I report to you from the town of La Plata. Getting here certainly was an adventure. The advice on trip advisor was not to walk to Retiro. However after my experience of getting totally ripped off by a taxi driver, plus my desire to get fit and it being a lovely day, I decided to ignore said advice. This was fine until I got to Plaza San Martin and suddenly found myself walk in circles. Not ideal. At this point I decide it's probably better to trust the map and not my sense of direction. So I finally find Retiro but can not locate the bus terminal. I figured just keep walking and you'll find it. Sure enough I did. The next challenge was where to purchase bus tickets. After walking around the bus terminal like a lost puppy for a while, I decided to swallow my pride and ask for assistance. Ticket purchased and on a bus before you know it.
La Plata was not as interesting as I'd hoped but it is Sunday between Christmas and New Years in a relatively small town. So I went to the Jardin Zoologico y Botanico, one of the few open attractions. They had a really odd range of animals. Kind of like they were trying to get one of everything. Anyhow it was 34 degrees today so the animals were trying to hide in the minimal shade in their small enclosures. It made me a bit sad really. I think they have some catching up to do in the animal rights department.
I wandered aimlessly around for the better part of the day. Went to another Plaza San Martin. Saw more statues, big impressive buildings and parks. Got very hot and stopped to cool down and people watch in a tree. Wandered more. Got hot again. Decided I'd had enough and it was time to return back to BA. #coolstory
Hmmm well upon my return I learnt that maybe trip advisor was right. I caught a different bus back that put me on the slum side of the road. Two young boys started to follow me and I became nervous. I didn't make eye contact and kept walking. I was waiting for the traffic to pass to cross the road and of course they caught up with me. The older boy was talking right in my face so no more pretending I didn't notice him. I said, "Perdón, no hablo español". He grinned, motioned slitting his throat and in a surprisingly menacing voice said, "Money." All the while the younger one was circling me and started to paw at my daypack. Now mum, I know what you're thinking, "why isn't she wearing her money belt?" I would like to appease you and say I was wearing a dress so it was not possible and apart from phone, camera and a small amount of cash, all valuables were safely locked away at the hostel. Anyway, thankfully a crossing going the other way started and made a dash for it but not before the younger one could open up the front pocket and grab a few things. He got my zoo ticket from La Plata and a plastic bag. I'm sure they were thrilled. All in all this 'experience' didn't really freak me out. I guess I was kind of expecting something like it to happen.
1. You can be too independent. You're in a foreign country, it's okay to ask for help.
2. Take a minute to read the map properly. It might save you 15 minutes of walking round in circles.
3. Smart and safe daypack packing works!