Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!
Yeah we had ice cream on our last day but, not after taking care of business first. Or at least try to.
Aeorolineas “go fuck yourself” Policy
Earlier in trip, an Aerolineas related strike caused us to lose a full day while on our way to Uruguay. Communication channels were essentially turned off that day with our official flight cancellations announced only minutes before scheduled flight departure. In summary, we had to book alternate transportation, missed our window to pick up car rental then as a result were forced to pay an additional night of hotel accommodations. Now we know shit happens. But after being put on hold for hours unable to reach a soul at Aerolineas customer service for days, we decided to head of over to headquarters in hope of speaking with a person.
Conversation with these losers went something like this:
Us: We called Wednesday morning and paid $200 to have our “Wednesday” afternoon flight changed to the next day “Thursday.” But because of your Thursday strike our flight got cancelled. We need to be reimbursed.
Aerolineas: The strike was caused by air-traffic controllers therefore wasn’t our fault.
Us: OK but we are out a ton of money for a service we didn’t receive. We were tremendously inconvenienced because of your cancelled flight. To boot, we paid $200 the day before just to have our flight changed.
Aerolineas: Per company policy, we do not address matter caused by outside forces.
Us: We have a flight leaving tonight at 11 pm going back to NYC on your plane. Can you at the very least upgrade us.
Aerolineas: No. You can further address the matter on our website. There is nothing else we can do per company policy.
Figures. This is the shit hole where they supposedly get shit done. With boxes of paper stacked on every single fucking desk in the office.
Last Moments Before Take-Off
These precious moments were filled with a walk around town, ice-cream and coffee before boarding plane.
Update consistency has definitely veered off as this journey comes to an end; but I must be clear, because it’s not meant to reflect whats been happening of late. Buenos Aires is an absolutely vibrant metropolis with nooks and crannies that only the finite commodity of time could shed light on.
Our damage so far has been restricted only to the wonderful neighborhoods of Palermo and adjoining Palermo Soho. To add a little diversity into the mix we decided to take a trip to far away land (not really 11 mins) of Recoleta. Less industrial, more historical, less trendy and more upper class are the thoughts that come to mind at first glance in this neighborhood. The building architecture is refined with more details and demographic is fittingly more mature. Though beautiful and worth a visit, neighborhood staples, Recoleta Market and Recoleta Cemetary were in a word underwhelming.
Food, Drank and Listerine
Aside from our field trip above, we’ve filled the voids in our days with good food, and dranks. Oh and I noticed a Listerine bottle in a restaurant bathroom the other day. Listerine! Brilliant!
I want to take a few brief minutes to shootout some of the web-tools and companies that have shown themselves to be super useful these past few weeks.
These guys have dummy proofed getting a multi-user, easily customizable blog up and running in a matter of minutes.
No longer need to tether phone in order to immediately get your files. This app runs over your local area network and allow user to navigate, copy and delete files directly from a computer browser. Easy does it!
This new product was mentioned in their I/O conference earlier in May, backs up on Goolge servers (aka “the cloud”) unlimited number of photos (in “good enough” resolution for 95% of things). Mix in simple photo editing tools and handful of gimmicky features and voila!
Note: One shouldn’t depend on any single cloud backup system since the day company financial motivation no longer in line with user needs, he’ll be left in the dust.
Shout-out to telecom provider for doing away with data roaming fees. Albeit at slow 2G speeds, we had unlimited data access and text messages during entire travels around South America.
Capital One & Chase Saphire
These guys get mucho points for not charging those annoying 3% international fees for withdrawals abroad.
It’s like a small computer that fits in the palm of your hands– Wait. It is a small computer that…
We’re finally getting our legs under us here in Buenos Aires after 3 full days rummaging around town. And although the mercury is daily still flirting with 100 degrees, the overcast skies the past 48 hours have made it all relatively manageable. Our first 72 hours here started off real slow with many places shut down on Christmas eve and day but we managed to get a couple of things done along the way.
