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Vancouver to Buenos Aires
Thursday, 01 December 2011

According to my itinerary the total length of my trip from Vancouver via Seattle and Houston to Buenos Aires was supposed to be 17 hours, the last leg of it from Houston to BA being about 9 hours. However, there must have been some mistake in the itinerary as the flight from Houston to Buenos Aires was actually a little over 10 hours. That's the longest flight I took so far! My annual flights from Vancouver to Europe are always about one hour shorter.

The time difference is 5 hours, which is big enough to make me feel tired and sleep depraved. Actually, although to my understanding this trip was mainly due South, I did not sleep much more over the night then about 3 hours.

The good trend that I noticed on this trip is that most airports (at least the North American ones) now provide free internet WiFi spots. First time I noticed a sign advertising that at the Vancouver airport. Then, out of curiosity, I also checked that in Seattle – good news, it also worked! It was also possible in Houston although there I had to download first some “Boingo Wireless” (or something similar) software to make it work. This all is a great news for me as I find waiting at the airports a very unpleasant part of any trip. Now, I was able to check and answer my email messages, and the time passed fast.

According to my agreement with Marita, the lady who is renting the apartment for me, someone was supposed to meet me at the airport to help me get to the city. She specifically asked me to not go on my own but to wait for a person who would be standing there with my name written on a piece of paper. When I arrived at the Ezeiza Airport there were indeed about 30 people standing, holding all kind of names but I was out of luck finding my name among them. So after about 15 minutes of waiting I decided to call her. I was curious if I can also get wireless access on my computer and call Marita on Skype, but I was out of luck. There is no such service here. So I had to use my charm and ask a local guy with a mobile phone to call Marita and ask her what to do. I was told that no-one will come and I have to take the taxi on my own. I did that, paying 180 Pesos for about a 40 minutes ride. That amounts to about US$45 which I find a little extravagant. Had I known in advance that no-one would wait for me, I would search an option to take a shuttle bus. I travel light, so it wouldn't be difficult for me, and according to the information that I just checked it would only cost me about $10.

One thing that I found confusing is that they also use the dollar sign ($) for Pesos. (Actually they do the same in Mexico). Since American Dollars are very popular here, I was not sure if the prices that I found in the guide to Buenos Aires that I bought in Vancouver actually mean Pesos or US Dollars. Now, after walking the streets and checking some prices, I think that they indeed refer to Pesos.

The apartment that I am renting at the rate of US $900 a month is rather cheap for Vancouver standards. However it is also a very basic one. It is a studio and it practically contains nothing but a bed and a table with a sofa to sit on (+ an old TV, ironing board and iron, radio, and other basic necessities). But the important thing is that the bed is good -- very comfortable and large, probably king size, or at least queen. There is no real kitchen but a tiny kitchenette. But again, not being a chef and not planning to cook any big meals, this is just enough for me. The internet is not wireless, but it works, although I might have to buy a better connecting cable because the one that is in the apartment must have gotten some rough treatment by some previous tenants and tends to slip out of the socket, because someone tore off the little things that hold the cable inside the computer. But it works if you position the computer properly so for now at least as I am able to post this message...

One thing to remember when coming here is that the electricity here is 220V, 50 Hz so it is good idea to make sure that your laptop, mobile phone charger, hair dryer, and/or any other appliances will work here. Actually they usually do nowadays but the problem is with the sockets in the wall. Wherever you travel, each country seem to have their own idea about designing their own sockets (damn it!). North America has one kind, Europe another, UK must of course be different then anybody else and they also have their own design. In Argentina they have yet another one. I knew about it, but did not want to bother with that until coming here. I thought that I would have to go look for a converter for me to be able to use my chargers, but luckily this apartment being a rental already has the convertors plugged into the wall.

The one problem with renting a furnished apartment in Buenos Aires is that everyone is trying to charge you arm and leg for a security deposit. There is nothing in this apartment that could be damaged for more than a $100 but they tried to charge me US $700 damage deposit (!!!!). Eventually, after some negotiation, Marita agreed to charge me only US $500 but I still think that it is a large overkill...

As for location, I cannot say yet, as I only was out for about an hour looking for groceries. I did find a good shop within a walking distance (less then a kilometre away).  Otherwise, Recollect (the area where I am), is supposed to be the most affluent area of BA. Indeed, when I had a short walk around a few blocks to get a feel of the area I did spot some signs of opulence at a few spots.

More when I actually see something here...

Posted by J23


Hi there from sunny Brunswick Heads, Australia

Have had a successful change to Alaska in '09 through your site and have another arranged for Nova Scotia later this year. Plus I am hosting someone from Reunion Island in April - all through your free site. Excellent!

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