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Friday, September 19, 2008

Argentina -- Photo Albums & After Thoughts

Information overload - You could not possibly want more!

Photo Albums:  
8.31 - 9.1 Iguazu Fall Buenos Aires

To be honest, before this trip, as much as I love travel and would always jump on every opportunity to explore new place, I was in no rush to visit Argentina, or the whole continent of south America for that matter.  

I would love to visit someday for sure, but there was always a more immediate, more feasible destination to go for my next trip. 

I knew very little about Argentina and it's people & culture.  It was so foreign in concept that the only frame of reference I had about this country was a movie I saw a few years back called "Live-in maid/Cama adentro" (which was a very good movie by the way.)
Thanks to Samantha Brown's Passport to South America series, the deflation of U.S. Dollars, and my American Airline mileages, the "indefinite future" became my "next trip" 6 months ago. 
I had never booked a trip so far in advance, prepared so much for, and still knew so little about.  I had no idea what to expect of this trip. 

The trip brought me closer to the whole Latin America.  Still knowing very little about it, I at least have some personal experience to draw from after this trip. 

It just opened up my appetite for this continent, and made me curious & hungry for more (sorry, Anthony Bourdain, I borrowed your opening line).

Tips for planning your own trip: 
  • Resource: The Trip Advisor forum is an excellent site for up-to-date information.  Many local experts on the forum are extremely helpful.  Utilize it. 
  • Safety:  Traveling as a couple definitely put me at ease about this concern.  However, we did not experience any dangerous situation.  Taking the subte is a none-event.  I kept my bag close to me at all times.  We followed the advices on trip advisor forum, took radio taxi only, and paid taxi fare with small changes. Our friends Mark & Donna noticed that the corner stores tried to short change them twice when they made purchases. 
  • Language: Make the effort to learn some basic Spanish. It will make your trip a lot easier. 
  • Internet: Wi-Fi connections are everywhere in cafes and even clothing stores.  
  • Phone: Figure out how to make calls with land lines and mobiles if you are planning on renting an apartment, getting a sim card, and phone cards. It's complicated. 
  • Apartment rental: We had a very positive experience with bytArgentina and will recommend the agency to anyone who is interested in renting an apartment in BA.  Noise pollution in BA is very bad.  You must put it into consideration when renting an apartment. We loved our apartment. It was quiet facing the back, centrally located, and close to a shopping mall & subte station.
  • Restaurant: One restaurant that I will go back is La Cabrera if I visit Buenos Aires in the future. In terms of the cost, the cheapest dinner we had was at Mosoq for about 160 pesos. The most expensive one was at Thymus for about 320 pesos. (Both with 15% tips included)
  • Iguazu Fall: It truly is one of world's wonders.  Brazil side of Iguazu is worth seeing. Go for at least 2 full days and 1 night.  
  • Map: Say Hueque travel agency provide downloadable Argentina & Buenos Aires maps. 

(I almost feel bad to have you reading to this point.  It's so freaking looooooong!)

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