So folks, I have FINALLY arrived in Buenos Aires!
So here is how the day went! After packing all 29Kg(63 lbs) of my things in my suitcase I headed to Berlin Tegel Airport. I had my flight booked with British Airways, so I was supposed to fly from Berlin to London then directly to Buenos Aires. I was a bit concerned when I saw that my connecting time in London was only 1 hour considering it’s the biggest airport in Europe! When I arrived, they told me the flight was delayed and there’s probably no chance I would make the connecting flight in London. I was instantly disappointed, but they assured they could book me onto a Lufthansa flight, which shocked me since they aren’t even in the same alliance! So that is what I did, they booked me over Frankfurt instead which gave me more time to make my flight, and Lufthansa is a great airlines so I can’t complain.
Once I got to Frankfurt I looked on the screen for my flight and saw a one hour delay. Damn. So I went to the desk anyhow and requested a window or aisle seat and got lucky with an aisle seat! I sat down in the gate area and almost everyone was speaking Spanish! There was even a sports team from Argentina sitting in a group laughing and drinking Mate(a very popular drink in South America). After waiting a while they assured us our plane from Hong Kong had arrived but that it was broken and would not fly! But the good news is that they had another plane for us, but our flight was delayed another hour! Finally around 1 AM we took off and headed out on our 11,200Km (ca. 7000 Miles) 13 hour journey! As we approached Buenos Aires I saw the beautiful Rio del Plata out of the window, and then the city. At that instant I had a culture shock, WOW this city is huge! It’s never ending and all close together, so intense I wish I had taken a picture!
After landing all the Argentinians clapped their hands, something I had never seen on a plane before, but I suppose it’s a cultural difference! As I walked off the plane I was reminded that its winter here now! It wasn’t too bad, but definitely a difference. We went to our passport check lines and there was a special one for Australians, Canadians and US-Americans. Unfortunately since we make it so hard for people to get into the US, they have set up a fee for us to pay when we enter Argentina! So I paid 140$ to get in, but the women told me it’s good for 10 years and was actually friendly about it.
Off to the baggage claim, it took a long time and it was a huge unorganized mess. Once I finally got my luggage I waited in a huge long unorganized line for an hour just to show that I don’t have anything to declare at customs. I met an American man from the bay area (what a coincidence) as a flight from San Francisco/D.C. had just arrived near ours. We talked in the line then immediately walked over to the Remise (private car taxi) desk. People from each stand were trying to get our attention “taxi?taxi?” . So we both booked a taxi and then looked for the ATM. A nice guy working for the company assisted us to the ATM and held our suitcases and then took us to our cars. I said bye to the American and got into my car. The driver was nice but crazy, after 10 seconds of driving we almost got into a car accident and he started making faces at the other driver! Then we waited probably 20 minutes to get out of the airport and off we went. He drove quickly and I looked out the window and texted my dad that I was alright. There were decayed buildings all over the place and old cars that looked like they shouldn’t be on the road. The apartments were so close to the freeway, literally 2 feet away. Once we got to the city center it started reminding me more of Spain but slightly dirtier.
I got to my hotel and the ladies at the front desk were very friendly to me. They gave me an adapter to keep for my plugs and offered me some of their pizza. It looked so delicious but I kindly declined. I got to my room and took a siesta, a shower and then watched some TV. In the evening I headed outside to get some food and bottled water and walked around the streets here. Mind you, the bread sticks I bought were probably the best bread sticks I’ve ever had in my life! A good word to describe this place would be “intense”. People are walking all over the streets, cars are driving crazy, alarms going off and sirens as well. Many of the sidewalks are broken and the buildings look old and falling apart. The market was small and things were displayed differently. It’s hard to explain but let’s just say it wasn’t as clean as any supermarket I am familiar with. None of these things are bad though, I find it very interesting and new. I am totally excited and motivated to see more.
When I returned to the hotel I rested and heard a weird sound so I looked out my window. There was a talking car driving by! It was literally a car with a speaker on top. I assume it had something to do with elections coming up and for somebody’s campaign. Later in the evening a woman my dad will potentially do business with gave me a call. She lives in Cordoba where I am headed later today to spend my first month in Argentina. It’s such a good timing coincidence that she contacted us right before I move to her city. She was so nice and said that she will come to the airport today to meet me even though I am already getting picked up by my agency. She wants to introduce herself and give me her contact information and show me around Cordoba this weekend and introduce me to all of her friends and nieces who are my age. I was shocked but flattered by this. I don’t think I have ever experienced such hospitality in my life! People are so nice here so far. I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of my time will go. Now I must prepare to head to Cordoba. That’s it for now!