January 3, 2007 - to our family and close friends
Gday to you all,
Just a quick email to let you know how we are surviving in this land of "no hablas englis"!
We are finally starting to recover from the jetlag. It is Wednesday here now and we arrived on Sunday Night...after a 6.5hour delay in our departure from Sydney airport. Wow! What a long day that was...from 8am Sunday morning till 5pm Sunday avo...in Sydney airport just waiting...we were told that the plane would be 5 hours late but that sort of dragged out badly to 6.5. Aerolineas Argintenas kindly gave us $50 of vouchers to spend on lunch which helped to soften the blow a little. So at least we had a nice lunch (and some food for the road/air)! We passed the time with free internet, shopping, watching aeroplanes land and take off, sending last minute (or should that be hour) text messages etc.
It must have been a bad day for the pilot. He finally landed in Sydney and taxied to the terminal, only to find out that the ground controller had stopped him half-a-meter short of the critical point. By the time the problem was discovered, the baggage handlers were already opening the doors, then came another half-hour delay - getting everyone clear and calling for a taxying truck to move them the final few critical millimeters!
With all this behind us, we flew 3 hours to New Zealand, 1.5 hrs in Auckland airport, then 11.5hrs flying to Buenos Aires. It was strange flying to the east...it makes for a very short night! We saw new years eve in about an hour after leaving NZ and 20 minutes before crossing the date line. No one on the aeroplane even acknowledged either the new year nor the dateline, much to my surprise. Anyway the sun rose at what was 1.30 am Australian time, but the airhostesses etc made everyone keep their windowblinds closed until what was about 6am Australian time or 4pm Argentinian time.
We arrived to 30 degrees and a bit humid at 8pm (argenitine time) and finally got to some accommodation by 10pm i think it was...and the fireworks for the new years eve celebrations had already started. We went to bed about 11.30pm. Michael got up and opened the windows and went out on the little balcony thing to watch the fireworks but I slept through it - i was so tired i didn't even hear him come back to bed. The fireworks continued till dawn all through the city and a big loud one outside our window woke me at 3am and then i couldn't get anymore sleep. Just lieing there in the dark listening to the crackers, it sounded just like we were in a combat zone.
Well the crackers finished promptly at dawn, and the whole city seemed to go to sleep. By about 10am we went out for a walk around the city, and it was pretty much completely dead...no people about, hardly any cars, no shops open at all. By midday there were a few people about.
We spent new years day trying to keep ourselves doing just enough to keep us awake - to try to force our body clocks to adapt to the new time so we wouldn't be lying awake in bed at all hours of the night. I kept wanting to go to sleep but Michael wouldn't let me. It was such a hot day too...i think its max was 42 degrees! Fortunately the next day was a bit cooler and cloudier...only 29 degrees...which we needed as we got a bit sun burnt the previous day.
Yesturday we went out of the city to a riverside suburb to the north. Went for a bit of a boat ride along one of the rivers. It was relaxing but kept us awake for the afternoon.
What else can i say...the food is ok - they seem to have heaps of pizza restaurants in the city. We're not really into their breakfasts though...they seem to like just a croisant and a coffee...not really very filling for people who are big into breakfast!
The culture/people - not that I've been to Europe, but i imagine that being in Buenos Aires feels a little bit like being in Italy or Spain. Most of the people here seem fairly well off, although you do see the poverty here as well, the slum areas, people sprawled out on the floor sleeping in the underground train stations, or people sleeping in the parks under cardboard boxes. It's a big city just full off highrise apartment buildings etc. Some places feel so closed in with all the highrises. They do have quite a few park areas though which helps.
And the language! Spanish...they really don't speak much English. It's a good (???) challenge and we are using our phrase book well. I wish i had done a few more lessons in our Rocket Spanish course. But i guess being surrounded by a language is the best way to learn it.
Today we travel to Bolivia. It's meant to be hotter than Buenos Aires, but after that first day of 42 degrees, i certainly hope its not too much hotter! We will be in Santa Cruz for 2 weeks, hoping to do some sort of introductory Spanish course there, and also a little bit of sightseeing and sleep catching!
Will leave it at that as we are soon to board our flight.
"Chao" as they say...
Love Dani and Michael