Detroiter Back-Packs Across South America by:Amar Abro
Every single person I told that I was going to Colombia told me the same thing, don't get kidnapped. Don't get killed. All idiots. Colombia is amazing and beautiful and the people are wonderful. We arrived this afternoon. Me and Joe. It's awesome that one of my best friends of 22 years decided to take a weekend off to come to Colombia with me. We met the nicest girl on the airplane ride here, Adriana. She lives in bocagrande, which is where we decided to start our trip. She has showed us around and introduced us to tons of her friends, and they are taking us on a tour of the coast tomorrow. And then they are taking us to some island the following day.
So we are still alive, despite the 6:1 odds people were giving us for surviving our first day. Everything is great, except for the little shakedown with the policia earlier, but they ended up being cool.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2009
Sophia and Adriana picked us up this morning and gave us a tour before bringing us to Old Town Cartagena. It's beautiful. Very historic and colonial. The entire city is surrounded by giant walls that were built a zillion years ago to fight off invading pirates. Seriously. We are staying at a 16th century colonial Spanish inn. Very cool. Tonight we are meeting up with a group of locals and Irish backpackers.
Este es Colombia... (EEC)
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2009
Isla de Rosario
We disappeared for the past 2 days to a mostly deserted island. it was kinda like that movie the beach. we heard about it through the locals..they said there are a chain of small islands an hour off shore, used be used by the pirates. we got on a boat and decided to go. very cool tiny little island. about a dozen of us went, and only 4 of us stayed. Everyone left the island in the early afternoon except for Joe and i and this Frenchman and his wife. There were a few locals somewhere else on the island too I think. It was badass to have an entire island paradise all to ourselves. The French couple were great people. We played a game of Petonque (or as we would call it, bocci ball.) we swam out to a mermaid in the ocean, got a local to catch us some fresh lobsters and had them for lunch. The sunset was amazing and the moon was huge and lit up the ocean and the island. We sat for hours with the French couple and just talked about the world, like all travelers do. Luckily their English was pretty good. We slept in a cabana on the beach that looked like it was going to blow over with the strong, really strong, winds. The next morning came some more people on another boat. A couple from Chicago. Very cool people too. They didn't know really any Spanish, so we invited them to join our gang for awhile, and we tried to give them the little knowledge we had acquired about our island. We returned this evening to Cartagena. I think I am going to Bogot tomorrow and Joe is going to leave me for boring times back in the states. He has loved his journey thus far he says, and I'm so glad he came along. I have a friend of a friend meeting me in Bogot, hopefully, that has invited me to stay with her and her family for a night while I get situated and get to the Brazilian consulate. She has been a big help so far. Hopefully shaker is still alive and is going to meet me in Bogot soon, before I leave for Brazil.
So far everything has been amazing. The island experience was surreal. It was a vindicating feeling to be on the beach with only a handful of people on the entire island, in the middle of nowhere, off the coast of Colombia. I hope the rest of my journey can be just half as good as this!
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2009
Bogota, fukin Bogota. I got here yesterday in the afternoon. Joe and I headed to the airport together where we parted ways. It's great that he came with me. The first step I took when we split made me get a sudden rush of nervous adrenaline when right away I realized holy shit, I am all alone in Colombia now. I caught my flight to Bogota and luckily for me, my new friend Puala and her brother met me at the airport. I stayed with their family last night. They were the warmest most welcoming family ever. Wonderful people. Paula spent the day with me today showing me all of Bogota, and thank God she did because this is one big cluster fuk of a city. I had to spend some time earlier at the Embassy of Brazil, working on getting my visa to go to Rio de Janiero. Then we explored Bogota all day.
Bogota is kind of like a Latin Chicago. It is NOTHING like I have seen it portrayed in Hollywood. Hollywood bastards distorting everything.
I am staying at the Hotel Charlotte in the middle of Bogota tonight with another friend that is from Minneapolis, Rod. He happens to be here on business by coincidence. Im glad he is. We just had some coffee and are going to head out for the night. The coffee here is great by the way. Colombia is famous for a handful of things, and one of them is definitely coffee. The others are Pablo Escobar, cocaine, LOS FARC and narco traffico. And all of those things are pretty damn accurate.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2009
This is one fuked up town. I left Bogota earlier in search of some really old semi newly discovered underground cathedral. And that has brought me to the crazy town of Zipaquira...
