November 21, 2005 GMT
Flying to Buenos Aires

Wed 26th Oct 2005

Manchester - Buenos Aires

After a night at Marcia & Bruces it's a very leisurely start to the long journey over the water.

Not off to a great start after flight delayed from Manchester to Madrid by 2hrs, plane sent from London to get past whatever the problem was Occassional nerves, balanced by occasional smiles of realisation it is starting. The window seat I gained (looks all booked on next leg but who knows) was a corker - Paul mate, on the BA 737-300 try to get the seats A or F11 by wing emergency exit - no seat in way, fantastic leg room - Bev could lay out full length, shame this is only a 2hour flight rather than the follow on what 7-10hr one.

Flying out over - I guess Liverpool - in the evening, streetlights aglow due to delay, lovely sunset & a glass of wine to toast the trip. Most of the Brits in the airport were reading weekend guides to Madrid, never saw a title of "a very long time in South America" so made do with trying to suss how not to get ripped off with a taxi to town from the airport to Buenos Aires.....assume we'll fail - time will tell ! Madrid, just like any airport. Brazillian (I assume) iin front of us at customs gate wasn't allowed his helmet through - one guard was tryiing to say can''t he pt it in his bag ? but his colleague was having none of it - glad our's are in the crate. Strange logic - assume concern for robbery / terrorism ? Busy flighy out, including avery large party of Eire 'challenge walk' ladies, with about two blokes...t'be sure ! strange accents among the 'locals'.

Surprisingly struggling to tell the locals from tourists - not so different looking - not so worried about being a bit blonde and a bit pale - plenty of this lot are too - that'll change further down – well up - the route I strongly suspect. Luckily the AC is off at mo' so getting ready for the heat.

Changed the Palm to Madrid time (hour ahead) and now to Rio time ready for a.m. So now we're back from nearly midnight (11pm UK) to 20.00. AC now on thank god - getting hot with all these folk, the sound of the Irish laughing all around.(found out later their challenge is 10kms a day for 5 days, long way to come for a walk - Cancer Research will benefit though) Having missed the joys of "Bewitched" at Thirsk on Monday (but sensibly not the beer eh Mark), it looks like we've not been spared it as, guess what the in flight movie is ? Indeed you guessed it, that and "A Good Woman" (obviously a fictional comedy I guess - best not let Bev see that comment). I shall hang on for a bit of food, then I think I'll go for some medical help to assist sleep. I never manage sleep on long flights and it knocks me back a day least, so, this time I got private persription of Tamazipan (Sp) I may have just desribed a drug only issued to pychopaths - in which case I retract it ! But side-effects over-looked, cue me being bodily dragged off aircraft in 12hrs time still unconcious, ho hum. Only 10,000kms to go, and about 12hrs. Even the
radio's looking up with some great Foo Fighters, at this rate I'm in danger of staying awake........were did I put that tablet now?

Well the 10 minute chew followed by everlasting peace was like typical advertising....a little exagerated....after 10 minutes...nothing happened. Oh well, not a bad nights kip anyway, certainly had several hours worth, even if on off rather than constant, maybe two on way back - if I can find them in 6 months time. Bev as usual managed OK all on her own

Cool landing approach - tail-mounted camera showing whole plane on approach, round of applause on landing - always a poor sign of trust in my book, first time since taking a turkish flight to Istanbul.

Right hoe to explain thid one the, here goes. Arrived at airport to discover time is an hour different - nothing of a problem. Took a 'repise' (booked) taxi to the Moto Hotel of Sandra & Javiers, $22, it's a snarled up HUGE city and hence the airport is a way out and the traffic is HORRENDOUS. Arrive at the address and all closed up and no one home - it's adifferent address to Dakar Mot's so not the bike shop. Luckily I had the telephone number of the shop and the next door neighbour - a car garage - rang for me and the lady on the other end who spoke English asked to speak to me. The news wasn't good, unexpectedly Javiers father had passed away and they were away to deal with the funeral. This left us in a bit of a quandry as the area of the Moto Hotel is well out of town and there was not a thing locally, even by way of phone never mind accommodation or anything. The lady gave me two numbers to call in Sandra and Jaxiers absence. The first was engaged, the second a lady called Sandra, and a surname like 'aper' (Sandra's is Kaper - this is were it gets confusing) started to check for a booking. It was apparent she knew nothing of us but was helpfully saying send me an email and I'll try to book you something' I explained we were in BA and stuck, eventually after a couple of more calls from the garage I got them to agree to us coimng to that address. We still had the booked taxi, were still on the garage phone, so thought face to face was best. The garage wouldn't take anything for the calls and we gave the taxi the new address fearing a colateral hit on the charges. The new address was central BA and so a long busy rideaway.


