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Trip of a lifetime

Buenos Aires

URUGUAY | Thursday, 30 October 2014 | Views [245]

So we arrived on Friday and righ off I get screwed by a taxi driver. He took advantage of the fact that we just arrived from Uruguay where the exchange rate is a lot higher. I way overpaid. Then we get to the hostal and it's a dump. I have to pay for the night regardless so we decide to stay and find another place the next day. The place stinks, there is mould on the walls and ceiling and while we're sitting outside our room trying to get Wifi, because of course like everywhere else here it doesn't work in our room, we get a wiff of shit. We realize there is a floor drain outside our room which is tied to the sewer. All night we smell mould and shit. Not a great sleep. I'm up at 7am ready to leave. We loaded on our packs and headed out to find a better hostel. Fortunately there are lots and we found a really nice one. A bit more than I wanted to spend cause it has a privat bathroom but at this point we just want something clean and not stinky so we took it. The place is great, really nice breakfast and the first night here they had a barbeque. We met a few people including a couple from Australia/Turkey. He is emigrating to Australia and is waiting for his Visa so they planned to stay in South America. We've spent some time together and helped them out navitaing some things as neither of them speaks Spanish. They have had to same problem I have with finding ATM's that will take our cards. She ended up having to get Visa to Western Union her emergency money. On top of the ATM challenges we discovered, after we got here of course, that the economy is so bad, inflation is hovering around 25%, that there is an underground economy for US dollars. You can't get them here in Argentina so the vendors take them as payment in order to get them. As a result there is a different exchange rate if you exchange dollars rather than withdrawing from and ATM, where you just get the posted rate. It's rather expensive at that rate and I'm going through money like crazy. We debated on wether to just leave Argentina but we really want to see Patagonia and the Argentina side has more to offer than the Chile side. We finally decided to make the trek back to Uruguay to get US dollars so we can then exchange them on the black market. We took the ferry back to Colonia and spent the day there. It's a really cute little town, our friends have decided to go there for awhile instead of staying Argentina. After trying 4 ATMS I was beginning to think it was a wasted trip but we finally found one on another network and I managed to get $900. Better than nothing and at least it will get me through the rest of the Argentina trip with some to spare for future problems. I will never travel without US cash again. The ferry trip was an experience. It was a bit rough on the way over, we were both feeling a bit queezy. But the trip back was something else entirely. The boat was rocking from side to side and half the stuff on the shelves of the duty free shop ened up on the floor. I was panicking for the first half of the trip but then I realized most people were talking and laughing. A woman in from of my was sleeping. I finally convinced myself that this was obviously normal and I survived the rest of the trip. We've been here for 5 days and like the other cities we've been in it's wearing thin. We both expected more from Buenos Aires but really they're all much the same. Crumbling buildings and sidewalks, dirty streets, grafiti everywhere. Tons of cars and people. They all have a touristy neighbourhood or 2 but nothing really unique or charming. I feel like I'm spending all my time planning the trip, trying to figure out where we're going next, searching for workaways, busses, flights. It's getting old. We just want to find somewhere to settle at this point. Summer is coming which means high season. As a result every workaway we've contacted is booked up. We head to Patagonia at 3:30 am tomorrow for 4 days and return Sunday night. I have a room booked for 1 night and then.... I guess we'll wing it!

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