I have spent the past few days in Bogota. The city grew on me. I spent my 2nd night there at Rods hotel with him. We headed out for beers and some tapas. Had a great time. He left the next morning and if off to explore Europe. I recommended some great unheard of places in Italy for him to go to, and we were up till about 3am checking em out online. I hope it's great for him, he's a good guy.
I flew solo for most of the next day, and I ended up with Paula again exploring the city. She really is a saint. I think she is going to revolutionize Colombia one day with the movements she talks about with her friends. We went to the gold museum today, where I ended up meeting a girl from Rochester Hills. Crazy huh. I really had not seen another American in all of Bogota, except Rod of course, and the first and only person I ended up meeting lives just an hour from me. Small world.
At the gold museum I had this crazy urge to steal everything I saw. I wanted just one ancient priceless gold artifact to hang up in my room or something. Damnit. Everything was being glass though, believe me, I looked.
I had good luck at the Brazilian Embassy by getting my visa a few days ahead of schedule. I think I am going to head to Rio on Tuesday. I can't wait for that. CARNIVAL!!!
So here I am not in Zipaquira. Haven't seen any hauntingly ancient cathedral yet, but I will head there in the morning. This is definitely not the kind of place tourists go. There are DEFINITLY no other backpackers for a million miles from here. I explored and found quickly that this is a dive town. I had a beet and some grub for less than $1. Crazy huh.
I am going to try to catch another bus from here to Villa de Lleva after I explore this cathedral. The plan is to meet Shaker there. But we are about 8 days behind schedule for planning our rendevous.
The travels continue, still no clue what day I am going to make it back to the states...though I have gotten some news that are probably going to make me cut my travels shorter than the 2 or 3 months I hope to be gone.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2009
So I made it to the underground cathedral yesterday in the morning. It was very cool. Apparently it is an old salt mine that depleted all of its salt, so the miners decided to carve alters and crosses and erect statues in the caves of the mines and turn it into a cathedral. Very hauntingly eerie mystical place. I liked it a lot.
So, on to some expected Colombian fuked up parts of the trip. I heard of a little something called miracle fishing before heading down here to Colombia. It is the paramilita/guerilla act of taking entire buses full of passengers off the road and interrogating every passenger hoping to find one worth kidnapping and holding. Los FARC has been notorious for such acts. So along my route from Zipaquira to Villa de Vella, where I am now, I was on a bus driving the Colombian countryside. Some real remote middle of nowhere mountain roads. All of a sudden, our bus slowed down, and I saw several heavily armed military dressed gunman flag down our bus and force us to pull over. Im not going to lie, I was scared to death for a minute. The old man next to man seemed very nervous, and told me to just be cool. I had no idea what was going on. A man with a .223 assault rifle, maybe a Kalashnikovs Russian made rifle or something, came on board, and yelled something in Spanish. Very quickly. Everyone began to get off the bus and line the side of the road. I was the last one off, and no one seemed to want to tell me what was going on. As I looked out the window, I saw several armed men interrogating everyone and searching all the men and taking everyone's id. I debating ditching my passport because I had no idea still what was happening. But decided to just see what happens. I got off, and a man with a gun yelled at me for my id, and when I gave him my US passport, his face lit up. Not good I thought. He put me against the bus and two men searched me. They asked me to wait away from the rest of the group and they took off with my passport. I saw them go to what appeared to be a high ranking guy and give him my passport and point to me. They talked amongst each other. I still had no idea if this was the Colombian military, or los farc, or the LAN, or the m19 I had heard so much about. Two guards brought me to the commandante. He asked me what I was doing there. I told him I was going to villa de lleva to visit friends. And he asked me what my business was in Colombia, and then several other interrogative questions. He was a big Arnold Schwarzenegger looking dude, very armed, and very fuking intimidating. He left me with some guards, and walked off for a minute. Everyone was staring at me. By the time he came back, I was already considering a run for it, or maybe a dash for one the guns or something, but I knew it was a horrible idea. It was a fuked up situation. He returned to me, smiled and held out his hand for a hearty kind handshake and said bienvenidos a Colombia. I was so relieved. I had no idea what was happening still. But I let out a smile and even laughed out loud. He pulled a chair for me and sat with me and talked for a few. Very very friendly guy it turned out. He ended up explaining to me that El Presidente Uribe was in the area on political business, and the Colombian army was on very high alert because of the assassination attempts and death threats against the president, and they were just taking precautions. Holy shit did I ever let out a sigh of relief. I actually started contemplating the thought of years in a Colombian guerilla camp as a hostage. But in the end we shared some laughs and even took a group photo. They even offered to let me shoot off one of their rifles into the mountains for fun. Great people the Colombians are.
