Farewell to a great pair

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Monday, December 27, 2010




Waking up, I gingerly rose after my 'lengthy' sleep but felt far from lethargic. I quickly smoothed out the duvet and went to get my jeans that had been draped over one end of the bed. Just before I could reach them, one of my Dutch roommates came out of the bathroom (not that one) and caught me just in my underwear. As her eyes not so subtly went down and up again, she was struggling to keep eye contact. With these actions I laughed in my head whilst slowly putting on my jeans. (I may have acted like I was putting on a pair of jeans in the adverts of 1980’s). The age old checking out action was happening. In light of her 'friendly actions' I did not act on it.

I succumbed to pressure that had been building up since Estoril. The provided breakfast I could do no longer. As I would be checking out the next day and would therefore in a rush to beat the 11 a.m. checkout time, today was the only option. It was time for a real breakfast. To alter things instead of a continental version, I opted for ‘Full English’ breakfast. Beans, bacon, toast, sausages, mushrooms and orange juice. Needless to say I was happy consuming it.

The other Dutch traveller who kept me up last night was behaving precariously. Not only did she not even make eye contact at breakfast, she repeated the action in the room. I attribute it to the embarrassment over last night and it made an awkward atmosphere.

With nothing heavy on the agenda I decided to take the afternoon off to plan. Outside  a café with El Obelisco facing me, the travel guide was opened and I undertook the task of planning where I should go next. As with the number of hours getting place to place were longer than expected, the bus fares were expensive too. At around £70 per journey and with an average time of fifteen hours, both would be ‘taxing’. Reading through the section on Argentina, struggling to make my mind up where to go, the midday sun tired me.

After buying a drink to sooth my dehydration, I relocated to a bench on Nueve de Julio, under the shade of trees. Still having trouble on a decision, I recalled Ben, Henna, Chris and Jukka visiting Iguazu Falls. Hearing that it was spectacular from Chris, I immediately thought of going to see it. So with the plan hatched I decided on leaving tomorrow. For tickets there had been a ticket sales sign at Hostel Estoril or failing that I could purchase them at the bus terminal station.

With my mind cleared I lent back on my bench and watched the people and the traffic. Doing this was a very peaceful experience and the only thought was how to respond if anyone answered me a question. Pleased to report I was not bothered but my vision was drawn to a few people cooling down in a nearby fountain. It was not as bad as the previous Thursday with a family bathing at one in Plaza de Mayo but not good. Through my dark lensed shades I snuck looks at unscrupulous characters whilst at the same time keeping my book open to look occupied. As a female Police Officer walked nearby I was mindful not to draw attention to myself. This was not out of guilt but the fact that I could not communicate in Spanish if needed to. When she walked past I was relieved.

As I needed a break I took a stroll. With no idea where to go I ended up at Escuela Presidente Roca and it’s surrounding plaza. A few pictures were snapped as more refreshments were purchased. On the way back a tad uncertain where I was, the maps were consulted. Each time I stopped off and sat down to plot where I was. My worries were of looking like a lost tourist and making sure I was not going to get pick pocketed due to being distracted. Nothing untoward took place I can happily report.

With the purchase of a bus ticket in mind, I headed to Estoril. At the sixth floor I was told the issuement of tickets were at the first floor; back to the elevator. Yet again some unknown person did not fully close the elevator door. This meant have to walk down five flights of stairs in a swirled fashion. Feeling guilty of not getting enough exercise, I would ‘pelt’ up/down the stairs and feel slightly dizzy at the end of it. Probably not the smartest of moves but it kept my figure 'trim'.

The transaction was smooth and with the bus leaving tomorrow evening, I had just over a day left in Buenos Aires. As I had done all that had been needed to do but was sad to leave; I felt  in ‘limbo’. Yes I had spent too long here but it had been fun. However with uncertainty around the corner I became anxious. Laying in one of the hammocks, thoughts turned to truly being alone over the next few days. I started to welcome the challenge.

Feeling hungry I made my way to the exit where Heidi and Amanda had just come in. They were surprised at my presence and sounded apologetic when talking to me. They thought they were not going to see me and possibly regretted me going yesterday evening.

With their flight being late into the evening they wanted to take me out for an early dinner. As I agreed, I was under the illusion of ‘going Dutch’ for the meal. Not being fussy about what we would eat I agreed with the choice of sushi. Walking down Avenida de Mayo we did not know where a sushi restaurant would be. Just before hailing a cab I made the point of there being not enough time to search for one. So we agreed to go to a nearby restaurant; Iberia.

As Amanda had the best knowledge of Spanish, we let her order. (Nacho had given us a good tip on what type of steak and side to order. Many thanks dude!) With my freshly given nickname of Tenderloin; that was indeed, what I ordered. With it being their last day and as they had completed a successful sky dive earlier, we ordered a few gin and tonics. I enjoyed Amanda ordering as when she finished she said "te amo" (I love you) to the waiter. He replied “I love you too.” Exchanges and moments like this make travel truly memorable.

The meal consisted of steak coupled with melted cream potatoes. Easily, the best meal so far. In fairness the meals up to then had been superb but this topped them. During conversation Heidi asked me, “we don’t know anything about you, tell us more.” Apart from the basics and a few ‘bits’ that was all they got. Few people know me very well and even then there is quite a lot that is still untold. It is more than just being a private person. I’m sorry guys. I appreciated you caring but do not take it offensively, it is just how I am 'wired'.

With time being scarce we left immediately after we had finished the meal. Two points of note: with the girls not finishing the bottle of wine; they took it with them and they ‘footed’ the bill. They did not elude to the gesture of looking after them a few days back but I gathered it was for that. Being not comfortable with gestures like that, my money was on the table but was given back to me. After a ’protest’ I gave in. It was a great gesture in truth; thank you guys, it will not be forgotten.

Walking back to the hostel, Amanda bear hugged me from behind. I acknowledged it but got “I don’t think you are a ladies man”, from her. As she let go I sighed and changed the conversation. I thought would be foolish to do anything more now. I viewed them both as good friends.

Getting in the front door of the hostel I made the point of the bottle of wine would not be allowed on the plane. As it was open I did not think it would get past customs. With the option of storing it in ‘checked’ luggage being risky as it could break, they decided to drink it. With me not drinking white wine they finished the bottle on two attempts apiece! I thanked the girls for their company not only for today but for most of last week too. With this year being such an awful one, I hoped they understood what ‘rays of light’ they were. In addition I would like to add to that the majority of people I met in Buenos Aires. For the record I have been to the city on three occasions but this trip was by far, the best.

As they got ready to grab their luggage, Amanda handed me a piece of paper. She had written her name for facebook purposes. It is funny looking back as I totally forgot that an American (mainly) founded that service and wondered whether Americans used it. With that I gave her my substantial name. With the time being after 7 p.m. and the need to make ‘check in’ I hugged and wished them both farewell. On the first floor through the reception window I looked to make sure they got a cab to the airport. It had been a pleasure.
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