From the outside, there probably doesn’t appear to be much logic to my itinerary. When last reading about Africa, one might not expect me to follow with: “Hello from the hip and happening Buenos Aires, Argentina!” But then here we are…
In order to get closer to my current mindset, please listen to this playlist before, during, or after reading. Gracias a Andrea y las bandas Argentinas de los 80!
My trip is nowhere near over yet but I am proud to say that I’m only about 14 degrees of longitude from making it all the way ‘around’ the world. The last time I last checked in from Namibia I had just finished my month-long camping trip there. Since then I booked some last minute tickets to Argentina and did a quick trip back to Cape Town where I had to promise the border control guard that I really was leaving the country again; they don’t really like that fact that I’ve been continually entering the country without a work permit.
I spent my last few days in Cape Town (on a 7-day ‘visitor’s visa’) doing some research for Argentina as well as practicing my Spanish and Argentine pronunciation to get prepared for this next long chapter of travel. Thankfully this didn’t stop me from still having some time to take a few hiking trips including a last minute run up Lion’s Head before my flight.
I flew to Buenos Aires by way of Istanbul and São Paulo. It was 30 hours of travel but made worth it by the hundreds of dollars saved by opting against the more direct flight. My 3-hour stop in Istanbul was relatively uneventful with the exception of a conversation with an Italian girl standing in the same line as me after my flight. Questions about our reasons for visiting South Africa led to discussions about where we were staying in the country which led to the question: “were you my waiter when my mother and I visited Nieu-Bethesda?”. I sure was.
On family holidays we call this “The Game” with the goal being to be the first person to spot someone in our holiday destination that we know from somewhere else. After the last few months of chance reunions, I’m feeling pretty confident n having a leg up on our next family outing. Some of the other best meetings have been:
- Getting stopped on the street in Phnom Penh so a girl could ask me if I was the guy dancing like a madman to David Bowie at the New Years party in Sihanoukville
- Shouting across Ha Long Bay to say “Hi!” to a group of Americans on another boat that I recognized from our visit to Angkor Wat a month earlier
- Finding out that after seeing my friend off before their bus ride to shark diving in Cape Town, a girl turned to them and said: “Is that Kyle you were just talking to?”. She ended up being someone I met in Oudtshoorn!
When I finally arrived at my hostel in the San Telmo neighborhood of Buenos Aires, I hit the ground running: I dove head first into making plenty of Spanish mistakes arranging a bus and ordering my first meals, I explored 4 different major neighborhoods by the end of the 2nd day, and on my 3rd day I had my first asado with Andrea and Alvaro’s (my camping from Namibia) family!
Later in the week, I also found a coffee exposition where I got to try my first ever espresso con tónica. Bizarre. Surprisingly tasty. Might be a new thing for me. And of course, there has been no shortage of dancing at the various bars around where I’m living now in Palermo or at the weekly Bomba de Tiempo.
Still more to come about Buenos Aires but that’s it for now as I wanted to get this update out to my two most loyal readers who specifically requested a new post. I’m off again to my most visited language exchange, Mate Club, for the evening.
After 9-ish months of semi-indecisive travel, it feels great to be back in Latin America. I’m looking forward to spending more time than my first visit and the exploration of more than one country. If any one out there reading has plans to be in South or Central America in the near future, let me know! Maybe our paths will cross on my way north…