Friday, February 4, 2011

the best laid plans

Whenever I explained my full travel plans to Argentines during this trip: three weeks in BsAs for Spanish and Tango classes and then a short trip to Ushuaia followed by a few days in Mar del Plata, they would nod approvingly at all but the last choice about which they seemed a little confused. When I pressed them on this reaction they just explained that it was a little unusual for foreigners to go there, it was something like what I imagine my reaction would be if someone visiting from France told me they had a few days in Milwaukee scheduled (nothing against Milwaukee, mind you). It's not a bad place but it's overwhelming, a little like the Jersey Shore of Argentina.

I found myself immediately missing the calm of Ushuaia. Truthfully I wish I'd gone elsewhere but there are so many pace to visit in Argentina that the mind boggles and my mind ended up boggling me here. If If had it to over again I would have just left the time open at the end for some spontaneous travel. This is one of the lessons I plan on taking with me: sometimes life is more fun if you don't plan.

My hotel is safe and clean but rather charmless and the staff seem utterly put upon every time I ask for help with something. Last night I had a comically bad dinner, easily the worst meal I've had in Argentina. The rain had been pouring for hours and this restaurant was the only one I could find that accepted credit cards. I drank a glass of too sweet Sauvignon Blanc and while I was waiting for my food, the waiter brought me a magazine; he clearly pitied me for being alone (in a great heaping dose of irony the cover of the magazine was a woman with a fake moustache and the headline 'Have women become too masculine? Chilean psychologist says yes'). This insult was followed by the injury of some rather foul smelling and inedible prawns. When I sheepishly explained to the waiter that I didn't actually like it much, sorry (I'm not a great sender back of dishes) he insisted I order something else and I got a pasta that while not good, was at least edible. They brought me a free glass of champagne at the end though, which is all it really takes to get me back on your side.

                                                        don't hate cause you're in a snow drift 

I've decided to go back to Buenos Aires a day early. I noticed on my brief stop back through from Ushuaia just how comfortable the place has started to feel to me, a bit like home. And my Brazilian friend Julianna will be back there which should save me the indignity of getting anymore magazines with dinner.

What's your home away from home?  


  1. I have been remiss in commenting, but I am enjoying this travelogue very much. I miss traveling.

  2. Buenos Aires ... first time I really didn't want to leave a place. I am usually a little happy about going home at the end of a trip, but Buenos Aires made me feel at ill be back in october. It's decided! Have a wonderful time with Juliana in BA. Ill be with you in mind :-)

  3. Hmm. You know, I don't think I really have a home away from home. I don't leave my real home often enough. Although my sister's cabin in the woods is pretty close; I went there three times last summer, all alone, and got a ton of writing done on each trip.

  4. i hope you took that magazine with you as a souvenir. that cover picture framed on your living room wall would be a conversation starter for sure in about 20 years!