in the Centro where Russ will only be 3 blocks away from his school and we’ll be one block away from the famous Obelisk that towers over the main 9 de Julio Ave. I think this location will be a great point for us as we explore the wonderful city of Buenos Aires and make it our home base.

Now of course I’ll have to try to figure out what I’ll be doing during the hours that Russ is busy with his language schooling. Hopefully I’ll be able to hook up with Duane who will be in the city for a few months, otherwise I might just take the train and visit my aunts at their home during the day.

All in all I’m starting to get really excited about this trip. This will be one of the longest visits for me to Argentina in sometime.

Buenos Aires Here I Come

Buenos_Aires_ 014 Ok so I’m not going right this second, but Russ and I are about 3/4 booked for our Buenos Aires holiday this coming January. All we are missing at this point are confirmations on our condo.

Yeah, I do have family down there, but this time around, Russ is taking Spanish courses that will require us to be in the heart of the downtown of Buenos Aires and alas my family doesn’t live in the downtown core. I think this will give us a great indication on how condos are there since we are looking at the possibility of buying our own piece of Argentine condo market before the prices go sky high.

Since Russ’ classes will be for 2 weeks, we plan on staying an extra week after that to spend with my family and explore other areas. Hopefully we plan on taking the ferry across the bay and going into Uruguay for a day or two.

I’m getting excited about heading down there again and enjoying some more of my heritage and exploring new areas of the city I didn’t get a chance to on our last trip a couple of years ago.