Phew long day.
So I woke up this morning, in my new hostel, called Ritz hostel on the corner of 9 de Mayo and Avendida 9 de Julio. I got a bed right by the door to the balcony. The traffic was so loud since we were on the corner of 2 main roads. I nodded in and out between like 6 and eventually got up at 10 am, felt pretty groggy.
When I woke up my new friend Jose I just met was gone, he had gone to the embassy to get a new passport. So I kinda bummed around and felt alone again, the people there weren’t very friendly, they came in a big group and didn’t seem interested in meeting anyone. Then there were a couple older couples.
So my plan for this morning was to figure out what to do next, I was pretty much done with being in Buenos Aires. So I started searching online for ferries to Montevideo, Uruguay. Montevideo looked like it was on the way to Iguazu falls, my next destination. However, I was informed that on the busses from Montevideo to Iguazu falls you have to do a bunch of transfers and its easier to come back to Buenos and catch an overnight bus from there (16 hours).
The website was in Spanish, and I didn’t really know what I was doing about Uruguay. I went to the front desk and they offered some help, but not enough. I was trying to figure out what to do with myself.
I had been intending to do the city bike tour, so feeling discouraged I decided I would look into Uruguay later and deal with the bike tour for now. I asked the front desk at Ritz and they said that the bike tour was 200 Pesos ($50 US). After deciding that the new hostel sucked, and reluctant to do a bike tour with the people there, I headed back to the Millhouse where everyone was friendly. The Millhouse said the bike tour was 100 Pesos so it was a no brainer. I signed up, and also asked them about Uruguay. They sent me to a travel agency next door.
I was feeling a lot better about things, had already met a couple people going on the tour. The travel agency gave me some good information, and told me that there was a new bus line (El Condor- La Estrella) that left at 11pm tonight that would bring me straight to Punta del Este non stop.This was awesome because I really didn’t want to deal with a ferry to Montevideo, probably have to kill a day in that city, then a bus to Punta del Este, then do it all in reverse. Instead, I get to sleep on the bus (9 hours) and go straight to my destination.
I heard/read about Punta del Este and basically it is a nice beach/party area. So I am just going to chill out there. Pretty pumped to be in a new area and feeling pretty confident about this whole travelling alone thing. Although it is so much better to have someone else with you, it makes you feel much more secure (and in reality, I am sure you are).
The bike tour started at 2, and I was really glad I did it. After the tour guide made sure we all had our bags around our handle bars so people couldn’t grab them, we were on our way.
There was some interesting information, like that Avendida 9 de Julio is the widest road in the world (its probably 25+ lanes wide).
(crossing avendia 9 de Julio)
We saw the newest area of the city Puerto Madero which every building is 10 years old or newer. It is also the most expensive area of the city, the guide said rent can be 7-8k USD per month! We also went to La Boca, a touristy destination with really colorful buildings and shopping.
I would like to head back there at some point. It gave me a better idea of the city, it is definately nicer overall than Lima but we rode through some sketchy areas as well, abandoned vehicles left on the side of the road with windows missing, trash everywhere, etc. We had to cross some major intersections on these ghetto ass bikes there must be a good amount of accidents on those tours.
I had to leave the tour and run to the travel agency to grab my tickets before they closed at 7, and I just made it.
I went back to my hostel, and Jose was there. Turns out he has to leave the country on Monday, so we made plans that upon my return to Buenos I will ride up with him to Iguazu. It will be good to have someone to travel with (especially since he is fluent in Spanish).
I met up with a few other people in the hostel, and we were going to go out to eat, but I had to get ready for the bus. I packed very carefully and thoroughly, I was nervous about the bus station and finding my bus.
I left them and went and ate at this awesome pizza place I ate at with Jose yesterday by the McDonalds off of 9 de Julio called Gran Pizzeria Del Ray. I brought some extra for the bus ride. It would be much quicker than sit down and happy hour beers.
I had no problem catching a taxi and getting myself to the station. I practiced some spanish with the driver, he was going on about whores or something the whole time.
When I got to the station, I realized I only had a 100 Peso note and the driver didn’t have change for the 30 Peso drive. I told him to please wait and I went in to get change. No one one wanted to give me change because they thought it was fake. Finally I got a vendor to give me change thanked and tipped the driver for waiting then proceeded to try to figure out this maze of a bus station.
The place was enormous, and I was definately nervous. I definately do not agree that my Spanish is an 5 or 7 out of 10 those girls must have just been drunk. I kinda managed to read my printed ticket and found the counter, who sent me to another counter. They scribbled some shit on my paper, they were not very patient with my poor excuse for Spanish I was trying to spit out. I found the terminal for my bus, loaded up my luggage, and with some trouble found my seat. I immediately felt relieved, secure, and no longer vulnerable for the time being.
The station wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, I mean besides the stray dogs running around the station and some trash, it wasn’t too bad. Seemed pretty organized. I was pretty proud of myself that I recognize the announcement that my bus had changed gates from 67 to 68.
I am sitting right now, pretty souped that I got the best seat on the bus! its a double decker bus, they have “camas” (beds) that fully recline. I got a full dinner on the bus. I am in the top right corner with full views in front of me. They are the same types of busses I rode around in Peru so I am pretty familiar with it.
So… 9 hour ride.. got my mp3 player fixed so souped about that as well. Got my hostel booked in Punta del Este. Feeling pretty good right now, feel a lot more at ease now, got my “home” for the next 9 hours. Only question now is crossing the border, I don’t know how that is going to work.