11 March 2009
We have officially made it to our next destination - Santiago (Chile!!).
Our hostel is magic. The balcony literally looks over the Plaza de Armas which is the major square in Santiago. Its so beautiful here! AND the hostel is much cleaner than our previous AND we have a private room, so no need to share with any other feral people! YIPPEEE!! haha
After writing my last entry (9 March 09), I intended to go to bed but unfortunately the Canadians (and others) picked up on some Aussie jargon and told me I was "piss-weak" when I said I was too tired to come out. Thanks Timmy! No doubt it was him who taught them this!
So, weary and...sober (honest!) I headed out with the gang (like I said, I have to represent for the Aussies! he he) to a small electronica / R&B club (dont ask me how both those relate) in the city. This was at 2.30am. I actually had heaps of fun eventhough I felt completely shattered. We danced up a storm, Tim and I! haha I think people thought we were wierd...must have looked like circus animals or something...
Anyhoo, we rolled out of there at 4am and then went for empanadas and pizzas with our favourites (i.e. the Canadians). Again, I cant stress enough how intense Buenos Aires is, because at 4.15am (a Tuesday morning!!) we were sitting at a pizzeria with a whole bunch of locals (including some kids) eating, drinking and chatting like it was midday! Dont ask me how kids get up for school in the morning!! Crazy! Crazy! Crazy!
So, again, we got to bed at about 5.30am. BUT - Tim and I were DEAD SET ON seeing more of this blooming city...and WE DID!
We woke up at about 9.30am and set out for Recoletta, which is the district next to Palermo where we were staying. It took us about 45 mins to walk there but WOW did we see a lot of the city! Im so glad we made the walk as we were actually going to catch a bus but with our limited Español we decided against it! haha
There are huge marble-looking monuments all over the place, and so many trees! Once you get out there and explore, it really is a very pretty part of the world. And the architecture, with its heavy French influence, is just my cup of tea. Ahhh...
We made it to Recoletta all sweaty and found the Recoletta Cemeteria which is an incredible 'above-ground´ cemetery. By that, I mean it is like its own little village with large statues and house-like enclosures dotted all over which contain the bodies of many wealthy/important people in Argentina´s history. Some of the enclosures are so big, that generations of families were buried there, and you can actually see the coffins stacked on top of one another. Its a very emotional place.
Tim overheard one of the tour guides explaining the story behind one burial site, which has a large marble angel standing at the front. In there, lies the body of a 16 year-old girl who died unexpectedly years ago. Back then, bodies were generally buried on the day of death. In this case, the young girl passed away, no autopsy was performed and she was then buried. When her grandmother learnt of her death, she demanded to know the reason she had died since no autopsy had been performed and plus, she was only 16!!. The young girl´s body was then exhumed and when they opened her coffin, there were scratch marks on the inside - she had been buried alive :( They later found she had an unusual heart defect where her heart would slow down, almost stop, without killing her.
After this tragedy, they passed a new law in Argentina that no bodies could be buried within 48 hours of death for this very reason. Plus, they begun tying a bell to every dead body that was buried so that if it happened again, the person would at least be heard - apparently this is where the saying "saved by the bell" comes from.
We also managed to locate the tomb of Eva Peron (Evita - the movie) which was also very, very cool.
After this, we were fortunate to stumble upon a free guided tour of the National Museum of Decorative Art, in English! WOOT!! WOOT!! This place is an old mansion that was once the residence of some aristocratic Argentinians and has now been turned into a museum, with all the original furniture and art still in place. Unfortunately we couldnt take any photos, but it was as posh as you can imagine.
Our final stop of the day was Caminito which is a small area of the downtown district of La Boca. Its kind of a dodgy place at night, but during the day its filled with stalls, tango dancers and music. Tim and I sat and just took it all in for a while. The colours of the buildings here are amazing and were apparently painted by the residents because they were tired of living in ´slums' and so decided to brighten up the place. I could have sat here for hours...
Before I forget, NO, we didnt go to a tango club! BOOO! I know, it sucks, but its just a bit too pricey for two humble backpackers!! haha Plus, it was our last night at the hostel, and in true Hostel Giramondo style, we had another BBQ with all our new friends.
I was very good and went to sleep at just after midnight, as we would be leaving the hostel early in the morning to catch our flight to Santiago. Tim and his rubber elbow stayed up all night drinking (bless!) and is the reason he is now snoozing... zzzzzzzz.... (there has been a lot of this!).
Our flight was only 1 hour and 45 minutes and we easily found a bus to take us from the airport into the city. ALERT - I can actually put my backpack on without any help now! Are you proud? haha But we did have to walk for about 20 minutes into the main square where our hostel is...which is the longest backpack-walk we have done so far. It was hard towards the end! LOL Bloody useless.... ;)
Oh! I forgot to mention we did fly over the Andes during our flight and boy were they amazing to see! But it was little offputting when the pilot told us to put our seatbelts on "as a precaution" when we flew over them.. hmmm...
Santiago is much drier than Buenos Aires and the air is very polluted. It just looks overcast although its a very warm day with no clouds! But the city centre! Its fabulous! We just went for a stroll a little while ago...
Like I said, we literally look over the main square and its a great place to people-watch. I think Ill go do that now...
Tomorrow morning we fly to Rio de Janeiro. "When my baby, when my baby smiles at me I go to Rio...de Janeiro!!"