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  You are here: Home > Travel Stories > South America

Travel Story by Semhar Beyene

  Partying in BA
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Aman, Semhar & Andre at the game

After a complicated bus journey, we finally arrived in Buenos Aires.

Crossing the borders by bus made travelling around South America seem so easy. Mmm, okay maybe I spoke too soon - apart from the luxurious bus services we have had, we experienced a 'rip-off' scenario when we bought a bus ticket from Puerto Iguazu. Trying to be 'sensible' with our budget, we opted for semi-cama seats with Express Singer, instead of the more luxurious, Tigre Iguazu. We had a list of complaints as follows:

1. A stinky toilet with no light
2. Water leaking from above
3. A rude bus escort - shooed Andre away after he kindly asked for English subtitles for the DVD
4. Aman's faulty seat - inability to recline backwards

With our endless list of complaints we headed for the main office at our destination to file a complaint in the hope of claiming a refund. Or at least, some of it! Determined to get some justice we got 20 Argentinian pesos back to compensate us for our inconvenience. With extra money in our pockets, we saw it as a bonus, which helped pay for our first night at Tango Backpackers. On the taxi ride from Retiro bus station, Buenos Aires appeared more developed than anywhere in Brazil. In fact, with the traditional old buildings, tall and ancient, it resembled a romantic picturesque scene of Paris - only bigger and much livelier.

On our arrival at Tango, we were lucky enough to find a room at one of the most popular backpackers’ accommodation in the city. We rated our room as one of the best in South America on our travels, with a 360° panoramic view of the city.

Eager to check out the nightlife, we went out in the evening to a hip-hop club, recommended by Adriano. Maybe a little too eager as we soon discovered that the nightlife only comes alive after midnight. With time to kill, we spent time in the pizza parlour opposite and introduced ourselves to fellow English travellers, plus an American.

Over the next three days, we indulged ourselves by going on a 'mini' shopping spree along Santa Fe, where all the shops and restaurants stretch on for miles. Yes, we even took regular taxi rides from one shop to another! There are plenty of opportunities for shopping and it's also cheap but we were a little reluctant of causing baggage overload! Prior to our ski plans, we bought some waterproofs in preparation for our trip to Mendoza/Bariloche.

Our hostel hosted a BBQ night indoors, where the best steaks were cooked - we mingled with the rest of the backpackers in the hostel over dinner and wine. With our own bar, it was a good opportunity to get few rounds of drinks in before hitting the trendy bars in the next district. The ladies were escorted in Adriano's car while the others made their way there, only to find the club’s guest list full. With no other places to seek, we settled for a late-night bar, which permitted all activity except for dancing with bouncers pointing at the no-dancing signs after every attempt of a wiggle. Sam, our information guide who tagged along with us was dismayed with our persistent attitude, trying to win approval to dance the night away. Andre met his second new friend, an Antonio-Banderas look-alike, and it seemed that the Argentine's motto for a great night is to drink till you drop. And that's exactly what Andre did, which presented difficulties for the girls in dragging him home as his drunken speech meant taxi drivers gave us a wide berth!

The next morning, Andre had a massive hangover and also had to suffer the embarrassment of being reminded about his behaviour the previous night. We were excited as we went to watch an Argentine football match from the Apertura League. We bought our tickets from the hostel for the match between River Plate (home) and Velez and did not expect anything different from the typical British lager lout and football rants. But we were pleasantly surprised as the atmosphere at the stadium was better than we had hoped for as you can see from the photos. The crowds went wild with passion for their team, and the stadium consisted of 75% of River Plate fans throwing bog rolls! The stadium was a sea of rolling stripes from top to bottom, and the supporters of Velez (the team in blue) brought along the Patagonian flags and let off fireworks with blue smoke billowing out of the ground. Following a quick football match of Under 21's, the match was dominated by Velez although it was apparent River Plate are one of their main rivals, along with Boca Juniors. After two hours of sun and wild supporters, the day ended with a victory to Velez, 1-0. We spent the rest of the evening talking about our football experience.

With just one more night in Buenos Aires, we saved the best until last with a traditional Tango night. We had some tango lessons in a dance hall, where we learnt four different quickstep moves. Unlike contemporary dancing, we were taught to keep heads level, with a composed posture and dance at an elegant pace.

Intrigued at how much we had picked up in an hour and after receiving certificates from our tutors, we had a dinner/show booked where our tutors prepared for their big performance. While we were served with a 3-course meal, we had the pleasure of having tango music and watching the dancers perform live on stage. My, I was blown away from beginning to end; the dances were spectacular and the ladies looked absolutely stunning in their glittering dresses.

We continued to enjoy ourselves after the show came to an end at around midnight. It was too soon for us to head back home so we decided to make the most of our last night in BA in a casino by the harbour. With a few bucks to gamble, Andre spent the night playing blackjack whilst the ladies settled for just glasses of Baileys at the bar. Despite Andre winning 300 pesos, we decided enough was enough and left early enough to hit the sack for the next day's departure to the southern ski resort of Bariloche.

Click on photo to enlarge

River Plate fans go wild  Ta-da! Learning the Tango  Buenos Aires

Date Submitted: 09 Jul 2007

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