Yo no hablo español.....
It's nearly midnight and here I am updating my blog. But before you become alarmed at my bizarre nocturnal activities, this is perfectly in keeping with the lifestyle here in the city that never sleeps. You think Spaniards go out a bit late; this place is ridiculous. So if I were to be going out this evening, which I'm not, I would just about be starting to get ready now. And I'd probably be leaving the premises around 2am. So while there is free internet (the perk of all perks seemingly on offer everywhere in South Amercia) I might as well use it because the hours of the day are not what they once were....
But firstly to finish off Santiago and quickly mention that overall my time there was really great and a super start to my travels at this side of the world. Felt so at home in the superb Hostel Andes and Santiago grew on me as I got to see more of the barrios (neighbourhoods) and get a feel for life there. OK, so I was only there six days, but that's a good stint for me - the breakneck speed traveller.
And I did get to the slopes for a day of skiing in the Andes in the end, figured the expense was worth it to see the mountains and it certainly was. Marcela and I headed for Valle Nevada which is pretty far out of town but very high up and beautiful and we had a great day. Met some fun guys on the bus up who kept us entertained there and back, and the view out of the bus window wasn't bad either.... watching the arid land covered with cacti turn from a green fringed brown to the most unspoilt powedery white snow I've ever seen was so awesome, and the resort itself was cracking snow too. Well, so said the boarding professionals who were off-pisting it everywhere and finding fresh stuff while I was more than content pottering down the well-worn greens and blues. Super day for it too, not a cloud in the sky and the sun got really lovely and warm. Perfecto.
And had one more sneaky peek, or should I say sightseeing experience of a lifetime, over the Andes when I took the plane the next day to Buenos Aires. Tip of the day: If you ever find yourself taking the same flight in good weather then get a window seat on the left of the plane (which I bagged) and watch those mountains roll towards you until you're cruising over them so close you feel like you could see people moving around on the ground beneath you, if there were people pottering around on the ground beneath you in the middle of the Andes, but I think those guys from the Alive movie got out of there by now.
First impressions of Buenos Aires are exactly what it says in all the books - feels very European and kind of familiar. Also feels much safer than I thought it would do and is a really cool place to spend the week. Oh, and super cheap. So I've taken advantage of the exchange rate and kept to my vow of taking some Spanish classes here, which I signed up for on the day I arrived and got cracking that afternoon. Is really good to exercise the very depleated brain cells and good to feel like I'm making an effort with the language, but to be honest a week isn't nearly enough and I really wish I had more time.....
I´m staying in another super hostel which has to come top for the most sociable place I've stayed yet. Is like a big family! I had to move dorms after a couple of nights cos it's only a small place and gets really full. But was moved into the 'legends' dorm which is basically home to all the guys who are staying here for long chunks of time and it's like buking in a boys share room at uni - stuff everywhere, really messy but very entertaining, so I haven't asked to be moved again ; room 101 rocks! (Seriously, it's room 101).
So apart from the Spanish classes and associated homework I've really done and seen very little of the city so far. Running the most basic of errands in this place takes an age and we all stay up so late every night that half the day is gone before you peep out of your eye mask (the guys wear them too!) so the week is passing by in a blur...
But I've had a good look round the shops etc which has been fun and nearly went weak at the knees in the handbag shops. Am planning to buy a massive beast for my return to the working world in London. I may be skint when I get back and living on cupasoups or similar but I'll have a bloody nice handbag to carry them home from Morrisons in!
And indulgence number two is a bit of pampering which has already got underway at a great salon I found. Started with a mass waxing session which cost a ridiculous 4 quid, and am going back for more tomorrow, not more hair removal, am not that hairy, manicure and pedicure this time and am pretty tempted to take everything on the menu...
Right, this is going on way too long, but will finish with two extremely exciting dates for the diary:
Feb 5th (am) - Jenny arrives!
Feb 5th (pm) - Jenny and I go to 'La Bombonera' to watch the Boca Juniors' first match of the season!! Olay indeed.