Buenos Aires - Serious Shit

Trip Start May 12, 2013
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23
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Trip End Jul 30, 2013


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Flag of Argentina  , Obelisk,
Sunday, June 2, 2013

After our breakfast at Calafate, we boarded the taxi at 930 for the airport. Took the 11.45 aerolineas flight for Buenos Aires.

Arrived at around 3, and took a taxi on meter to Hostel Milhouse Avenue. Hostel looks nice, our 4 bed room seems to be 2 stories high (doors the same height as well, as in old European buildings). We were almost out of pesos, and had to ask the hostel to allow us to pay tomorrow. They took one of our passports and insisted we pay today. We needed cash so we set off looking for a money changer. Two Argentinian friends we met back at Natales told me of a good place to exchange near Alto Palermo mall, which was a few metro stops away. So that was our first destination.

We walked from our hostel towards to large obelisk memorial, which was where the green metro line was (receptionist could have just told us we could change metro lines from the metro line at our doorstep). We spotted the green metro line 9 de Julio, and was about the descent to the station, when someone from somewhere poured some stinky sauce (we suspect its hairdye) at our back. Almost immediately, a man and woman came near us, offering to help clean it up. Sensing something was not right, I brushed them off and continued down to the platform. The back of my jacket, and lower pants was hit by quite a bit of that substance, which we cleaned away at the control station, away from those two scammers.

Coincidentally at the platform, we bumped into a Singaporean backpacker from NTU as well, who ALSO got hit by that substance, and some old man tried to feel into his pockets to steal some stuff then. Thank god nothing got stolen.

We took the metro to the Bulnes metro station, and it was easy to find that secret changing location which our friends recommended. But, as it was a Sunday, the doors were closed. We decided to walk towards the touristy Palermo district to look for other money changers, but could not find any. We turned back in hope that the place would open after 5, but that didn't happen as well. We decided to return back to the hostel to ask for an extension of payment.

We had only 40 pesos left, and deducting our transport fare to change money tomorrow, we will only have 25 pesos for dinner. Walked to the nearby Chinese run 'supermarket' to grab some pasta and sauce. As we left the store, which was less than 5 minutes from the hostel, we got splashed by that stinky substance, again. This time though, no one approached. But luckily still, we didn't lose anything.

What a day it has been. It's been the first time I had been targeted for a scam. Twice in the same day made it even more eventful. Speaking with a polish tourist at the hostel about safety in South American cities made me more cautious of the roads ahead. Better safe than sorry.

Buenos Aires, Argentina
2154, 2 Jun 2013
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