A New Year

The other day, I received an email from my friend Lisa, where we were discussing length of travel and some of the challenges that can occur while traveling.  She states:

“People don’t realize how exhausting it is to keep moving, finding new hostels, figuring out transportation, speaking/butchering another language, getting hustled, getting sick, meeting new people, etc. It becomes less of a vacation and more taxing overall.”

I have a friend that has spent a year in Buenos Aires on two seperate occasions and another that has spent a couple months.  Both speak very highly of the place and I’ve been quite excited coming to see Buenos Aires based on those recommendations.  I was also ready for something new after spending two and a half weeks in Cusco.  The prospect of spending an amazing New Year’s in Buenos Aires became a huge draw.  But that’s the thing.  Many times, I think I over-romanticize what my experience will be, and if it doesn’t quite come close to that, then I’m somewhat disappointed.

The truth is, Buenos Aires kinda wore me out.  Maybe it started when I had to rush at the Lima airport to get my reciprocity fee paid for before I’d be allowed to get on the plane for Argentina.  Or, maybe the fact that I arrived during the hottest weeks in Argentina in the last 4 years, with blackouts and no air-conditioning at a very uncomfortable hostel.  I imagine letting my guard down and having my day pack stolen in San Telmo didn’t help matters.  And of course, dealing with some crappy taxi drivers and failing technology about put me over the edge.

When it rains, it pours.  But that’s the thing about travel – despite whatever challenges arise, you find a way to keep moving forward.  There are no other options, but to go home.  And I’m not going home.  Not yet.  This trip has been too amazing and incredible to just up and walk away from it because of some mishaps.  You learn to apply this to the rest of your life.  When I do go home, I imagine that instead of walking away from many of my problems and starting over, I’ll instead face them head on and keep moving forward.  Also, I imagine I’ll be better at planning and avoid some of the avoidable pitfalls I experienced on this trip.

But enough with the challenges.  Buenos Aires was still an amazing experience.  After finding a hotel with more stable electricity and WiFi, I went to meet Juan Villafañe, a swing dance instructor I had met in Herrang this year that my own Swing Dance instructor contacted on my behalf before leaving.  For the small price of a lunch, Juan gave me invaluable information on where to go and what to see while in Buenos Aires.  We parted with the promise that we would meet later in the week for a swing dance lesson.

The first thing I wanted to experience was a tango show.  Juan recommended the Madero tango show which I can verify was an amazing show.  The food was top notch and the tango lesson thrown in at the end was icing on the cake.  The next two days were spent exploring La Boca and San Telmo, two very touristic places situated amongst cobblestone streets and very colorful buildings.  Also, I took in La Recoleta Cemetary where I was fortunate to see the gravesite of Eva Perón.  The graves were the most ornate graves I’ve ever seen.

New Years, it turned out, was a more laid-back affair.  After finally locating an open restaurant (within my budget) at 9:30pm, I was quickly invited over to the table of 3 women that were currently traveling.  2 were from Canada, and the other was from Santiago, Chile.  We all drank and talked about our travels.  When midnight struck, we all cheered the new year and watched the fireworks exploding from above.  It was here that I discovered my true hidden talent – taking selfie photographs.  New Years day found most of Buenos Aires shut down where I was told most people spend the holiday with their families instead of going out.  And honestly, it was nice not doing anything for the holiday.

I had a feeling the worst was over and that the challenges would be fewer from here on out.  I decided to spend another day in BA before heading out to Iguazu Falls.