For the longest time a trip to Argentina has occupied the top spot on my imaginary bucket list, patiently waiting for its time. Talking about my dream to visit Argentina became such a part of my life that after finally getting it done, I might be at a loss of subjects to discuss in a polite conversation. In any case, the trip and the country of Argentina turned out to be everything I imagined it to be and much more, and became the longest, the most expensive and the best trip of my adult life.
I came back with a ton of photos, most of them average and below, but which you will still have to endure; and a multitude of reflections, which I will try to put in a written form here, but probably not very well. It turned out that not having any plan or structure to the trip was the best possible plan, allowing us to see anything we wanted when we wanted to see it, enjoying ourselves and the city of Buenos Aires without feeling the pressure or being scheduled. While having friends who are long-time residents of Buenos Aires and who were willing to dedicate all their spare time to us was a luxury not available to many visitors to Argentina, I think I can provide a few useful notes and bust a few myths (many of them of my own creation) to help anyone who is planning a trip like this in the future.
To start with, I will need to get some annoyances out of the way. Traveling involves not just a physical movement to an unfamiliar geographical area; even more difficult is being taken out of one’s comfort zone – sleeping at the hotel, trying to speak and understand a foreign language, obeying the local customs, trying not to get robbed, and many other things people don’t have to deal with at home. During this trying time the following people are not helpful:
- People with camcorders. Those are horrible human beings resolved to record every minute of their trips from the time they close the door of their apartment to the moment when they finally get out of the cab in front of their home few weeks later. Video recordings may include but are not limited to the shuttle bus rides to and from airports, going through the customs, grocery shopping and long shots out of the airplane windows into the darkness outside. People with camcorders, whose cinematographic skills are only limited by the sizes of their cameras’ hard drives and battery lives, will then for years torture unsuspecting friends and relatives with their video-creations featuring mostly the backs of other people’s heads set to the overplayed and hated music clips from long-gone Broadway shows. My advice: if your video clip is too long to take with your cell phone or a photo camera, no one wants to see it.
- People who pretend that their huge suitcases are carry-ons. Nothing gives me more pleasure than when a person who tries unsuccessfully to jam their luggage into an overhead bin of the airplane is forced to do a walk of shame and check it in at the gate.
- People wearing Keen sandals. Those unfortunate hybrids of crocs and bicycle tires do not make you a better traveler and should be banned from even being considered a type of footwear.
- People applauding a plane landing. Safe plane landings may not be routine where you come from, but in this part of the world, unless you landed in a space shuttle you should hold your applause.
- A special mention for the people traveling in matching outfits. Enough said.
With these people out of the way, we can move on to the subject of this trip, the awesome, far-away country of Argentina and the place we’ve spent the bulk of our time – Buenos Aires.