So nonetheless, I am safe and fine. And the same thing happened to me 2 more times on the way here still. They do not take guarding the president lightly. There have been many attempts on taking his life and death threats are a daily occurrence for him.
So I am villa de lleva now, with shaker. We met up last night. Everything is good. I even got offered a job today by some locals to stay in this village and lead rock climbing trips into the mountains, since I was a rock climbing instructor back home for 4 years and all. There are a lot of extreme sports locally here in this village and the surrounding mountains, and they are in need of experienced rock climbers. I told em I would think about it....
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2009
Villa de Lleva
Still in Colombia and still alive and well. I am going to head to Brazil tomorrow though. I am in a little village with all cobblestone paved old streets that's surrounded by mountains. Been here for a few days with Shaker. It's a nice town, and it's the kind of place where the locals look at you like an idiot if you ask if they take credit cards for anything. The entire town was declared a national landmark in Colombia because everything here is original and preserved since the 1500s. There is not a single piece of modern architecture in the entire village. We made a couple friends...a local girl and a British guy, and sat at a little tiny bar drinking for 5 hours last night because the bar played mostly 80s American rock music. Good stuff.
Some guy asked me to help him with his English homework, so I did, and he invited us to his family's cafe where we sat with his family having coffee and amaretto for awhile. the people are so welcoming.
And oh yea, there are 3 ducks that live at our hostel, and they scare the shit out of me at night when I open the door and its pitch black and they run up on me quacking.
Time here moves slowly, and that's good. The people don't seem to know or care much about what's going on outside the village. Life is good and happy. The weather is nice. The church bells ring every hour. And los farc is nowhere around here...
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2009
I am at the airport in Bogota, getting ready for a loooong flight to Rio de Janiero. Never went through so much damn security and checkpoints in my life. This country is nuts, but I love it.
So I am leaving Colombia, and I will for sure miss it. Out last day in Villa was good. I don't really know why, but I had a horrible urge all day to steal a jeep or a motorcycle while I was there. I'm not a bad person; I think it's wrong to steal. But I mean it would have been ok I think, I would have brought it back after a little joyride...I woulda even topped off the gas can. The mountains around villa were amazing, so I thought it would be nice to drive through them for awhile. ask and you shall receive right... well we were walking the streets, and what do I see right at my feet, as if a gift from God himself, but a motorcycle key. It even had a saint on the keychain. It was for sure gifts from God, saying go ahead Amar, take the bike for a ride, just be careful. So naturally I spent the next 20 minutes trying the key in every bike I saw parked in the area...AND I GOT NOTHING. Not a one of them would start with that key. I was very disappointed. I thought for sure I had it all worked out. I decided to be a good citizen and drop the key off to la policia. Shaker told me I was an idiot and that some Colombian was probably going to kill me for messing with his moto, but I was careful.
At night we sat at a bar with mark and Juana, and 2 policias came up on motos, and Juana had one of them convinced to let me borrow his moto for just 10 minutes, but just then his commander came up, and he quickly changed his mind. Damnit. So needless to say, I never stole a motorcycle, or a jeep....maybe
villa was a great place. Except for the rooster that woke us up at our hostel, and the 6 year old little boy that kept appearing and disappearing (which we concluded was a ghost 100 percent for sure). But I guess what could we expect for $6 dollar a night at a place run by a stoned out hippie named Manfred right?
Now I am heading to Brazil. Carnival is in just a few days and I hear it's supposed to be one of the best years for it ever....
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2009
I am actually in Rio de Janiero now, but just arrived a little while ago. I spent about 25 hours straight traveling from villa de lleva, to Bogot, to Lima, to Rio. I had a descent layover in Lima, so I rounded up a group of backpackers all sitting around and we drank at a bar for a while. It was the best layover I've ever had flying. I remember the pisco sours Blake and I drank when we were ion Peru a year ago, so I decided to get loaded up before my next long flight so I could just pass out...worked pretty good. The gang in Lima was a girl from Melbourne, a guy from NY, a guy from Bogot, and a girl from London. Cool crew. Maybe see them again soon along the trail, because that's how it always works out when you travel the big world...you realize how small it actually can be.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2009
Rio de Janiero
Rio! What a city. Lives up to everything I have ever heard or seen about it before. The beaches are unlike any I have ever been to. Sooo many gorgeous women. All the streets are canopy covered with big exotic green trees way high up.