Restaurants have predominantly been great with the Peruvian spot, Bardot, so far holding top digs. Like Mexico City, cuisines from all over are available and true to their roots #muyBueno. Hunger Games managed to sneak it’s way onto our itinerary and I only wish someone told me that shit was half a movie. I’ll spare the full rant but these Hollywood “multi-part” movies with no resolution in the end are an absolute waste of time– that’s what TV is for.
The Best Magic Trick Ever
Managed to get ripped off by a cab driver all in the span of 10 seconds. All it took was perfect lighting, unfamiliarity with a new currency, basic human trust mixed with the combination of a language barrier and authoritative statement [my wife]. Magic trick explain in following bullet points and image:
-Cab fare = 90 pesos
– Arrival home at night after dinner + drinks
-Hand cab driver 100 pesos in dark
-Cab driver takes bill then immediately turns on cab light
-Cab driver now holding 10 pesos in hand
-Cab driver mutters something in Spanish
-Spouse immediately says “you only gave him 10 pesos”
-Hand cab driver another 100 pesos
-Cab driver= 1 ; Tourists=0
Riddle Me This
Name one drawback of staying on a 19th floor penthouse apartment in Buenos Aires.
-When the power goes out you have to walk up 19 flights of stairs. –Yes. Again.
Black Market Upside and Awesome Graffiti Tour
Price perception for outsiders in Buenos Aires is completely dependent on how you exchange your money. Without getting into the details [#noSnitching], I’ll say that the difference between the official em6.5 to 1/em vs the em9.8 to 1/em we got on the black market goes a long fucking way [50.8% to be exact] in appreciating everything this fine city has to offer. Few things feel better that having an official $100 check actually cost $66.
Anyone visiting Buenos Aires in the near future (today=12/28/13) should look into Graffiti Mundo. This non-profit group of 8 young individuals does an incredible job at contextualizing the city’s street art. In a brief 3 hour tour, they’ve managed to take Argentina’s tumultuous political history and parse it in parallel with its evolution relative to this “now popular” urban artistic medium.
Bye Bye Uruguay. Hello Buenos Aires
Boarding plane heading to Buenos Aires…
Flight attendant: Buenos Aires?
Libby: Buenas noches!
Here in Argentina again. First impressions are: it’s fucking hot here! Not sure if this is the norm, but news reports are that record highs are causing blackouts in certain sections of the city, as the outdated power grid struggles to meet demand. Finger crossed it doesn’t hit our block (again).
City is essentially shutdown for the holidays which led to our Christmas eve consisting of a bottle of wine, Doritos, a salami sub and Netflix streaming of The Chang-Up. I liked; Libby fell asleep. Thankfully, due to forward thinking by Libby, we have reservation for tonight.
On the same note, Chirstmas eve fireworks in Buenos Aires are insane!
As if what happened in Long Trip Ahead #24hours wasn’t bad enough, the snowball effect continues. Just as both protagonist came to terms with losing 24 hours and all seemed to be headed back on track in the fairy-tale land of Robert and Libby, they land in sexy Argentina where the hits just keep on coming! After landing [@ 6:30 am] in Buenos Aires’ main airport (EZE) known as Ezeiz, we hop on a 1.5 hour bus ride to secondary airport to catch our final connecting flight to Punta Del Este, Uruguay. Yeeeeeaaaah well, the good people working at the air traffic control decide to welcome us with a strike– had a bad feeling when we saw the television crew camped out there. We wait 6 hours then are told about 30 minutes before departure time that flight is cancelled.
Not willing to be outdone yet again on this trip, we tap into our resourceful selves and book a ferry schedule to depart at 4 pm. Things are looking up again at this point… We call the good people at Avis multiple times along the way to modify and ensure that our car reservation is up to date and that a car will be waiting for us at Punta Del Este airport. Damn, we are just one step ahead at this point…
One problem; it’s now 11 pm. Seinfeld knows this. “You see, [some people] know how to *take* the reservation, [they] just don’t know how to *hold* the reservation. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation: the holding. Anybody can just take them.”