Due to the heavy winds in the mid autumn, our big crow from Puerto Iguaçu couldn’t land to Buenos Aires, so we were forced to fly away for almost 450 miles and wait for another 5 hours to fly back to BA again. We were supposed to be in BA at 3pm but arrived at 10 something instead. That wasn’t the worst past, I guess!
Almost midnight, we were still searching for our hotel which I made a reservation in prior. As much as our offline map was screwing up many times (For the record: from my experiences, offline map will be delayed because of whatever reasons and will always be delayed and you will be trapped to the wrong road, sad!), the taxi driver also made another long way round and the meter fare was flowing like the Iguaçu falls! Anyway, when we were at the right point according to the map (Yeah, you’re right! That offline map!), we got off the taxi and kept looking by ourselves, we asked a few people on the road and also in groceries, and finally found our hotel tucked inside the colonial building which we passed a few times already, Bingo!
Our hotel was in the Centro area right next to Sáenz Peña metro station, a lot of restaurants, groceries, laundry services and access to historical sites.
But blame me! It was pretty hard to get a good sleep, because our room was right beside the main road, silicone ear plugs weren’t enough power to help (I guess I didn’t realize when I booked this hotel! What was wrong with you Annie?!).
The following day, we went for laundry service, dropped our clothes and went on exploring around. Mid autumn was sunny day, nice and comfortable. We were walking around a lot. People might not speak English and we were bad in Spanish but it wasn’t too hard to communicate, just compounded sentences, piece by piece, it was a lot of broken pieces but it didn’t matter if we get it done, whistling!
In the late afternoon, we ended up at Parque Centenari, a scenic green space in town which Alex and I like it a lot, many lovely parakeets, a lake with ducks, murals, sculptures and a fountain. Sound lazy but sitting there was serenity and relaxed.
Visiting La Recoleta Cemetery
The only cemetery I had ever been before visited La Recoleta in Buenos Aires was Kanchanaburi War Cemetery in Thailand which far different from this beautiful and variety of architectural styles cemetery, from Neo-Gothic to Baroque to Art Nouveau to Art Deco. It’s beautiful, haunting, interesting and impressed. Actually this was the only place I didn’t want to miss in Buenos Aires, others were just bonus.
This cemetery contains the graves of famous Argentinians and notable people, including Eva Perón (Evita), Juan Perón (Presidents of Argentina), and a granddaughter of Napoleon.
Is Buenos Aires safe?
Like in any big city, some areas could be more dangerous than others. Or there are plenty of good people in bad and there are bad in good. A lot of people were welcoming and helping us, they were just helped, nothing disguised.
Once, we couldn’t figure out how to switch the metro lines whilst we were standing and looking around, then asked an Argentinian guy who were heading to his platform for help, he responded kindly and friendly, and moreover, he walked us to the right platform. That was really thankful.
Nevertheless, a few strange situations which we knew that if we trapped with it, something would go wrong.
We were following an experienced traveler’s advices to stay safe as much as we could. We were walking around but not isolate area, never flashed any fancy stuff in public, used ATMs in the banks, which mostly ATMs in Latin America are in the banks. I always kept our passports, ATM cards and money in a small purse and hanged it under my jacket. Never returned to hotel late, we liked to walk if it possible or used Metro and asked the hotel reception to call taxi for us when we really needed it. These are already a lot to do, right? When we started, we also thought that isn’t this too much? But then, we just get used to it.
People says if you worry too much about being be careful while on the road, it will make your journey vapid and you will miss something, I agreed with that. I also agreed to be careful as much as we can, as long as we love and couldn’t find the way to stop traveling, we need to find balance which I believe experienced will teach us.
We don’t have to be perfect from the first time or we will never be perfect at all!
Getting scammed at Ratiro bus terminal
The day we left Buenos Aires, Alex and I with 2 backpacks took a metro to Ratiro bus terminal in the late afternoon. We arrived around 30 minutes in prior and went straight to our platform. Suddenly, right 50 meters before get there, SHIT happened!
2 seconds after T1 sprayed something fake bird poop on us and then T2 – a woman quickly approached with tissues and pretended to be helpful, she first told Alex that a lot of poop on his backpack and also on his hands (And it was a lot, seriously!), then a second later, she turned to scream at me that I also got a lot of poop on my backpack and my hair, I suddenly realized that something was wrong, then I responded by step back and told her to leave me alone, but she was still trying to agitate me until I bowled at her to go away.
Bad news: that we have already trapped!
While Alex was putting his backpack down to clean up, then T2 was trying to keep me blind, so that I wouldn’t see what was going on with him, but then, when I shouted at her, it also made him turned back for 2 seconds to checked on me if I was ok, and it was a gap for thieves!
Sorry Mom, we have failed!
T3 grabbed Alex’s 10kg backpack away, then T4 suddenly appeared “My friend, your bag!” said him, then we looked back to check the backpack, and that was another second for bitchy T2 to run away. All of them disappeared and Alex’s backpack was gone!
10 seconds onward, a few policías appeared but we couldn’t understand each other due to our bad Spanish, luckily, a helpful guy who was speaking Spanish – English appeared as well, he was helping to translate, asking to check what we have lost. Fortunately, our passports and ATM cards were with me (In the purse under my jacket!). We’ve lost all Alex’s clothes, his laptops with all electronics, chargers included some of mine, also a yellow fever vaccination certification and our married documents – we brought them with us because we thought traveling in South America would be long and didn’t plan to get back to Georgia so soon (Our adopted home!), and it’s possible to go back to Thailand afterward.
After talked to policías for a while, we found that there were no any cameras on the way to platforms but only one on the the other side which no one would go that way or whatever, policías told us that it’s broken! The translator told us that policías would love to take us to look around, so we went to look around until some point, we went separate way with policías and then they were just disappeared…
15 minutes before departure, we realized that nothing will be changed, if we miss the bus then we lose more, due to the expensive bus tickets. Though, the bus tickets were cheaper than flight tickets about 50% but still quite expensive in South America, specifically in Argentina.
What we’ve done a minute later was took a really really deep breath and moved on, we bough a backpack and some clothes for Alex and jumped on the bus went south of BA to Puerto Madryn in the east cost of Argentina, northern Patagonia as the same plan. Traveling went on!
Alex had never heard about poop scam before this happened, I heard about it long time ago! Lately, before entered a new country, we did research about safety and scams in advance, we had seen a lot of warning lists but not this one before it happened, especially this was a common scam, how can it be?!
So, it might have happened for a reason. We were safe, passports and ATMs and dreams were remained. It’s true that BA has our hearts broken but we have learned and many things have improved after all.