Two weeks down the line in Buenos Aires and I can’t speak Spanish yet, but I am able to get around now without breaking out in a cold sweat when I need to communicate to locals who can’t speak English.
Buenos Aires lived up to everything I expected it to be. It was nice to take my time to explore the city and to revisit some of the parts that I liked.
Highlights include the Recoleta cemetery, where medium-sized tombs apparently sell for around US$40000. It’s eerie to see some of the exposed caskets over there. And then there is Evita’s grave, which is rather simple in comparison with some of the extravagant tombs in the cemetery. While we’re on the topic of Evita: I am not one to get excited about dresses, but the dresses that are exhibited at the Evita Museum in Recoleta are really beautiful – she obviously had impeccable taste.
It was very interesting to get to see the office of president Cristina de Kirchner Fernandez during a free tour of the Casa Rosada and I also enjoyed the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires (known as MALBA amongst the locals), where I got to see my first original Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera paintings.
The only touristy thing I didn’t do was to go to a tango show. The shows that are advertised seem like tourist traps to me, and quite of a few of the locals I have spoken to seem to agree. I’ve been told that there are some more locally orientated, somewhat underground tango dance clubs that are nice, which I might explore when I visit Buenos Aires again shortly before I return to South Africa.
The next leg of my adventure was supposed to start in Cusco in Peru, from where I will be hiking the Inca Trail in November. However, it looks like it’s going to be quite a mission to get there thanks to the ridiculously expensive plane tickets between Buenos Aires and Lima, the Peruvian capital. As a result of this I will be travelling from Buenos Aires to Cusco through Bolivia by bus, train and boat.
The total distance to be covered will be approximately 3284kms, and I suspect this journey might even be a bigger challenge than the Inca Trail.
I am leaving Buenos Aires tomorrow on a 28 hour bus ride to La Quiaca on the Bolvian border (approx 1800km). At La Quiaca, I will apparently be able to walk across the border to Villazon, where I need to get a bus to Tupiza (another 90km).
I will hopefully spend Tuesday night in Tupiza before travelling to Oruro by train (568 km).
From this point onwards I’m not certain where I will be staying over or how long whatever’s going to take – I don’t even know exactly when I will be arriving in Cusco.
All I know is that I need to travel by bus from Oruro to La Paz (224 km), catch another bus to Copacabana (165km), travel to Puno by boat (approx 140 km) and from Puno to Cusco with another bus (385km).
I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that all the Spanish lessons will come in handy and that I will improve my bus, train and boat vocabulary. As someone I used to know used to joke (in an annoying Sea Point kugel accent): It might just be the “rard (ride) of mah (my) life”.