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Nick and Laina's Adventures

Feliz Año Nuevo!

ARGENTINA | Friday, 2 January 2009 | Views [2469] | Comments [3]

Couchsurfing in Tigre! (the morning after)

Couchsurfing in Tigre! (the morning after)

Finnally! a couchsurfer has found room to host us! It was been very difficult finding a couchsurfer host here in Buenos Aires. I guess it is the time of year, and the craziness of the city. We rounded out our 4th day in Buenos Aires walking around town, and studying spanish. As I have said before Buenos Aires is a very beautiful city. As you walk in the main square, you can look on both sides of you and see old buildings with tall black steeples, white stone faces, old windows with shutters, and many carvings of men holding up the building. Next to the bueatiful old buildings you have normal square modern buildings, and the differnce is quite stark.

Back at the hotel, we got an email from hosts, Stef and Carolina saying we can come stay with them for a few nights! They live in the center part of town, about a 1/2 hour walk from where we were. We quickly gathered our things paid 150 pesos, ~45 dollars for three nights stay at Hotel carly in San Telmo. Then we headed out to the city center. Our walk took us to a street called 9 de Julio, this street has 20 main lanes, and 3 on either side, a total of 26 lanes of traffic! There are three sets of islands that you can rest on during the perilous journey to cross the road. In the middle of the street, looking right you can see a very tall Obilisk, white and square. Then after crossing the street, (whew!) the city gets much more fancy, touristy, and nicer. We hurried up to the apartment of our hosts, and found it without difficulty, and made our way to their aptartment. Stef and Carolina are very cool, he is from the Netherlands, and she is from here, Argentina. After a little while we head out and get some food, see the city, and relax.

The next day we decide to step up our spanish lessons. it is now day 5 in Buenos aires (has it been that long already?) and we are not going to take spanish classes, instead laina will teach me the lessons from the book, and i will study vocab on my own time. We head to Parque Reserva Ecologica Costenera Sur, a beautiful park on the Rio de la Plata, in the eastern of Buenos Aires. It is a ecological reserve, if you couldnt make the difficult translation, and has many beautiful birds. We bought some food at the grocery store before coming, and now it is time to eat. For lunch, we bought rouquefort cheese(a blue cheese), which is dirt cheap here, 32 pesos a kilo, 4.50$ a pound, a smoked chorizo(mmmm..) and a whole weat baguette. Lunch was very good. Then we studied spanish intensely for 1 hour, did some refreshers and took a nap. Heading back to the house, we looked around the riverside, and there are many nice icecream places, and even a TGI Fridays.(ugh) Then we crossed 9 de Julio again, and sat down for delicious ice cream at one of Buenos Aires's famous Heladerias! For 8 pesos,(1.60$) you get three scoops and a waffle cone! We got dark chocolate, come caramel thing, and coffee! It was so good. Very rich,thick and dense, with tons of flavor. Hmm.. I bet some of you want to come to Buenos Aires now...

Now it is time to decide what to do for New Years! We didnt want to sit around bored, so we logged onto the Buenos Aires group on couchsurfing, and found the main event was camping in Tigre, a small river town, about an hour by train away from Buenos Aires, and it lies in the Parana river delta. Sweet! we're in! The girl organizing the event was room in her tent for us, even better! Knowing argentines at least a little by now, we head to the grocery store to buy some food for the inevitable Asado! We bought some wine, 1.12 liters of malbec for 9 pesos($2.80), some carne(meat), one and a half pounds of deliciousness for 8 pesos($2.40), water, empanadas and some lettuce. Later in the evening, we went out for some beer with stef and carolina, had some fun conversation and then got ready for the camping.

In Retiro, Buenos Aires's main transit station, we wait for someone who looks like a couchsurfer(big backpack, tent in hand, big smile, that kind of stuff), to ask them if they are Anna, the girl organizing the event. We found her pretty quick, and then within minutes couchsurfer popped out of everywhere and we soon had a group of 35 of us, from all over the world. There are CSers with us from NYC, England, Canada, Sweden, Colombia, Argentina, Russia, Austria,and Australia. We all got on the train together, and had some fun conversations. These people are great, everyone is positive, most people are geniunely interested in your story, and eveyone is here to make friends.

When we got to Tigre, we took a boat into the river delta to go to our special camp ground. The boat ride is beautiful, there are so many small rivers, and big trees. There are no streets in the delta, the streets are the water. all the houses have boats, and most have docks. Tigre reminds me of what pictures of china's mekong river delta looks like, but not nearly as poor. When we get to the campground, we set up our tents, open the wine, and start chatting, hacky sack, football(soccer), and preparing the Asado. Everyone is sharing their wine, and the people organizing the event gather all the meat, and vegetables. We will combine everything so that everybody will share all the different cuts of meat. The sun sets, and more wine comes out. We have a big fire at the grill getting the coals hot enough to cook the asado, Argentines eat so late!

When the food was ready, Choripan was first! my favorite! Choripan is chorizo and bread. Then some salad, wine, a little Fernet, and the meat. The piece i got (rare, like i asked!) weighed 2/3 a pound and was a very large square of meat. Mmm. Delicious.  Eating my fill, we all head to the frount by the river, and get ready to celebrate, Cider seems to be the drink of choice for argentine new years. Feliz Año Nuevo! Thats what all say at 12:00 and everyone hugs, smiles, and drinks some more. There were some good musicans, so we all moved to the dock, and danced and sung to the guitar, over the river. After an hour or so we headed back to the tent, where I immediately passed out, and Laina and the british guys soon followed (we had a big tent).

At 4 or so AM, the strangest thing happened. It seemed the whole campground was underwater. Shaking my head, to clear out all the wine, I still couldnt understand what happened. Why are we in water? it isnt raining! Anyways, the british guys were soaked, Dani, one of the brits said "Im going to get ill if I keep sleeping with my head in the water." we needed to get out of the humongous puddle our tent was in the middle of. Recollecting a little bit, I did rememeber the water was much higher, when we were at the dock a few hours earlier, then when we got dropped off. Hmm. Tides?

We moved everything to dry ground, and fell asleep again. I guess the river rose, or somthing, because all the next day we were there the water stayed pretty high, not the 6 hour cycle that tides run on. Anyways this morning was sunny and nice, everyone at breakfast together, and helped clean up. We grabbed the 11 oclock boat (not so reliable) back to Tigre, and traveled with the british guys back to town.




Happy New Year! I love you. Thanks for calling me! Keep up with the Spanish lessons. You will be so glad later. Love, Mommy

  mommy Jan 2, 2009 8:23 AM


!Hola Chicos!
Me gusta mucho leer de tu adventuras! No hablo espanol pero escribo en espanol anyway! Espero que el ano nueva es full of wonderful friendships y muchas mas discoveries.
La vida es buena aqui in Pleasanton.
Con Mucho Amor,
Molly de Margarita y Sangria

  Molly Jan 3, 2009 1:31 PM


Hi guys, Happy New Year! It's sounds like you are having a blast. I'm so jealous because it sounds so great. On the other hand, I'm not nearly as brave as you two and would be far too nervous to enjoy it as much as you. I'm not so great with new people and am too wary of strangers. I have always enjoyed my foreign vacations because you experience and learn so much but I have always gone to pretty touristy spots or safe places like Paris, London, or Edinburough.

Good luck. It has been fun reading of your adventures.


  Darryl Jan 6, 2009 2:50 AM

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