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.
Driving distance between Mendoza, Argentina, and Santiago, Chile? Only 370 kilometres. Travel time? Between seven…
A familiar scenery, yet my brain hadn’t adjusted yet. From the rainforest to the Andes in less than three hours is too fast for me.
Foz do Iguaçu and Puerto Iguazú aren’t two border towns that blends seamlessly—they exemplify both cultures.
The bus finally arrived. For most of the ride to the national park, the driver kept one eye on the road and the other on the gourd of mate a passenger in the front seat was sharing (did they even know each other?).
The boat was at 9:40 a.m. and the terminal wasn’t too far from the hotel. In theory, we had plenty of time.
When you pay attention and look beneath the surface, Buenos Aires isn’t just tango, carne, wine and political discussions.
We didn’t go to a tango show, we didn’t exchange US dollars on the black market on Avenida Florida”, we didn’t buy leather goods, we didn’t hang out in La Boca and we didn’t eat in a parilla.
“Everybody is so rushed compared to Santiago! It’s like… it’s like I don’t speak fast enough, don’t have my money ready fast enough, don’t get it fast enough!”
I’m now in the land of facturas, European-inspired baked sweets.
It should make more sense tomorrow, after I sleep.
Also, fuck Air Canada.
We are only spending a night in Concordia. We don’t need a comfortable place. Like most people who end up in a border town, we need a plan to cross said border.
Going off the beaten track is a rewarding move. Giving Paraná a second chance as well.
Exploring an empty city does have its perks, you see buildings differently and you feel you own the city. I kept on wondering about the logistic of shutting down for four or five hours in the middle of the day.
Argentina’s political history is complicated. I’m not judging. I just want to understand.
I took a quick look at the bus station—dark, dirty, muddy with a few plastic chairs in the waiting area and tube TV sets mounted on the wall. We had just stepped into another world, another Argentina, off the beaten track.
North America has the famous “PB&J” sandwich, Argentina goes by the initials “J-y-Q”— jamón y queso, ham and cheese.
My pocket map of Rosario is torn along the lines, a few street names faded and I marked the hotel’s address with a big black dot.
Once again, it started at the Retiro bus station, in Buenos Aires. This time, we had our gear with us. Destination? Rosario, Santa Fe, Central Argentina.
Life in Buenos Aires is like a game of heads or tails—assuming you find a coin to flip, change is hard to get.