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March 20, 2008 - Buenos Aires, Argentina

Written by GingerBlossom Published in

Being in B. A. now feels like being in Paris during August- the city is deserted except for the tourists, and a lot of stuff is closed. Well, maybe a slight exageration, but that´s what it feels like. I made the mistake, although there really would have been no other way to do it, of arriving to Argentina during Easter week. This is like the final fling for summer, the last hurrah, and everyone takes to the road, and gets out of town, or if you´re an out- of- towner, you come to the Capital. It´s a 5 day holiday, and hotels all over the country raise the prices by at least 50%, and they are still booked solid, and busses are totally booked, one kid at the hotel was trying to get to Chile by bus, finally he had to buy a first class air ticket . Plus I´ve arrived about 6 years too late.

Argentina had a big peso devaluation about 7 years ago, and inflation has since crept prices up to about where they were before. I´m still going through the motions, checking out the flea markets, and I´ll go to the big antique market in San Telmo this Sunday, but it´s highly unlikely that I will send a container out. Even DHL is about 50% more here than in Turkey, so parcel shipping is out, unless I use the post office, or send an LCL cargo shipment, which only makes sense if I find alot of things. About the only thing that I´m still holding out for are sheepskin rugs and bedcovers from Patagonia, but as it´s a five 5 holiday, I still haven´t gotten a reply from my Patagonian connection, and sort of doubt that I will. It´s ok, I said that I´d take the time to chill out in the mountains after I've done enough leg work, futile or otherwise, but even that looks doubtful - hotels are booked up all over. In the meantime, I am enjoying my searches, the weather is beautiful, B.A. is a most excellent city for walking in, and their Subte, or metro, is cheap and easy to navigate.

My hotel room is in the heart of San Telmo, which is sort of the bohemian, artsy Tango enclave. Actually, it feels more like a B and B then hotel , with shared baths and communal kitchen, plus we get to use the owner´s computer, and pet his cranky Siamese cat. I´ve got the garet loft room, it´s pretty small and pokey and undecorated, the whole building is ancient, fading grandeur, but it´s still comfortable, though at $28 a night it costs more than it should, the shared bathroom isn´t even on the same floor as my room.

I'm off to the flea market in El Dorrego now. It´s also really close to La Recoleta cementerio, home of Evita Perron´s grave, and many other notables, but I will probably save that for another day. I am stuck in B.A. at least until the 25th, as the Paraguayan Consulate is closed until then, and Paraguay won't let me into their country without a visa.