Friday, February 5, 2010

The Tragically Un-Hip

We arrived back into glorious Buenos Aires on Thursday evening, freshly relaxed from our beach vacation and ready to explore all that this city has to offer.

After enjoying our two days in the historic neighbourhood of San Telmo on our last tour through town, we decided to mix it up this time and secured a room in Palermo - the "hip" area in Buenos Aires, known for it's boutique shopping and hopping nightlife.

WOW...are we out of place! We went for dinner last night at Sudestada - a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant that would hopefully satisfy our intense cravings for something different then the traditional Argentinian fare. In comparison to all the other people dining there, the only thing fashionable about us was our late appearance. We sorely stuck out from the crowd of beautiful, trendy people that this city is known for. Our practical travel clothing and sensible shoes just didn't cut it. I suppose it is telling that my shower flip-flops also double as my fancy going-out footwear (they are gold metallic!)

In the last five months, we have become quite used to not fitting in, but usually for other reasons - like not catching a joke when it is spoken beyond our level of Spanish, or simply by the color tone of our skin. This time, we can actually do something about it. And if part of experiencing Buenos Aires is to partake in some of the trendy shops, then I am all about getting the whole experience! It is probably a very good thing that my 60 litre backpack is probably 59 litres full, but there is room to squeeze in a few goodies.

We have about 10 days here which will be spent taking Spanish lessons, seeing another futbol game, extensive touring, tangoing, enjoying exceptional food, seeing a concert of one of my favourite bands from the 90s, and of course...a bit of shopping!

Our last two days in Uruguay, spent back in our favourite spot of Colonia, were marred by continual rain. We managed to slip out in between showers to see a friend that was also in town, but for the most part we were forced to stick within our hostel.

We used this time to figure out a question that has been dogging us for the past few weeks, now that we are almost done Argentina, what next? Add in the complicating factor of needing to come home this summer (Pete's brother Phil is getting married in September!), and we have had an awful lot to think about.

What we have decided (for now) is that we are going to severely pick up the pace, heading due north. Given our aforementioned desire to settle down here eventually, we are going to spend most of our time on the remainder of this trip touring the places that we think may be serious contenders for putting down roots.

This means that from the time we leave Buenos Aires, we will have about 6 months left before we are on a plane home (probably from Mexico), with about 8 countries of interest left to see (and some will remain completely unseen for now). That is a lot to do in such little time! It feels weird to have given ourselves a deadline, but at the same time, our dream of owning our little casita on a beach is now that much closer.

Very regrettably, we also now have to put aside our desire to do more volunteer work. We had scouted out an opportunity in Peru and also were going to look hard in Colombia. While we are extremely disappointed to not be able to follow through on that for now, we know that from our experiences down here, our desire to help those less fortunate is now rooted deep within us. It is something we will carry within and act on wherever we do go.

So, all that being said, where to next?? From Buenos Aires, we will be making our way to Arequipa, Peru! Our original hope was to spend some more time in northern Bolivia, starting with the capital city of La Paz before moving to Peru. However, due to some severe rain that has caused flooding in that area as well as devastating landslides in eastern Peru, we will have to forego that this time around. We are very upset to miss out on the much-anticipated stops of Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu...but we have to save something for next time, right?

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