I arrived here a few days ago, met some brothers from Norway and we made ground together for Copacabana. It's a pretty easy city to get by in if you are half decently resourceful. I made my way to the apartment I am staying at with 3 Australian dancer girls, 1 Aussie guy, a girl from Scotland, and a girl from Toronto. It's a pretty good setup. Everyone is cool, and friendly.
I spent the first day here on Copacabana beach with a different group of Aussies. This town is full of fukin Aussies. They are fun people. I used to think I was a good swimmer, till the undertow at the beach in Copa dragged me down and out. Damn, it was bad. I went a bit too far out, thinking I know something about the ocean, and the waves were peaking over me and nailing me to the ocean floor and pulling me way back. I was the oceans bitch for sure. It was little nerve wrecking for a bit fighting my way back in. Even the locals told me I was nuts for going out that far.
That's why I stayed closer to shore yesterday at Ipanema beach. There are amazing cliffs at each end of the shoreline, which are hikeable. There are gorgeous views that are never ending in every direction. Jessica, one of my new Aussie friends and I stayed there forever. It's the kind of place you don't want to leave.
We have a view of the giant Christ statue from our apartment too, which really isn't that a big a deal though, cause you can see it from pretty much most of Rio. But it is very very cool. I love Jesus ya know, so it's nice to see him with his arms wide open every time I look up.
Carnival started last night, and it is already proved to be one giant cluster fuk of a mad time. Crazy.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2009
Carnival is fukin crazy. There are millions of people in this city and they are all out of their minds. I love it. Beaches by day, street parties and bars every night. 2 nights ago we came home at about 5, and yesterday we just didn't come home to sleep. Yesterday I needed to feel holy for a bit, so I finally made it to the giant statue of Jesus on the mountain overlooking Rio. Cristo Redentor they call it, or Christ the Redeemer. I was really in awe. It was a much needed change of pace and mental state of mind from what I have been used to for the past several days. I love Jesus you know. It was amazing. There's a beautiful chapel inside to say a prayer, and a view that you could stare at for hours. It was a bit emotional being there actually praying and thinking about a few of the things back home that I keep losing sleep over. It was good to be there though. It helped a lot actually.
I met a girl yesterday on a metro that had an interesting story to tell me. I think she was an Aussie or something. She told me that she was staying in a hostel that got robbed. No biggie I thought, these things happen right. Then she tells me no, not like this. Apparently, as she claimed, 7 armed gunmen with automatic rifles and hand grenades stormed her hostel, threw down the staff, and tied up 40 or so people and looked them all in rooms and bathrooms, threatening to blow up everything and kill everyone as they robbed the place. She said it was horrifying, but she seemed like she cared more to party and get over it. I wasn't sure how much I believed her, or how accurate her story was, till I read thishttp://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5771267.ece
stating every single thing she said to be true. That's crazy shit huh. Those bastards are lucky they didn't try to rob me, because, obviously, I could take down 7 guys with guns and grenades no problem.
So another thing about Rio. The slum poor areas are called the favealas. They are supposedly some of the most dangerous places on earth, where life is very cheap. The little kids carry huge guns at 9 years old and killing is no big deal because there is no police presence there. It's all run like an organized crime family too they say, where there are leaders, and they say what goes and what doesn't. I heard that 3 Norwegian tourists accidently drove through the favealas recently because their GPS system routed them through. They were shot at, one was killed, one was wounded, and one survived.
What's even crazier is that people take guided tours through these fuked up places. The top guys give the ok for tours, because the money goes to the people of the faveleas. Some of my roommates went on one, and they took pictures. I said what the hell, this looks like a nice neighborhood in Detroit!!! What are they complaining about? The Rio faveleas aint got shit on Cass corridor!
There is a craaazy huuuge parade every night of Carnival in the sambodrome. It starts at 10pm, and goes till 8am or so. Its where all the hot chicks (and there are a million) dress in huge costumes and dance for an hour down the parade avenue. I went the other night. It was nuts. The people here just don't sleep. Ever. All of my Aussie roommates participated in the parade. The sun came up and the music was still pounding and the people were still going crazy in the sambodrome and the parade seemed like it would never stop.
I think I'm going to get outta Rio tomorrow though. I can't take a lot more of the madness. I need to post up on a quiet beach and mellow out for a couple days. I heard of a nice place south of here a few hours called Paraty. Sounds like my next stop...
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2009
I heard that the local futbol (that's soccer to us Americans) team in Rio was in the playoffs this week against some bastard rival team from the south. So I thought, a futbol game in Brazil, that's gotta be a riot. And it was.