05-10-31-DowntownBA.JPG

Downtown Buenos Aires


At least we got to see the real centre of downtown BA - much different to what we'd seen so far. It's warm verging on summer in UK by way, but dry to start. We arrived at the address and sussed the way in afre paying a reasonable $12 on top. The Sandra I spoke to met us and took us up to a rather flash front dest of what looked like a posh office - we think for booking rather nicer appartments than we would be looking for. She looked at the four odd numbers we had, spoke good English and started calling them to try and make sense of it all.

There was obviously a mistake, but this Sandra was making serious headway on our behalf. We spoke to Facundo, Javiers son and he explained about the funeral and passed on there apologies for not being able to meet us - I said no problem, family first and not to worry. He gave us the number for Mirko – turns out another motorcycle traveller from Germany who toured here and two months ago settled with his Argetinian girlfriend to set up a tourism business. He knew Sandra & Javier and would sort us out. Another taxi that Mariela the girl who had taken over from Sandra and sorted us hailed, and we were off on another magical mystery tour to find Mirko. $5 more and we arrived. He spent a bit of time getting things sorted and suggested we booked somewhere for the night to take any hassle off S&J, and we said do two as they have enough to worry about. Sandra rang while we were there, from funeral, and apologised again - no need in circumstances obviously.

On the spot accommodation booking is never great but we could either have an entire appartment for 2 nights for 364 peso's, lets say 5 to £ so £70-75 more than we wanted but only other hostel was £20 for the two of us two nights but in seperate male / female 12 bunk dorms...oh well, here we are in our appartment...ho hum !

Mirko took us out to get some food but we bought in exchange for assistance, all of £10 for three of us steak sandwiches, soft drinks, then coffee.

Aha - I forget something ! Getting money...or not...went to ATM put in card keyed number, got number wrong, got it right, requested 300 Peso's, nothing more - nice receipt, no money ( no transaction) and no card...what is going on today ! Laugh...oh yeah ! The lady from bank said manager would get card out as they closed, and we could get it back tomorrow lunchtime. What next then eh. Bev used the other machine were you jab you card in and out - like a swipe - and continued to get the 300 out - phew - not the card then, the other ATM, caution in future me thinks.

Went back to the office and Mirko took us to the subway and explained about tickets and how to use them and sent us on our way to find our des res apartment at Anchrena 1714 - stick that in your Google Earth and smoke it !

After another bit of figuring out how to a) get in and b) book it we werehome and dry...bloody hell...what a day...not 24 hrs from home. Still, obviously in all this the folk you have a problem is not us, it's Javier, who has lost his father.

The thing to spring from this for us, is the fantastic people, I mean Mriela didn't know us from Adam, but helped get us sorted, and Mirko took it the next step to get us at least in somewhere.

Thank God we didn't have to collect the bike today! Somewhere in this city is Nik, a fellow Brit who arrived yesterday, and is to try and release his bike from the port tomorrow - if you're out there Nik, is our address anywhere near you ? Where for art though Nik ? Might be nice to actch up - we're here until Saturdy morning, thence to Dakar Motos to hopefully catch up with S&J if it's suitable for them, family first.

It rained today, as forecast, but not much. It's preety warm but not unpleasant...unless you were in full bike gear in this traffic...oh dear ! So we have two toilets, a double bed, AC if we want, a balcony view of the big city, TV, kitchen so we can cook in if we want and, and...a bath. We just need to perhaps have a shower for now, find an internet cafe to mail our adventures, find a shop that sells food and beer and chill out. That being said we have 8 goes on the subway left so I guess we should get out and get adventurous and see some of the centre with little baggage, and a small amount of money (safebox in room) Fear yea not, we're in good spirits and health, in the hands of very good people, and still having an adventure even on day 1....whatever next. More soon !

(And even this is a second attempt as I couldn´t get me Palm to read on PC, try two, card reader - sucess!)

Posted by Simon McCarthy at November 21, 2005 09:59 PM GMT
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