Room 904 – Buenos Aires

First day in Buenos Aires

The plane had just landed in Buenos Aires and apart the fact the flight was delayed for a couple hours everything was just fine. All I had to do was exchange some money, get a taxi and go to the hostel to meet my friend. That was it! That was the extension of my plans to this trip so far, everything else that happened after that was lucky.

Getting there

While I was in line to exchange money I spotted two guys there were in my flight, they seemed like nice guys so I approached them, introduced myself and we started talking, as it turned out we were all going downtown so I asked if they wanted to share a taxi, that was particulary good for me because they’ve been to Buenos Aires before and they were kind enough to share some experiences and give me some tips about the city, my trip was off to a good start.

The ride took a little longer than usual, and the heat wasn’t making it any more pleasant to stay in the taxi, but we finally got there and so I wave my new friends goodbye and wished them well as I still had a 5 to 10 minutes ride untill Florida street.

The hostel

I arrived to the hostel 3 hours later than I expected, and I couldn’t find my friend, but while I was checking in one of the staff girls asked me:

– “Paiva, Yuri Paiva?” She seemed surprisingly relieved with my affirmative answer, apparently my friend had outsourced her to wait for me 😕

– “A girl was here early today and left you this” and then she handed me a note in which my friend tells me that she was starving and went to grab something to eat and I should wait her for half hour or so. Fair enough, she had been waiting for over 3 hours now and that just reminded me that I had to eat something myself.

I finished checking in but I still had to wait for a while to take my keys and get to my room. It was around 2pm when my dorm was ready and almost simultaneously my friend got back from lunch, the timing couldn’t be better. Now all I had to do was go upstairs and store my luggage…that was it, nothing more and we’d be ready to hit the city.

The German Guy

As I walked into the room someone greets me with a ‘Hola’, I just looked quickly to find this guy laying on his bed and almost automatically I replied with a ‘Hola’ while looking at the place, and to be honest at the time I was more interested in getting settled and then meeting my friend to explore this new city than anything else, but once again he talked to me.

Now he was sitting on his bed while trying to put one sentence together, but seeing him struggling with his spanish and knowing that even if he managed to finish it I probably wouldn’t be able to understand it anyway, so I just stopped him right there and asked ‘Hablas Ingles?’ He nodded his head affirmatively and at that moment we were both very much relieved about not having to speak spanish.

So we introduce ourselves and chat a little bit about what we were doing there, where we’ve had been before and where we were heading next, the sort of conversation you’ll repeat few times a day, so I’ll just skipped this part as it’s irrelevant to this particular story.

After chatting for a while I realized he wasn’t your ordinary backpacker, he was a very peculiar guy with a very interesting history, indeed he was going through a rough patch, actually ‘rough patch’ doesn’t even begin to cover his story, but that’s all I’m going to say about it, if we’re luck enough we may be able to read his story in his book (yet to be written). All you need to know for now is that the conversation went smoothly and seemingly 30 minutes or so passed by untill my friend knocked at the door looking for me and asking why I was taking so long.

The key point

Now that I think about it I find this little detail just as important, if not more, as anything else in this story.

As my friend knocked at the door rushing me out of the room I realized I haven’t done any of the things I was supposed to, so I quickly went to the bathroom to wash myself and left her two padlocks and two keys, but, as my mom would say, haste makes waste and somehow she managed to mix up the keys. So now I had an useless key, well not useless as it would still open the padlock inside the locker, the point was I couldn’t open the locker (I just didn’t know it yet). Anyway…we said good bye and went to our first adventure in Buenos Aires.

Why I find this detail so important? After walking the whole day and getting back exhausted to the room 904 all I needed was a shower and my bed really. But what the fun in that, right!?

I tried the key once, twice, forced it a little bit…no dice! At this point the german just offered me some help and we started talking again as we were trying to get the locker open. Eventually we just gave up and I went to the reception to get some help, feeling somewhat embarrassed for having my key locked inside the locker. There was no need to feel that way though as apparently that happen quite often there, so they just gave me a bolt cutter and I went back to room 904. The padlock was quite thick so it took some time and a little help from my german friend, but it eventually worked.

Wrapping it up

Long story short, we got to talk again and I realized we were no longer strangers staying in the same room, nor we were friends yet…but we were somewhere in between.

That was just my first day in Buenos Aires and this was really just an introduction, I still have to cover how we teamed up with a chinese guy to become the most weird and culturally diverse group around.

…with liberty and justice schnitzel for all

Backpacking through South America

Backpacking – A unique experience

When talking about backpacking with my friends back home they always ask me where I’ve been and what I’ve seen and I’m always feel like I can’t properly answer those questions, mainly because none of that really matters to me when I think about who I’ve met along the way and the experiences I shared with them.

All the people you meet leave a piece of themselves with you and they shape our memories more than the places themselves. They can make a bad place good, or a great place bad.

Though I’ve seen many amazing places in this trip, they are largely irrelevant to me, yes…you read it right, irrelevant! It’s the people I’ve met who have made this trip worthy.

My travel would be a totaly different experience if I hadn’t stayed in room 904 in Buenos Aires, or if I hadn’t stop in Mendoza on my way to Chile, or if I hadn’t gone to La Serena because Valparaiso was fully booked for new year’s eve, or if I actually got off in the right bus terminal, La Serena Terminal instead of Coquimbo Terminal.

What I’m trying to say is backpacking for me isn’t about the destination, but the journey, then the journey isn’t just about the road, but the people along that road. And this is what I’ll try to capture in the next few posts. The very essence of people I’ve met while backpacking through South America and how they’ve affected me.

I’m not, by no means, a writer nor a very good storyteller but still I’ll give it my best shot to put everything in context and to keep it in chronological order as much as possible.

Stay Tunned