Monday, August 16, 2010

The Little Things of Buenos Aires

Just as we got comfortable after a month in Europe, where things are fairly straight-forward and well-organized, we find ourselves in South America. Buenos Aires is so refreshingly different, and by that, I mean a whole new world different. Just about everything makes us tick, particularly the little things!

Getting from Airport to Accommodation

There are generally two ways for tourists to get from the Buenos Aires airport into the city: by public bus or by taxi, and there is big difference between the options. Okay, we didn’t quite draw this table for comparison, but it is one way of looking at them.

  Bus Taxi
Cost 4 pesos (1 USD) 140 pesos (35 USD)
Travel Time 1.5 hours 20 minutes
Difficulty (to locate/follow) ********************************** *

Guess what we chose?

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(Okay, we had those crazy eye looks because it was a long trip and late at night!)

Getting Coins

There is a funny situation with small changes in Buenos Aires. Basically coins are hard to find, so much that there is a black market selling/buying them. Apparently it is common practice for grocery shops to use candies, and pharmacies aspirin instead.

Problem is that we need coins for riding buses, which only take coins.

Thanks to all the money research, we were able to exchange for the right amount of Argentinean pesos at the airport, which gave us some precious 7.50 pesos in coins! (By the way, we saw exchange rates different by 15% at different exchange counters.)

After a security guard pointed out to me where the bus shelter was, he asked the first Spanish sentence that I understood fully, “Tiene monedas?” - (Do you) have small change? “Si!” I answered proudly and walked away with a big smile – great success!

Finding SIM Cards

After a good night sleep at our host’s place, we woke up with a list of things to purchase, including telephone SIM cards. Usually it would be easy because telecomm shops are all over the place, but today is Sunday and as we found out, most of the shops are closed on Sundays. Our host suggested to try one of the malls. Tried and no luck. As we wandered down one of the main shopping streets, our hope of getting SIM cards today was getting dimmer as the street empty.

Our host also suggested that Chinatown should be good to visit today, so we did. Guess what we found?

People buzzing all over the place. Line-ups in front of restaurants and queues at supermarkets. And best of all, we found SIM cards – among many other goodies!!

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YAY, I found Chinese instant noodles. :D

Taking the Subway

Subte is the name for subway system in Buenos Aires. It was fun, convenient and easy to use. An added bonus is that we get 90 cents change back every time when we purchase single-trip passes. Read: COINS!

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Q standing in front of subway station name sign post that says “9th of July”.

Buenos Aires, 24 hours and such a fabulous adventure already! …We haven’t even got to the amazing food yet! ;)

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Of course South America is completely different from Europe, but the changes are good ones. for example what you mentioned about the exchange rate, it is really favourable to us, so we have to take advantage of that, just prevent ourselves from losing control and buying everything at hand. For example, the furnished apartments in buenos aires are something very cheap to us but at the same time of a high quality, so I believe that is the best option if you go there. Then, the rest is just to enjoy!
Tracy