We finally said goodbye to Rosario and took the bus back to Buenos Aires. I always wonder how “nice” Mark will be during long bus trips (seating seems to be torture for him) but the four-and-a-half journey was great. The bus wasn’t full, so Feng took a seat in front of us and Mark and I sat behind him. “Phew… tired, dodo,” Mark said, ten minutes into the trip. I smiled. Yeah, right, as if you’re going to sleep, buddy! But amazing, he put his head on my lap, closed his eyes and off to dreamland he went. I finished my book and worked a bit on my laptop for as long as the battery allowed me to, then he woke up and sat there, holding my hand. “Big truck!” “Yes, big truck.” That’s all I had to say to keep him entertained.
The road and the fields were very flooded as we got closer to Buenos Aires. After a heat alert, the city had had a big storm the night before.
We arrived at Retiro at 4:35 p.m., took a taxi and checked in. The hotel, the Gran Argentino, wasn’t very “grand”—like most budget hotels in Buenos Aires, it was small and old. I missed the hotel we had in Rosario, brand new and very clean. Sometimes you get lucky with Expedia, sometime you don’t.
In the evening, I had to chance to meet with “Chiruza Canadiense”, a friend I met through the blog. You may remember her two interviews: born and raised in Buenos Aires, she applied for permanent residence in Canada through Quebec and she has been stuck in immigration limbo for… 38 months now.
Meeting someone who has been reading your adventures for years is quite intimidating, and I couldn’t help wondering if I’d live up to her expectations. I certainly drank my coffee, and Mark was both cute and slightly annoying as expected.
We chatted for quite a while, using English even though we were in Buenos Aires and even though she speaks French as well. I quickly forgot she was Argentinian and spoke fast as I would have with any other Canadian. She was bubbly, enthusiastic and very casual about her immigration troubles. I felt bad for her. We are the same age, and I understand how she must feel, stuck in a life she is sick of and looking to start over up North.
I’m starting to see Buenos Aires as Paris. Both cities are great for tourism with plenty of sights, but once you’re done, you’d better move on because life isn’t as glittery or glamorous as it seems from the outside. We’ve been to Buenos Aires many times now on three separate trips, and now that we are a bit past the tourist stage because we know the city so well, I’m slightly annoyed with the gimmicks (Tango! Mafalda! Football! Shopping!), the higher prices, the average restaurants with menus in English and Portuguese, etc.
I still like Buenos Aires, but I enjoyed the rest of the country more because I feel I’m exploring instead of being told what to enjoy.