We arrived in Buenos Aires after 20 hours on the bus, and immediately went to find the couchsurfers that we were staying with. Buenos Aires has a real European vibe. It really felt like we were in the middle of a major city in central Europe. The people do not look like South-Americans. There were no small indigenous ladies with hats, that we had seen in all the other countries on the continent. People are tall, pale and some even blonde.
Fortunately, Buenos Aires also has a fairly well-functioning metro system like most major European cities, so within an hour we had located the apartment of our new Argentinian friends.
Mauro and Guillermo turned out to be super-nice guys. I had scarcely put my backpack down before I found myself sitting on their couch with an xbox-remote in hand. I played as "Brann" against Argentina in a footballgame. Brann lost something like 10-0, so it was a fairly realistic game.
We also had the honor of hitting the guinea pig Osmey, that should be our roomey the next week. Every day got Osmey allowed to run loose around the front porch eating various plants. Mauro told us Osmey had managed to eat a giant hashplant they had on the porch. After that he was really great appetite(so that one gets the hash) and puked in a whole apple. An apple that weighed almost as much as the guinea pig!
The next week we were awakened every morning when Osmey decided to scream.
In the evening we went to a local Parilla. A Parilla is a special restaurant serving meat directly from the grill. It's every vegetarian's nightmare. We ordered a feast for 4 which included large quantities of meat from all parts of the cow, and some from the pig too.
The meal began with a giant serving dish full of guts. It's really a pretty sly strategy to fill up customers with intestines so that they eat less meat, which is much more expensive. I tasted cow intestines for the first time. They were at least crispy, but not particularly tasty, and you can not avoid thinking about what has gone through them. The kidneys and liver were also just OK, but we tried not to eat too much to keep a little space for when the meat came. Some assorted sausages arrived together with the meat, even a blood sausage. I thought it best to just eat the sausages without looking inside them, but when I was halfway through a blood sausage, I could not help myself. It turned out that the big tasteless pieces I thought were coagulated blood was actually fat lumps. At this point I lost my appetite a little, and gave up on the blood sausage. The meat platter was filled with enough meat to feed a small city in Africa, but we were not very hungry after the intestines and fat. It was not exactly a fillet steak. We never really found out what a fillet steak is called in Argentina.
Although the meat was chewy it went down fine, slowly but surely.
In Argentina they eat dinner very late, rarely before 10 P.M. Since we had not eaten anything other than biscuits since we arrived to Buenos Aires we managed to get the boys to go out with us at nine o'clock in the evening, at which time the restaurant was more or less empty. Many evenings we did not have dinner until 12 AM. It feels a little weird to eat a big greasy meal an hour before jumping into bed.
The first day when we were going out to explore the big city it only took one hour before some jerk on the metro stole our camera. It was a bad start to the day.
This was the first time anybody had stolen anything from me, and it destroyed 2 two whole days. Usually in big cities I always keep a hand on all the pockets, and I am constantly cynical to everybody who comes near me. But during this trip on the metro I forgot to pay attention for only 10 minutes, maybe because we had an interesting conversation just then. This little oversight to be cynical was enough for some asshole to put his hand in my pocket and steal our brand new camera. We were not very upset about losing the camera, but the images that were on the memory card were irreplaceable. We lost all the pictures from the world's largest dam in Paraguay, and from the world's most beautiful waterfall; Iguazu in Argentina and Brazil. The 2 most important places in South America, Macchu Picchu and Iguazu Falls, and we have almost no photos from some of the places .... it's amazing sour. It is extremely annoying to know that some idiot in Buenos Aires may have sold our camera for 30$ when we would be willing to pay 5 times as much to get our pictures back.
There was no sightseeing for us that day, we just drowned our sorrows in Argentinian wine and beer. The next day went mostly by finding a police station and trying to get a police certificate for the insurance, a procedure that we are getting pretty fed up with as it is the third country in South America where someone steals from us.
We had been rather unfortunate that last week .... and when stuff like that happens you really feel like taking the first flight home to Norway. The insurance company hates us anyway, since this is the fourth insurance claim in less than 5 months. Only 4 days earlier we had another claim to cover the costs of Torunn's fishbone in the throat.
The following day we went to try paintball with Mauro and Guillermo and a bunch of their friends. I had been looking forward to trying paintball, but after half an hour I wanted to leave and never touch a paintball gun again.
The place was quite amateurish, and lacked the most basic safety procedures. We got a little face mask, but no helmet. This led to, of course, that I managed to get shot 4 times i Knollen. The last time some idiot managed to shoot me in the forehead from 2 meter distance. It was really painful and I started spinning. It's really not fun anymore when you are bleeding from a large bump on your head. Stupid game....
The rest of our time in Buenos Aires, we used to try To find the tourist thing. It is a very nice city, but also very complex. It resembles very much Budapest or Prague, very similar architecture. It's probably because Buenos Aires was built by immigrants from Europe.
We went to the district of La Boca where there are many old houses in every possible color. It was a real tourist trap, but still a pretty interesting place. We ate another large meat meal in a "Parilla", and were served something that I can only describe as the nastiest sausage in the world. It was almost completely without any meat, you had to really dig deep into the sausage to find meat. The sausage consisted almost entirely of a white, soft, homogeneous fat lump.
It was a pretty miserable Parilla, where they actually managed to take "cover charge" to be allowed to eat there, although we sat on plastic chairs in a dark backyard.
After that experience we lightened the mood a little by sharing a giant beer at one of the tourist restaurants that had a continuous Tango-show. Thankfully we got to see a tango show before leaving BA!
Many of the places that had tango shows charged more than 1000 kroner for a ticket, While we only needed to pay 25 kroner for a beer to share.
After 5 nights with Mauro and Guillermo it was time to say goodbye and move on to Uruguay. Uruguay is quite close to Buenos Aires, only 1,5 hours by boat across the river.