The last week has been devoted to 2 major South American cities: Buenos Aires and Rio de Janerio. Both have been bloody fantastic, yet are so different to one another. It’s been an interesting and surreal time, especially as my trip is quickly drawing to a close.
Buenos Aires: this city was made absolutely incredible by some incredible friends. As I landed in the capital, 2 friends I’d made in Nepal who live in BA got in touch and offered me a lift from the airport to my hostel – something that was so cool and got my stay off to an excellent start.
The last time I saw Tomas and Malena, we had just finished the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. Now, 4 years later, I got to see them numerous times in their home city. Thanks for showing me around guys!
Another close mate of mine, Hubert, moved to the city a number of years ago and is now a walking, talking tourist professional – the man can rattle off 17 different restaurant recommendations in 2 minutes – all of which were great. He plugged me straight into his social circle and we had a good few nights in the city. One of the highlights was wine tasting and getting to know more about the famous Argentinian wine – such good stuff. South Africa, your wine is top class, but you have competition here!
And then to top it all off, a Joburg mate Jon missed me so much back home that he flew to BA for the week. He says the trip was for work, but I know him better than that!
BA is incredible. I spent most of my time in or around the neighbourhood of Palermo – it’s like a Cape Town CBD on steroids – hip, happening and full of awesome restaurants and bars, all of which seem to make their own craft beer. I could have spent another week just eating my way through BA – such a variety of food there.
My hostel in BA was shit, though. Sometimes I am left in complete wonder how hostels end up with such a high rating on booking websites, when in reality they are a hole in the ground. I made it my goal to spend as little time there as possible!
From BA, I flew to Rio de Janeiro. This trip itself was one of highs and lows but makes for a good story. It started with a high: Emirates (who interestingly flies directly between the 2 cities) upgraded me to business class which was AWESOME. I am going to make it my lifes work to fake a limp at the check in counter from now on in the hopes of getting an upgrade.
The lows, however, were 2 pronged: A massive storm saw the flight delayed by 2 hours and then when we eventually took off, we had to return to BA after 90 minutes into the flight as the storm was getting worse and we didn’t have enough fuel on board to detour around it. All in all, a planned 1am arrival became an actual arrival of 8am.
It gets worse. I had gone wine tasting in BA and had 3 bottles of really good stuff in my checked baggage – bubble wrapped, carefully packaged, etc. I’ve done this a thousand times without issue but this time was a catastrophic bugger up. One of the bottles smashed (red wine) and drenched everything. I could smell wine from the luggage carousal and just knew it was my bag before I even saw it. My first few hours in the city was spent washing everything in that bag. I’d say I’m 95% there but the bag still smells like a drunkards armpit.
Rio is one of the most vibrant cities I’ve been to. It feels like everyone is having a constant party and when they aren’t doing that, they’re chilling on one of the incredible beaches. On that note – I now get the hype around Copacabana beach – white sands, massive promenades, great water!
The attractions are also on the A list, be it Christ the Redeemer or Sugar Loaf mountain, they’re worth their reputations of being special. The views from their locations alone will take your breath away. I for one wasn’t aware of how many coves and mountains Rio had – everywhere you look there’s a mountain.
I met a decent bunch of people at my hostel and decided to hit the city one night and found a street party in a neighbourhood called Laba. It was everything you imagine a street party in Rio being like – loud, colourful, caipirinha’s flowing – incredible time was had!
Before I knew what was happening, I was on a plane to Iguazu Falls where I’ll spend the last few days of my trip. I can’t believe the end is here!