Me and Elena (my Canadian roommate) and Maeve (my Irish roommate) decided to score tickets and go. I met a couple of American guys along the way, and they decided to come along too. Some coast guard guys. One from Cali and one from Chicago. The stadium is supposedly legendary because it holds like 80,000 or something, but I told em our big house in Ann Arbor holds over 111,000 and that they can't compete with us. You know, being a typical arrogant American and all.
We went to the game, and it was mad. Very mad. The Brazilians take futbol very seriously. And seeing as how much I love the game too, I was very into it too. There were some serious lunatics sitting around us, and I joined them in the fun. When we scored, we went absolutely fuking nuts. Throwing things everywhere and jumping up and down and bouncing off the walls. And when the other bastard team scored, we yelled and cussed and threw shit everywhere then too. It was pretty out of hand. It was so fun. I have never ever been to a sports match where everywhere everyone was sooo passionate about winning. Everyone was soo into it.
Well, we ended up losing. Kinda sucked. I was pissed, but only for a minute because I realized why should I care at all about either damn team.
Rio has drained every last bit of life out of me. Carnival is no joke. No sleep. No rest. Not for the weak. This past week has defiantly been a ``live fast and die young`` mentality...and I have got to get away from that. I guess I am not as young as I once was. Anywhere sounds good right now. The south has some great quiet places I hear to relax on a beach and recover...
I am DEFINITLY going to miss my mates from Australian and Ireland and Canada...
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2009
Had to get the hell outta Rio. I woke up yesterday feeling like I did after a week of spring break in high school. Like shit. I figured 8 days of carnival was enough. Me and Elena went to the bus station together early in the morning. She was headed north to Bisou, but I wanted to make my way south towards Iguazu, so we parted ways. I miss my Rio gang already. What a great group to spend a week with.
So I had no particular destination in mind. I figured wherever there was a bus going southbound that sounded good. I saw that there was a bus headed to Paratay (which is pronounced Para-chi), and I remember that couple from the states that I met on that island in Colombia mentioned it and said it was a great place. So, why not. I booked a bus ticket. I met 2 girls from New Zealand at the bus station, also headed to Paratay. Made friends fast. Very cool girls. We made the ride together, and ended up staying at a bed and breakfast here in Paratay together. We have been spending all out time here together so far. Our bus broke down, of course, on the way here, so we got in kinda late. Went for dinner and drinks, and got loaded. The owner of the place we were at liked us, so she brought out some crazy local drink that tasted like cinnamon and had weird stuff floating all over the inside of the bottle. We all did shots. It was absolutely horrible. I came here to relax and get away from the fast Carnival life, but these Kiwis can drink...a lot, so it's tough not to.
Today we heard about a waterfall in the jungle a little ways away by bus, so we caught a ride and got dropped off at some old small church in the jungle. We hiked through the jungle a bit and came across an incredible waterfall and lagoon in the middle of nowhere. It is all on granite slab rock formations, and the water has smoothed over all the granite to make it like one enormous natural waterslide in the jungle. One of the coolest places I have ever been. We stayed for a few hours. Not too many people there, so we enjoyed it a lot.
Caught a bus back into town and went for dinner and drinking some more. There is a bar here themed after Che Guevara, a man I do admire. It was pretty cool. We sat and drank for a few hours again. I feel drained out now. Gotta catch some rest. Maybe take a boat out to some islands tomorrow...
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2009
I'm still in this Brazilian coastal town. I love it here. I came here because I thought I would be able to relax for a few days, but the crew I made here just wants to drink and party more and more. Today me and the New Zealand girls decided to head out on a sailboat day trip. It was an old big ship that took us out to an island with a very deserted beach, and only a few other ships docked offshore. We made friends with a couple of guys from Chicago. We decided to commandeer a different ship with a high mast and dive off. It was fun. We ended up touring the ocean side, stopping a few places to dive and snorkel and what not. It was a blast. Some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen. It reminded me of that scene in Jurassic park when the helicopter is flying through the green valley with waterfalls in the background and what not.
We all met at the Chicago boys hostel for drinks, where we formed a huge mob and hung out for a long time. Great people. Some Canadians, some Americans, and some Aussies. We all went to the che gueverra bar at about midnight. I met the owner last night, and talked with him for a bit. And when I walked in tonight, he seemed pretty happy that I came back, and brought 12 people with me. He didn't let me pay for a thing all night. All my drinks were on him. And he fired me up a hookah!!! I was so excited to smoke hookah in Brazil. Then he poured us all some absinthe (which I still think is the most wicked shit on earth). The locals in this town seem to like me for some reason...not really so sure why???
