Bienvenidos a Argentina

South America 2005

What an exhilarating and tiring twenty-four hours. Yesterday morning we breakfasted on Easter Island (which included fresh papaya, mmnnn), lunched somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, and dined out at our favourite empanada restaurant in Santiago. This morning we breakfasted in Mendoza, Argentina. There’s nothing like travel to whet the appetite.

I’ve had my best day of Spanish too. While we waited for our bus last night we chatted to a married couple for five or ten minutes. The chat was pretty basic (where are you from, where are you going, how is Buenos Aires, yes Chile is lovely, Easter Island is muy tranquilo, are you married, no we’re not married, no really we’re just friends, etc.) but it was our first real continual chat in Spanish. They were really nice, and I understood pretty much everything they said. Muy bien. Plus with all the scoping out of buses we had to do there was a lot of Spanish talking to do. It’s coming along just nicely. The disadvantages are my English is going to pot and Suzie will tell you I struggle to complete a coherent sentence, and thinking in both English and Spanish hurts my head.

We got to the Chile-Argentina border at about half-past one this morning. And boy, was it cold. Cold cold cold. They did warn us. We had to stand around outside while we were stamped out of Chile, stamped into Argentina, and our bags were x-rayed, but it was fairly painless. Then at six this morning we were dumped unceremoniously in Mendoza bus station to find no bus leaves for Buenos Aires until this evening (despite what every bus-ticket salesman said in Santiago, bastards). So now we have another nine-and-a-half hours to kill before we get to dump our bags and sleep on a bus. Hurrah. Mendoza’s supposed to be a nice place though, so at least we’re not in some pit.

Argentina is super cheap. After the ridiculously low prices of Peru (one pound for a filling lunch with drinks) Chile and Easter Island got much more expensive — although still much lower than Europe. Now we’re back to cheap-town, where breakfast (a huge hot vegetarian sandwich, two cups of tea, and a coffee) cost the equivalent of one pound seventy. Internet costs seventeen pence an hour. All praise the god of budget travel.