A Quick Hello and Good Bye

14 09 2008

Posted by: Laura

Travel dates: 6.20.08-6.30.08

If you look at a map of our South American travels, you would think that I had planned our itinerary and then gotten us hopelessly lost as we criss crossed the southern half of the continent. We traveled from Peru to Chile to Argentina back to Chile, then crossed back into Argentina for a few days, then back to Chile, then back to Argentina, then through Chile to Peru, then to Bolivia, and finally flew out of Argentina. There is rationality to this madness which I will not explain now other than to say that we went back to Buenos Aires to fly to Africa because Chris found us a cheap ticket. Chris is amazing at finding cheap tickets. In fact, I think he has discovered a talent. If you need any help planning your next vacation, he will be starting a travel agency business when we get back, so start saving up those vacation days.

After a rough experience in Bolivia, I was comforted by the thought of returning to Argentina. I had also gotten an email from Devon (one of my students) informing me that she and a group of Priory kids were visiting Argentina with their Spanish class. It just happened that our paths would cross in Tilcara, a small town in northwestern Argentina.

Tilcara is so small that our guide book barely mentions it, so we had no map when we arrived. As we left the bus stop, I stopped to ask a guy sitting in his front yard where the hostel was. He didn´t know, but went and got his phone and called a friend to get directions, then drew me a map in the dirt to make sure I understood his instructions. We have mentioned how friendly people are in Argentina. In Buenos Aires if we stopped on the street to look at our map for more than 60 seconds, someone would come over to ask us if they could help us with directions. Chris and I began joking that we needed to buy a plane ticket soon or we might not leave the country.

We met up for dinner with my former students and the Spanish teacher, Gulliver. I got the latest Priory news. Mrs. Newman is coming back to teach; Mr. D is dating Ms. Buccola, and so on. Devon updated me on running, while Marie imitated Chris´ half smile she had seen in pictures online. Katie Taylor and Will didn´t stop talking the entire time (which is the same thing they did in my classes). We even got up early the next morning to have breakfast with them before we headed off to Buenos Aires. I was so excited to see all of them. However, as we left, they were trying to sneak the hostel owner´s dog, Empanada, on the bus to go sight seeing with them. I was relieved that I was not responsible for them at that point, and I just had to figure out how to get myself to Buenos Aires. (Picture below: Marie, Devon, me).

Getting to Buenos Aires proved to be harder than expected since our bus got stuck in traffic. The 18 hour trip actually took 24 hours. After seven months of getting to a new city every few days and exiting the bus terminal carrying our bags, and trying to find our hostel without getting accosted by taxi drivers and vendors, or pick pocketed by people who brush past you, I was relieved to know exactly how to get to the metro station and where our hostel was located.

After checking into the hostel, we arranged our flight to Africa, picked up a package that Chris´ mom sent us, and had pizza with our friends Pamela and Ezequiel. Chris and I both decided to get hair cuts. Don’t worry, Chris still has a mullet. After two weeks of total time spent in Argentina, we know the best steak restaurant and ice cream store. We have great friends. We even have hair stylists. I know that we will probably never return to many of the cities and towns we pass through. But Buenos Aires is an exception because we will definitely be back here.

We are flying from Buenos Aires to Cape Town, South Africa for a change of pace. Wish us luck.

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