I am back!
Buenos Aires was a mixed affair. I reminded myself why I tend to avoid cities, as at first it seemed the same as every other with its ornate plazas, long streets, busy traffic and hoards of people. The thing that distinguishes it from any other place I've visited in my life is the sheer volume of dog sh*t - I practically had to play hop scotch to avoid the brown stuff. Not pleasant! Further to that, our hostel was festered with a bunch of absolute wieners for the first day or so - no one was interested in chatting and just spent their time sitting and gawping at a television - I found it a claustrophobic environment and one that I wanted out of! The two stand-out characters who particularly induced my wrath were a couple of German girls travelling together who just sat and ate cereal all day and were as welcoming as a fart in a space suit (Connolly, 1993). When talking (painfully) to them over breakfast one morning they commented that they hadn't been out much in the evenings as "the places they had been to weren't safe for two European girls". Upon questioning them about which places they were referring to, they said, "Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia". So they weren't referring to individual cities or specific areas, oh no, they insinuated that entire countries were too dangerous for them! Their prejudices and inaccurate judgments irked me and from that point onwards, if I was in a room with them and their backs were turned, I would reel off a variety of rapid, silent and rude hand gestures, which, of course, is the adult thing to do. That taught them!
Now we're in Mendoza, which is a smaller and prettier city than BA in the mid/south of Argentina, famous for its fine red wine production and accompanying vineyards. Yesterday on Xmas eve Cressy and I did paragliding, which was excellent fun! We had to wait a few hours for the right conditions with wind etc ( I had a curry the night before) but once I got up there it was amazing fun!! With about 5 minutes to go during the flight, the pilot asked me if I was adventurous and would like to try some aerial acrobatics. My answer, of course, was, "no, because I am a wimp"! Eventually I relented and we did some steep turns on the way down which completely turned my stomach and made me feel rough, but it was a fantastic experience! However, the highlight of the trip was finding out that Alejandro's assistant, who helps him with preparing the parachute, was in fact a stripper and made more money in one weekend stripping than he does in one month with the paragliding! He also shaves his entire body, and even dropped his trousers to prove he shaves his legs. To be polite, I also dropped my trousers, to show what a proper set of hairy chicken legs should look like.
Now it's Christmas! It certainly does not feel like it as the weather is fantastic and I am in a hostel. I miss my family a lot, more than I thought Ｉ would actually, and am jealous of the fun and festivities they're having. Miss my friends too, all 757 of them!
Today will be a tranquil affair I believe but tomorrow we hit the vineyards and will rent bikes from a man called Hugo. Who wouldn't?