We'd booked 3 nights at Milhouse, BA's infamous party hostel from Saturday for when Chris and Lucy arrived, In the meantime we had two nights and decided to spend them somewhere a little bit quieter: Hostel Suites in Palermo. As soon as we arrived we were reunited with Nick & Cecelia who filled us in on their problems in Bolivia and their vacation to Mexico. All this whilst we watched the Spain v Russia Euro 2008 semi final. Unbeknownst to us the other guy in the room was Russian and had to endure a tirade of abuse from us about how Russia wasn't really in Europe. Poor guy. That night we went out for drinks in Palermo, first finding a swanky bar where you have to book a table for drinks, we didn't, and the waitress didn't approve. We didn't approve of the prices. The next place was a wholly different affair - a friendly student crowd with even friendlier prices and Iguana Cerveza - our favourite from Salta.
Shopping was the order of the following day. We'd all decided that we'd go to Pacha on Saturday night and were very concious of our lack of anything respectable to wear. We spent the entire day shopping, mostly at Palermo Alto, the priciest shopping centre we've ever seen, even back home. Sufficed to say our budget didn't stretch very far and so my credit card took a hammering at the Adidas Originals store. One thing that really made us laugh at Alto Palermo was the size of the queue outside Starbucks. OK, so it hadn't been open long but that didn't justify the 45minute queue, especially given that there were easily half a dozen other coffee shops in the vicinity - the porteños seemed to think it was something new and magical. We just settled for McCafe.
Knowing that we had a big day on Saturday we weren't doing anything to wild on Friday night - we met a Welsh girl called Laura who's been in South America for quite a while, she'd even been on the same boat we had in the Galapagos, just a week later than us. She'd also been on a bus in Columbia that had been blown up by FARC. Now we don't have a story like that! Laura hadn't been injured but some other people weren't as fortunate. We all went out for drinks to the same bar as the previous night (recruiting another Iguana fan). Laura works for the BBC back home on a Welsh soap, in the same office as Doctor Who. She's going to New Zealand after South America so we spent most of the night trying to persuade her to get a campervan and stay at Top 10 parks. All in all a quiet night, or so we thought.
Earlier, some American's had checked into our room and when they came in around 5 acting like they'd just had their first experience of alcohol. They were 21, so we might not be far wrong. A real highlight of the 5am hour was when the one girl shouted to her friend 'don't leave me in here I might get raped'. By a couple and a sleeping guy. Sure.
We checked into Milhouse at midday the following day, after not much sleep. The difference was obvious straight away. There wasn't a word of Spanish to be heard, its an unfortunate consequence of well organised international backpacker places. It was lively though. We'd paid over the odds for a private four bed room but it was worth it for some sleep, not that we were going to get much that night. Lucy and Chris arrived a few hours later and we went out for dinner. It was funny to see the poor excuse for a pizza that the girls got served - cheesy bread. Nat was not impressed. The intrepid crew were staying in our hostel that night too, and Laura from the night before came and joined us aswell, so there were loads of us. We normally go out late back home but we still couldn't get our heads round the idea of taxis leaving the hostel at 1:30 to go to the club, and it took nearly half an hour to get there.
Our tickets for Pacha gave us queue jump and boy did we need it, if we'd have had to join the back of the line I doubt we'd have got in before 5. I bet the locals hate the queue jumping gringos, but having said that they probably only pay a third of the price we did. Inside the club was massive, it took me and Chris a good fifteen minutes to find the toilets. Who was playing? None other than English journeyman DJ Seb Fontaine. He was actually pretty good, more than making up for the most expensive beer we'd had on the entire trip. It was worth it though, we had a great night and amazingly all managed to stay together.
Sunday was a total write off. We didnt make it out of bed til after 4. I stumbled around to find a McDonalds and we all missed the Euro 2008 final in the process - after watching loads of matches we were a bit gutted.
We only had one full day left in BA before we intended to go to Uruguay and we badly needed to do some sightseeing so that day we packed in a visit to La Boca, the famous cemetary (whose name eludes me) where Evita is buried, and many of the city's sights. La Boca with its brightly coloured streets was fantastic, even if it did only seem to exist for tourists. We had some drinks at a cafe where a couple were tangoing. The girls posed for photos and were especially happy with them. The cemetary was a little more upmarket than the one in Sucre and clearly for the wealthier types. Evita's grave was very modest compared to many of the others. In the vicinity of the cemetary was a big cinema and we couldn't resist a movie. We saw Get Smart, or Super Agente 86 to use its Latin American title. It was really, really bad, there was only one good joke in the entire film, but it did have Anne Hathaway in....
Our Uruguay plan went to pot the next day when the ferry was fully booked up and we found out that the nearest road crossing had been closed for years. We decided we'd go to Iguazu that day and introduced Lucy and Chris to the joys of Super Cama and the fully flat bed. 18 hours? pah.