I got off the plane to Buenos Aires, and at first it seemed like no one was there. That might have had to do with the fact that the flight landed at 8 in the morning. Well, as soon as I got through the international check there were people everywhere. Swarms of people just talking and laughing, getting their bags, walking into stores. Being surrounded by that much Spanish was overwhelming, I forgot everything I knew and just stood there for a solid minute before moving on.
Baggage pickup was very nice, in a completely unexpected way. There were just lines of people waiting, some for baggage, some for customs, some I didn’t even know why they were there. All my bags came through which is always a relief and I met someone in line in the same situation.
Her name was Ashley, and she was studying in Cordoba, Argentina for the summer. We quickly bonded as being the only two people who did not speak fluent Spanish in the near vicinity (she is from Scotland, and I am from the U.S. in case that was apparent already). We both enjoyed knowing there was one other person who had no idea what was happening around them.
Customs gave me no problems, they let me go pretty quickly. And then I entered the horde. I thought the international terminal was bad in EZE, but when I left it the rest of the airport was just packed with people. Once again, the shock of that many people just made me shut down a little before I got help.
This help came in the form of a taxi company. The woman who booked my cab (which was only 20 dollars in US dollars) wrote out directions to the money exchange. She then waited for me at the booth the entire time it took to complete the transaction before escorting me to my cab driver. That’s what really struck me in the airport, how wonderful and nice everyone was. Everyone was so pleasant and it was great. If they had all been super cranky I’m not sure what I would have done, especially at the hotel I’m staying at. They were all so wonderful, putting up with my mangled Spanish and helping get me checked in for my flight tomorrow. This poor guy, one of the concierges, had to help me for two hours because I couldn’t figure out how to work their computers.
I loved the ride over from the hotel. I spent the entire time looking out the windows and just studying how different the trees around me were. They are similar enough to California trees to be comforting, but just different enough to draw attention. I haven’t seen any birds yet, but they are loud out there. Another thing I didn’t realize was how humid it is here, it just feels like it should be raining at any second.
What really struck me though, and what is going to stick with me, was the strange mash of buildings on the drive. There were some ancient churches we drove past that were absolutely gorgeous tucked right up against state of the art soccer stadiums. Ranches sit right next to golf courses, a stunning white cathedral sits across from my hotel right next to an actual hovel. One of the walls was caving in, chickens and horses were running around it, and standing above it is this display of wealth. This striking mismatch shocked me. From my window, there’s a perfect example of this. A brand new soccer stadium sits proudly, while next to it is a concrete bridge for pedestrians that looks to be slowly falling apart.
And while I feel that these are important to point out, it was some of the ruins that really had a chilling effect. On the drive to my hotel, I noticed there was a little cute picture of a police man that said 30km. He appeared again at the 20km marker and counted down to something, I just wasn’t sure what. In about thirty seconds though I found out. The remains of a police check point was what I saw, the glass broken and burn marks on the concrete. I don’t know what it is from, and it happened to fast to take a picture of, but it was enough to make me curious about why it was so damaged.
But what really made my night was dinner. So the only restaurant is this really nice fancy one. And it was the only place I could eat tonight so I went. I felt so bad for the manager, here he is trying to keep it all fancy as people are there with their dates and families. I went there directly after getting off the plane. So its been about two days since I showered, my hair is disgusting, and I have no makeup on. I am sitting in his fancy restaurant eating a delicious meal looking disgusting while he tries to deal with it. It should not have been as funny to me as it was. Must be the lack of sleep.