I was planning on heading to Sao Paulo tomorrow, but I heard a rumor that all the buses are booked for that run. Kinda shitty. So I will figure something out. Maybe I will ``borrow`` someone's car and just drive there. Or else the owner of Che Bar offered to drive me there on Sunday if I could wait it out one more day. That's awfully nice of him, since it's a 6 hour drive. The rides are long around this country, and time can be slow. I watched the movie Blow 8 times while I was in Colombia. Johnnie Dep is the man.
I am planning on cutting my trip home much earlier now... since some situations have arisen at home that require my presence. Sad. I have been loving this trip more than any other I have ever been on. It has so far been the most incredible experience of my life to roam South America on a whim, all alone. If I do have to leave soon...I hope I can return sooner
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 2009
Well after a 15 hour bus ride from Sao Paulo, I finally reached the Argentinean border. I crossed over into Puerto Iguazu. I made a friend in Sao Paulo. A girl from Scotland, living in London, traveling for 8 months I think she said. Fiona. We made plans to meet up in Iguazu, so I caught up with her at some hostel. Didn't make it in time to go to Iguazu Falls, but it was nice to spend a day playing volleyball in a pool and having a huge BBQ with like 200 other backpackers. The next morning though, I went with a different friend I made from London to the falls, Laura. We met a guy, Mike, from South Africa, along the way. And met up with 2 British guys at the entrance of the falls. The 5 of us formed another crew and hung out all day at the falls.
Let me say that if you ever doubt for a second that there is a God, go and see Iguazu Falls. Go and see the most absolutely breathtaking place on earth. Over 250 falls making up an entire rainforest in the middle of the jungles of South America. Fuking amazing. I was so mesmerized for so much of the time. Pictures cannot do it any justice at all. Add it to your life goals. Go see what God did to this earth to make it so much more beautiful. The locals say that the highest fall that comes to a bottleneck descent is the throat of the Devil himself. I believe it.
We decided to take a jet boat ride to the base of the falls. It was quite a thrilling ride. The roar of the water is intense, and the pressure coming at you is crazy. We all got drenched of course. It was badass.
We spent about 7 hours there all together. One of the highlights of the trip so far. Great crew to hang out with. Another day, another crew. I have been so fortunate to have made a crew and have the best travel mattes every single day I have been on this continent. It is really sad to make such good friends, and have to say goodbye so soon to so many great people.
Next stop, Buenos Aires. 18 Hours away by bus.
SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 2009
18 More hours on a bus and I made it to Buenos Aires. London Laura made the trip with me, so it wasn't so bad being on a bus that long. It was raining in BA when we got there though, but that was ok, 80 degrees and sunny for the past several weeks in a row was getting a little old. Well, not really. Checked into a place called the Hostel Suites. Checked some emails and made some calls, and made the tough decision to cut the trip short by a month or so. I needed to get home quick. Things come up sometimes that are more important than exploring the world. The only flights back to Detroit were about $1800, one way. But I found a flight for about $900 taking me to stupid Windsor. So I booked, and had about 28 hours left in Argentina.
I didn't know it, but Christian and Stas, the 2 guys from London, flew into BA today too. Got a hold of them and made plans to go out with a bang for one last big night in South America. So, they, Laura, and I all met up at what's one of Buenos Aires' finest steakhouses. (In case you didn't know, Argentina is known to have the best beef in the world). The British boys made friends with some French girls and they invited them along as well. And another guy they knew from London. So all and all we had an 8 person crew for the night. It was really nice. Everyone was great, the restaurant was incredible. I had a $185 peso Kobe Beef steak that was the best steak I have ever had in my life. The beef lives up to its expectations.
We stayed for 3 hours, before going to a bunch of bars till 6am. I taught the gang how to play "up chickens", and we started getting pretty tore up with some drinking games I play at home with my friends. Then from place to place for the next several hours. Argentineans know how to party. Places didn't start to get busy till about 1am or so. And it wasn't even the weekend.
Next morning I had a few hours to explore the city before going to the airport. I randomly came across a huge gang of protestors and joined I treated myself to a nice Christian Dior suit from a nice boutique shop in the Palermo district. I thought it would be a nice gift to myself for having to leave early. Suit shopping always cheers me up. And that was the end of my day. Caught a cab to the airport with some Buckeyes from Ohio and called it a trip...
One I will remember for a life time
About the author
Amar is a Detroiter who loves to travel the world.