Viedma, Necochea and Mar del Plata

Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
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Trip End Feb 18, 2007


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Where I stayed
Welsh Guest House

Flag of Argentina  ,
Tuesday, December 26, 2006

From Wales to The Basque Country

There are just a few days left until Xmas, so as we leave behind the Welsh influenced Chubut valley, our plan is to try and get to Mar del Plata, a Basque influenced trendy beach resort, about 5 hours south of Buenos Aires, by Xmas eve. As all the direct buses from our current location are full until after Xmas, we take a bus to Viedma, a larger town some 5 hours further up the coast, and try our luck from there.
 
Viedma, as pleasant as it was, was not our optimal place to spend Xmas 2006. However, as luck would have it, a cancellation freed up two tickets on a coach to Necochea, a beach resort just two hours away from Mar del Plata. Unfortunately it was a night coach and not a sleeper service. It didn't bother us too much though, as we made sure we drank enough wine and beer to ensure we'd get some sleep. Marc even got kicked out of the bus terminal whilst swigging from his one litre bottle of beer, and told to drink it outside:-)

We woke up just before the bus pulled in to Necochea, though Marc said that the size his hangover canceled out any benefit of having been able to sleep on the overnight service. We spend a day in Necochea, walking around the park and strolling along the beach before arriving in Argentina's flashiest beach resort, Mar del Plata, on Xmas Eve.

Xmas Eve in Mar del Plata

After some last minute Xmas shopping, we get back to the hostel and just get ready in time for our Xmas Eve dinner. Our hostel has kindly put on a Xmas Eve BBQ for all us away from home foreigners. If there is one thing that the Argentinians know how to do well, it's to cook meat over a burning fire. Some of the tastiest meat we've ever tried was passed around our table that evening, as the Xmas backpacker crowd slowly became inebriated.

Midnight on the 24th is celebrated with some enthusiasm here in Argentina. Just seconds after 12am, people rush out to the front of their houses and pop open champagne bottles. Then, there is a continuous sound of fireworks going off as people light bangers and throw them aimlessly into the street. Apparently, this is also the busiest night of the year for Argentinian hospitals.

After we'd drunk the hostel dry, about 2am, we headed out with other travelers from the hostel to Mar del Plata's bar strip. As we make our way into an Irish themed pub, not only are we the first people out, the bar staff tell us that they are really surprised to have customers so "early" in the night. Of course, in true Argentinian style, the locals started to make an appearance at around 3am.

After the pub, we headed to a trendy club, and by this time, all the streets around the nightlife district were positively buzzing. I don't know if it's just a Xmas thing, but what impressed us most about the nightlife was how well the Argentinians dress when they go out. Us backpackers must have really stood out.
 
As we left the club around 6am, and the Xmas day sun started to make an appearance, we just couldn't help staring in amazement at the atmosphere. You couldn't move for the party-goers that had packed into every street, the lines were still long to enter the discos, people were drinking and singing in the street, but there was no trouble, just an electric jovial party atmosphere.

Xmas Day 2006

The major downside of going out so late, is that you spend most of the next day sleeping. For this reason, our plan of emulating our Australian Xmas of 2005 by spending Xmas day on the beach, didn't kind of happen, as we didn't get up until late afternoon. Still, we got up in time to take an evening strong around the suburb of our hostel, which made us realize that Mar del Plata has the best houses that we've seen anywhere in Latin America. There is literally street after street of attractive Basque style houses with large attractive gardens, the area looked so European.

Next, we travel north to visit a capital city which we've heard so much about, and which will also be our home for New Year, Buenos Aires.
 
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