Simon and I boarded Air Ethiopia in a haze of farewells, pretend Christmas, Dominos pizza and either tears (me) or a wet shoulder (Simon). The sense of relief didn't hit like we had expected and perhaps that was because the goodbyes were harder to endure. It is funny how it is only once you're leaving you understand the extent of how marvellous it is where you were. Luckily we have each other. Simon distracted by my ability to lose things and me by Simon's ability to act the div.
A little shell shocked from being so maniacal in Blighty to a vast expanse of time unplanned we arrived in Buenos AIres with trepidation. Aiming to be super-budget-minded and hardened experienced individuals we took the local bus into town and stood at the door of the cheapest and most convenient hostel to where it spewed us both grubby and half asleep. It is apparent that the world has indeed turned and here we are the grandaddy and grandma of hostels. Young 'uns are coming home at the time when we are putting on our SPF and packing our day pack. And so we ventured out into the Argentinian wilderness; me staring into space and unable to string a sentence together and Simon having to rely on me to navigate the city - which could not be more of a role-reversal; Simon still having to direct me to his house 6 months into our relationship. I like to think of it less as a flaw but more as special moment when I do get wherever it was I had intended.
Despite the planning a few fundamentals have been missed; a short stroll in the cobbled shady streets of San Telmo ended up in surgical tape and hobbling as the new Birko's made their presence known. Whilst Simon tried to damage limit by amending the said shoe a momentary lapse of concentration meant we met Bonnie and Clyde - a plump Argentinian lady with bad roots started waffling loudly in spanish whilst a white collared chap strolled on by taking with him our bag full of passports, mini ipad, camera and guide book! Fortunately I managed to snap out of my semi-coma, saw this opportunist casually strolling away with our bag swinging by his knees and ran after him! The first sign of someone not being too happy with his marvellous idea and he dropped the bag and casually walked down the street and into the shadows. An Argentinian robbery that was relaxed, casual and lacked conviction. Lesson learned and now the bag never leaves the shoulders and plump ladies with roots are ignored.
Buenos AIres is both a bustling city of traffic and heat as well as a city filled with romance and passion. Teenagers seem not to hang outside MacDonalds waiting for an ASBO but spend quantities of time holding hands, gazing in each others eyes. It seems being a teenager in Buenos Aires isn't about going to parks to get drunk on White Lightening but to find a shady spot to share a milkshake and steal kisses. This goes for grown ups too with tango being danced by couples in shady squares, the sound of heels hitting cobbles whilst onlookers sup on red wine.
Now whilst we have not yet attempted tango (it looks dangerous all that leg knitting) we have of course sampled local fair. Whilst I enjoy the lack of hangover from good Malbec Simon experiences constipation from steaks the size of paperbacks. I feel the vegetarian won this one....
We met Ben out here - an English chap with whom we share good friends. Local knowledge is a definite plus as it meant dining with the cool cats of BA in a chic restaurant. If Simon could have wrenched the engagement ring from my finger and given it to his sirloin I've no doubt he would have. The wine was surprisingly incredible for the price until we realised we got the decimal point wrong and it wasn't surprising at all. Worth every peso mind you- best bottle of red to pass my lips and there have been a few.
The experience of bunk beds in mixed sex dormitories has been one not relished. Not only does it highlight how many anti-social habits you have behind closed doors, but it is also shocking to see what OTHER people get up to (mainly scratching, sleeping positions and state of underwear). After 2 nights of the flatulence of strangers, of having to get dressed under blankets and of Simon having to offer others his ear plugs for fear of his snoring driving them to homocide it has been decided that a private room is a necessary expense. Besides, I wake up grumpy if I don't have my morning cuddle.
Having walked through glamorous grave yards, ridden on boats and pottered through tailored Japenese gardens (where I write this) it is time to head to the countryside. Tonight we leave for Mendoza where the hills are laiden with grapes grown for the wine we fully intend to sample! Only 15 hours on a bus to go....