It’s been a rough 24 hours for the cougars in South America, but we are still laughing – or at least one of us is!
We flew from Salta which in the north of Argentina to neighbouring Uruguay yesterday morning via Buenos Aires. We chose to take the international flight to avoid transfers in the city of BA so overall it was a full day of traveling. You can visit Uruguay by taking a 2.5 hour ferry ride from Buenos Aires port but they are two very separate countries and are treated as such. They use a different currency and despite being only separated by the Río de la Plata (River Plate) which is an estuary made from the Uruguay River and the Paraná River which are on the border between Argentina and Uruguay. At about 290 kilometres,it is the widest in the world they appear to be worlds apart to this pair of nomads. It is more expensive here for us using the Kiwi dollar and it hasn’t started so well.
Penny had a shit of a day yesterday – in more ways than one. She started out misplacing her credit card before checking out of the hotel in Salta and things didn’t really improve from there. I am a pretty relaxed traveller as I have travelled so much on my own and am used to continual fuck ups. We had cleared security at BA into the international departure lounge when she went ahead while I was detained. I was carrying contraband in the form of an aerosol bottle of OFF – mossie killer. They weren’t going to let me through with the can onto the plane so I stood in the security area and emptied as much of it onto myself as I possibly could. I have been scratching for 10 days now and am scared I am going to end up with some type of nasty dengue fever!
I must have inadvertently walked past her waiting in the crowd for me to finish and I made my way to the departure lounge planning on doing a bit of people watching. I knew she would be lost and was having a private laugh to myself when she came into view. Trudging dejectedly round the corner she came pulling her hand luggage looking rather ashen and like something that had just come from the wreck of the Hesperus! I have a small amount of compassion left following a harrowing couple of weeks so I beckoned to her. The relief was instant on her face and we proceeded to the departure gate. We were the last two on the plane and all the other passengers were already seated. It does help when you don’t know you have nearly missed it after the fact – far less stressful!
When we decided to come here, she insisted on staying near a beach. I have no tolerance for beaches. I’m the furthest thing from a beach babe you could ever get, and I would sooner have a root canal done than dig sand out of every orifice after a day lying on the beach. I agreed to compromise and booked “Hotel Bahamas” through booking.com before leaving NZ. It appeared close, looked like it had a great roof top pool and wasn’t too badly priced.
We checked in and headed off to the room which I must admit was a disappointment. Dark as the inside of a dead dog, poky with a single and double bed in it. You couldn’t open the windows that were covered by shutters and it was really stuffy with no ventalitation so I decided I would nip upstairs and cool off in the pool before we planned our next move. It was at that point Penny realised she was a bag missing. She sufferers from claustrophobia and to avoid using the lift had sped off down the stairs to reception. I think she must have passed the staff member who had realised it was her bag as he used the lift. She returned frazzled but decided to join me at the pool. It looked really inviting on the rooftop and I thank Christ I never dived in. It was only 18 inches deep so I think its more a cooling pool than a swimming pool – unless you are 18 months old or a Labrador.
We headed down the street to case the joint out via the beach. It was manky by our standards. Piles or rubbish everywhere and dirty brown water. There is no twilight in these places, and I was eager to return while there was some light left so back we headed to the Hotel. The Manager saw us arrive and was waving Penny’s passport at us that he had found somewhere along the way!
Because the guy had been so pleasant, we decided to eat in the restaurant for dinner. I am severely allergic to wheat and lactose and so ordering from a menu has been challenging here but with the help of google translate I generally manage to get my point across – often to the amusement of Penny who it would appear until last night had a cast iron guts.
When I left NZ, Paella was a dish containing rice .Rice is a staple of my diet these days so I ordered a chicken paella dish after much discussion with the waitress about my intolerance's using google translate. She managed to say there was no chicken left and I would have to have fish paella. I agreed, and said it must be plain with no additives. Penny ordered the same. She took me literally and when the dish arrived there was only fish – no rice, not a thing other than the fish that looked like it had a suspicious coating on it. When I asked if it was flour, she smiled and pointed to the bread. No flour indeed but breadcrumbs. It was all a bit much for me after a long day and I left the table holding back the tears leaving Penny with both the meals. I headed up to the roof top to drink the Corona beer and eat the packet of blueberries I had purchased from the supermarket earlier.
Penny arrived at the room about an hour later and was spitting tacks. The restaurant had made her pay for both our “paella” meals and it had cost $80 NZD. She was livid as the room tariff was only $60 and that seemed an insane comparison . What also seemed insane to me was that she had tried to eat both the meals because she was so cross. Still ranting she got into bed.
It wasn’t long before she was doubled over in pain and cutting a track to the toilet followed by the most unladylike of noises. I have already mentioned her fear of closed spaces and because the door wasn’t being shut post visit, I was subject to some of the most offensive perfumes I have had to bare for some time. I was nearly vomiting lying in the small room inhaling the odour and demanded she shut the door between her visits. She did this which worked well for a few minutes, until she needed to go again and panic set in when she realised the door was shut firmly and she couldn’t open it.
To be continued…