Trip to La Boca (Caminito)

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Decided to venture to El Caminito yesterday. Took us only 4 hours to make the 30 minute trip (probably 1.5h if we'd walked). Caminito is located in La Boca, which is considered one of Buenos Aires' poorest and dangerous Neighbourhoods. The guide book had phrases such as "if you must walk... whatever you do don't turn left on ... and don't even think about walking back along the water ..."

Anyway, we decided to take the subway to plaza de mayo and then hop on a bus the rest of the way. The bus however, seemed to be going in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go... by the time the bus passed the original subway station we started at, we figured we might be on the right bus going in the wrong direction. Having nowhere to be really, we stayed on the bus to get a nice little tour of Buenos Aires... 1h later when the bus was in the middle of nowhere... we got kicked off and had to find another bus back (we were hoping maybe he'd just turn around and start the route from that end, but no luck.

In Buenos Aires you have to have change to ride the bus, you can't buy a pack of tickets, always change. We /thought/ we had enough change for the day... but turns out busses in the suburbs cost significantly more. We bought one ticket, got yelled at by the bus driver a little bit and then took our seats. Hopped off at a subway station and decided to try our luck again. At this point we were out of change, and apparently so were the subway people... so they let us board for free (subway costs 90c/ride, we gave them 2 pesos and they couldn't even change 20c worth).

We knew we'd need more change to catch another bus at this point, so we stopped at a small "kiosko" (a little corner store type thing) and tried to find some unevenly priced items (if you ask for change they'll laugh at you). We managed to get 50c which was enough to add to our existing change collection to get us into Caminito. Hopped on the right bus going the /right/ way this time and arrived about 10 minutes later.

El Caminito used to be right next to the BA docks and supposedly the poor people living there would beg docked ships for extra paint they had. The area now is primarily for tourists and even overwhelmed me a little bit with just how touristy it was (easily the most touristy place I've been in years). It's located on the edge of the La Boca neighbourhood, which apparently has the highest crime rate in Buenos Aires. Though supposedly the area is a lot safer now than it use to be even a few years ago.

On our way out, I tried to buy a hot dog but almost failed due to the vendor not having even a peso of change (!!). And then boarding the bus... well, no one had change so the bus driver just let us all on for free.

Change in Buenos Aires is a serious issue. I'll be writing more about that in my next post.

You can see all my El Caminito photos here. Or my whole Argentina set.

New York photos uploaded

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Two and a half months later, but I've finally remembered to post my photos from my one week in New York. After DrupalCon Hungary I timed my trips back to have a one week layover in New York. Sam also joined me there for the week.

I think this is the only blog post I've written about that trip besides the one night stop over I had on the way there (due to a mistake in my ticket purchasing :) ). Anyway, the trip was really good, we stayed the week in a nice apartment in Brooklyn that had fairly central access to a few different subway lines.

It definitely had a few areas that reminded me of parts of Vancouver... but everything was at least x50. I really liked the city and wouldn't mind spending a bit more time there.

Culture Shock


Whenever you go to a completely new place you get a bit of culture shock. I think even coming home from a long trip you can often experience it as well. When me and Scott Mac went traveling in Europe we started our trip in Amsterdam. I think I remember the most "shocking" things right on arrival to be the language (all hundred of them spoken there), the european style of streets, getting almost killed by cyclists, and the alcohol prices :). We didn't find the red light district until we'd already been in town for a day and a half... we couldn't figure out for the life of us what this so called "red light district" was, or why it was called that ;-).

I've traveled a lot more since then and I still enjoy the "culture shock" when arriving to a new place. In New York I talked to a couple people who were just so totally rude to me I could do nothing but laugh... I don't think that helped the situations either though :).

I think maybe formally culture shock is defined differently... but I mostly just use it to describe anything that's different that catches me off guard.

headless doll

The phone system is always one of them, everywhere phones work differently, they have different tones and different rules when calling (for example, unless you have a special plan, land lines can't call cell phones in argentina). Sometimes even the pay phones them self are quite different.

Pay phone

In my opinion, North Americans eating habits and food are quite tame. Liver is probably the grossest looking thing you'll get in a supermarket.

mmmm brains

I cooked up the bottom left one for Sam and myself, goes great with some garlic butter.

Buenos Aires is a very European city, the streets and buildings all have that feel. I still always feel like I'm going to get hit by cars when walking across the street... need to fight your way through the crosswalks even. Probably doesn't help that our apt is on the corner of one of the major intersections here.

It's a really great city, weather has been awesome too... these people just need to learn to speak English!


First week in Buenos Aires, Argentina

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I've been in Buenos Aires for just under a week now and so far things have been amazing. The apartment is really nice and in a fairly central location. Biggest complaint so far is the noise, but I guess that's to be expected when you're at the corner of a major intersection.

View from our Apt

Very few people here speak any English, it's actually a bit surprising. It seems to be spoken by significantly fewer people than any other country I've been to.

Figuring out the phone systems has been quite interesting. This will be a whole blog post to explain it ;-). Anyway, I finally got everything figured out today and my phone is now working for sending/receiving SMS's and 3G. I still haven't figured out how to forward my VOIP number here, but until the number you should call/sms is: +5491133469192

Today Sam and I mostly just walked across part of town and back... about 7h worth of it. Will hopefully be posting photos shortly I guess I'll find out if our internet is capped at about the same time.

P.S. Google translator... thank you!

I'm outta here


After a few months of planning and nearly missing my ride to the airport, I sit here in the awaiting my flight. In just under 24h from now I'll be in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I moved out of my apartment this past Sunday and I'll be in Argentina for the next 3 months. The whole trip seems a little surreal, to be honest, even after checking out of my apt and sitting here in the international departures area of YVR, it /still/ doesn't seem like anything is really changing. The past week has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride in terms of being both excited for the trip and sad to be leaving Vancouver... of course, leaving Vancouver on Nov 1 to head into summer in Argentina isn't something I'll be complaining about ;-)

empty apartment

As a quick side note... starbucks hot chocolate still totally sucks.

For anyone that wants to get ahold of me while I'm out of the country, you can call - 604-248-4875. I won't be answering my regular cell number, this is an VOIP number that I'll be forwarding to wherever my cell is. Don't send text messages there :).

While I'm in Argentina I'll still be working full time for NowPublic. I've really been enjoying the work I'm doing there and I'm pretty gratefull that they've let me continue my position while I'll be remote. Since the majority of people that I'm managing work remotely from Europe anyway, and my boss is in New York, I'm confident that things will continue to work smoothly.

I'll be living with Sam while I'm down there and hopefully learn some Spanish too.

A quick tip before I head out... drinking all of what remains of your "good" booze the night before a 4:30am trip to the airport is not recommended. Both me and Scott slept through an alarm for 20 minutes and a phone call :).

I'll try to keep my blog updated while I'm down there, but realistically you'll probably have better luck following my flickr feed.

I'll see y'all in February.