Wednesday, February 23, 2011

To Santiago..... and beyond!!!!

So after an 18 hour bus ride back to Buenos Aires, a few days there, and a 3 hour boat trip, I am back in Montevideo.  I leave for Santiago tomorrow morning.

It is overcast and cool, which is quite a contrast to what the weather was like when I was here last week.  It has left me with the perfect time to blog.

How have the last 3 days or so been?  To be honest, not as exciting as I would have hoped.  While in Buenos Aires I almost got robbed a few times near the Retiro bus station.  I found one of my bags at my side halfway open, but I had nothing of value in them.  Another time someone had spilled some type of white cream on my shoulder and bag and was trying to help me clean it up.  Yet another time someone kept calling for my attention incessantly in English, saying "Excuse me! Excuse me!"  From their voice they weren't a native speaker, so I just ignored them and kept on going.  This combined with previous stories of people telling me of getting robbed as well as to expect to get robbed there did not exactly give me the most favorable impression of the city.

I also learned an important lesson for my next trip there: don't expect places to accept credit cards.  None of the tour companies accept them, and I was hard pressed to find reasonably priced restaurants (besides McDonalds) that would accept them.  I also didn't bring my bank card with me, so my options for exploring were pretty limited.

I made the best of it and explored different areas of Buenos Aires during the day.  The parks in the Palermo area were beautiful, and there were some really nice cafes.  The downtown area was a pedestrian area, and there were plenty of shops and places to eat.  I wanted to catch a movie, but none of them interested me.  (I'm waiting for Gnomeo and Juliet to come out here)

Regardless of the country, American culture still permeates South America.  I can watch The Big Bang Theory dubbed on TV.  In stores you hear songs like "Summer Nights" by Grease and the Black Eyed Peas remake of "Time of My Life".  Nike and New Balance are popular clothing brands, and McDonalds and Burger King can be found in droves in any major city here.  There are even posters up in the metro advertising The Emmy Awards this weekend.  (I wouldn't have known otherwise.)

Despite the less than stellar time, am I glad I came to Buenos Aires?  Yes.  The impression from what I've seen of it is that it is less developed than Santiago and I also felt less safe.  I have a new found appreciation for how comfortable I feel in Chile.  Will I return to Buenos Aires?  Maybe, maybe not.

I'm looking forward to returning to Santiago, getting ready to return to work, and preparing to move into a new apartment.  Details on the new place will be up once everything is finalized on Friday.

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