“It’s your year, Juliette!” Yep, I’m a 🐖.
In Buenos Aires, last Sunday, after strolling down Calle Defensa through the San Telmo weekly…
Mendoza and I are not compatible. If the Argentinian city was a person, I’d probably have one of these quick, embarrassing chats with him, where I’d resort to overused lines, like “look, it’s not you, it’s me,” “you’re nice, but…” and “we can still be friends, right?”
Why Mendoza? Because it’s across the country, on the east side of the Andes, close to Chile. Because I found a cheap hotel. Because I found a great plane ticket that saves me a 1,000-kilometre bus trip across the country.
At one point, you just have to take a chance and hope for the best—and most of the time, you’ll get into the story and forget other options even existed.
I was lucky in Buenos Aires, so lucky that I extended my stay—I was only going to be there for four nights, initially. But hey, when everything works out fine, why not enjoy it?
The Escuela Superior De Mecánica De La Armada – From a Symbol of State Terror to Human Rights Defence
During the military dictatorship, from 1976 to 1983, about 30,000 Argentinians were “disappeared” by the state, i.e. kidnapped and taken to secret detention centres where they were tortured.
At 6:30 a.m., Montevideo was quiet, hot, and foggy. I walked to the bus terminal, which is, as always in Uruguay, inside a shopping mall—or maybe shopping malls are inside bus terminals, who knows.
After a few days in Argentina’s capital, I travelled to Uruguay, stayed in Montevideo, took a day trip to Punta del Este and now I’m back in Buenos Aires. So, what did I learn during these first 10 days of solo travel?
The first thing you see when you step outside the bus terminal is a giant hand, five human fingers made of iron and cement and partially emerging from sand.
If Buenos Aires is an old, elegant lady who never steps out without wearing her fancier clothes and applying bright-red lipstick, Montevideo is the grungy little sister with messy hair, a slogan tee, jeans with holes and not a care in the world.
Montevideo has the world’s longest Carnival, starting in January through early March. So basically, performers—given the size of Uruguay, I’m willing to bet that almost every resident participated once to some extent
Going to Montevideo from Buenos Aires is fairly simple. There are two main companies—Buquebus and Colonia Express, both leaving from opposite ends of Puerto Madero.
Adapting always takes a bit of time. I needed to digest Argentina like you digest new information.
My first mission would be to explore the main barrios of the city to reconnect with the Latin world.
Missions? I have plenty, come to think of it. Travelling is a bit like a real-life egg hunt. You spend your time looking for things or trying to make sense of your environment using clues, and then you move on to the next challenge to find a bigger chocolate egg.
The guys must have landed by now. I checked my email—yes, Feng replied to my own “landed!” email I sent last night, they made it to Ottawa. Phew.
Shit. I’m alone.
I think I need some coffee.
Don’t ask why I’m flying Qatar Airways from São Paulo to Buenos Aires—it doesn’t make much sense to me either.
We met at the hotel in São Paulo at 4 p.m. Mark immediately started to complain about something—Being thirsty? Being tired? Can’t remember already. Feng went to the bathroom to change to his jeans and he put on a long-sleeve t-shirt.
Panties, tweezers, Havaianas and other items Brazil does better than the rest of the world.
São Paulo is quickly becoming one of my favourite cities in Latin America, along with Santiago and Montevideo.
In Brazil, I love going to the supermarket when I’m tired, because many of them offer free coffee while you shop. I also spend way too much time wandering around and checking out new foods and brands, but that’s another issue…
Rio is a complicated place. It’s a stressful city yet some parts are stunning and relaxing, it’s a rich city with many poor people, it’s an old city trying to look modern.
“So, no Aquaman.”
“We should be able to find it.”
“Likely in the same tank. Eh, you might see sharks too.”
Rio de Janeiro always stresses me out a bit. I feel bad just mentioning it. It’s okay to bitch about Paris when you’re French, it’s perfectly acceptable to hate Toronto when you’re Canadian, but complaining about Rio de Janeiro makes me sound like a snotty, ungrateful traveller.