Argentina Pt XIX: 4M 4022 AEP-IGR

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After five nights in Buenos Aires, we were back at Aeroparque again for our early flight to Puerto Iguazú.

Like Delta at LAX, we had to check-in using the kiosks before we could drop our bags at the counters.

Kiosks

Check-in counters

We were too early when we got to the airside.

Airside

Our time was spent mainly on a pizzeria where we had breakfast and we were joined by the Malaysian couple whom we met on the bus between Cuzco and Puno.

Pizza place

We had taken slightly different routes since leaving Bolivia. While we traveled to Salta after San Pedro de Atacama, they flew to Easter Island and Santiago before arriving at Buenos Aires. Turned out that we were on the same flight to Puerto Iguazú and we arranged to meet again in Rio.

Coca Cola Ad

Tarmac

Strange to see a AR plane not at an aerobridge

Queuing up

No surprise that we would be boarding from a remote gate.

On the bus

Boarding

Hi Captain

L A N

Flight: LAN Argentina 4M 4022
Depart: Buenos Aires Jorge Newbury (AEP) – 09:05
Arrive: Puerto Iguazú (IGR) – 10:55
Duration: 1h50m
Distance: 654 miles (1,052 km)
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
Registration: LV-BSJ
Seat: 6L

View from 6L

Our neighbour plane had the oneworld livery

Spotted a SOL Saab 340

Bye BA

Pampas

River

Beside looking out at the Argentine countryside, I passed the time with the in-flight magazine.

Maradona vs Messi

Like the flight between Salta and Buenos Aires, snack box and drinks were distributed. We were still full from the pizza so we just saved them for later.

Snack boxes

Variety show on overhead screens

Outside the cabin

There were news about how rain had caused floods in northwestern Argentina and the neighbouring parts of Brazil and Paraguay and it was no surprise that we arrived at IGR in rather gloomy weather.

Gloomy at IGR

Funnily both gates at IGR had aerobridges and we were able to use them.

Aerobridge

Terminal

Something quite funny happened while we were waiting for our bags at the belt; there was a toddler who got up the belt and ran outside and his father had to go after him to get him back. Luckily the belt wasn’t moving at that time and everyone who saw the incident had a laugh.

Taxi fares to the various locations

Alternative was the 60 ARS bus to Puerto Iguazu

The two flights with LAN Argentina was pretty expensive at 315 USD but we had no choice but to fly due to our limited time in Argentina. Pretty unmemorable experiences but we did pick up some MH Enrich miles from them.

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Argentina Pt XVIII: Random Buenos Aires

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The photos that didn’t make it to the rest of the BA posts.

Celebrating our arrival at BA with Stella and Lays

Graffiti in San Telmo

Open 25 hours

Tribute to Amy Winehouse

Cool graffiti

Hopscotch

Reminded me of Argentine flag

Waiting at junction

Training ground

Couldn’t recall what prompted me to take the photo – the queue or the ad

Revolution

Wow

Hi!

HAHAHA

NSFW

Subte

Art

Man Utd vs Boca Juniors

Star(s)

Fairy tale

Boca family

Mural

Portraits

Vishnu

Vitru-TV

Magazine stand

San Telmo weekend market

Amazing lady creating music with recycled materials – show her the money!

Supporter

Uruguay Pt I: Day in Colonia del Sacremento

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Colonia del Sacremento, Uruguay

Across Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires is Colonia del Sacramento, a small town in Uruguay. I couldn’t resist the urge to add one more set of stamps to my passport so we planned a day trip there.

There are three ferry operators: Buquebus, Seacat and Colonia Express. While one could purchase the tickets online, a tip on TripAdvisor revealed that it was actually cheaper to purchase the tickets at the offices.

Buquebus is the most established of the three and its ferries depart from the terminal at Puerto Madero. Seacat seems to be affiliated to Buquebus and operates from the same terminal. It put their passengers on Buquebus ferries on less busy days and it’s actually cheaper to purchase Buquebus tickets through Seacat. Colonia Express is the smaller outfit which has its own terminal in La Boca. Most reviews indicated that the terminal is quite out of the way.

Buying the ticket from Seacat in Buenos Aires

Armed with the information, we headed to Seacat on the Saturday morning. The staff informed us that the return trip on Monday would cost us 47 USD (384 ARS) each and being foreigners, we could only pay using USD or credit card. The 6 USD change were given back in ARS at the official rate of 8 ARS to 1 USD. Our ferry would depart Buenos Aires at 8.30am and return from Colonia at 4.30pm.

It meant that it was an early start for us on Monday. We found ourselves at Puerto Madero terminal after a quick taxi (48 ARS) from San Telmo.

Buquebus Ticket Office, Puerto Madero ferry terminal

The staff at Seacat had told us to check-in at the Buquebus counters and we were quickly processed. Our particulars were already printed on the entry/exit card which came together with the boarding pass.

Checking in

Immigration was pretty interesting; like the Chilean-Argentina border at Paso Jama, Argentina and Uruguayan officials sat next to each other in the booth. Somehow Ying didn’t get an Uruguayan entry stamp but we managed to spot it before heading to the holding area.

Boarding

Ro-ro

Sister ferry

The first thing that greeted us on the ferry was the duty-free shopping.

Fancy some duty-free shopping?

While first-class passengers got to go upstairs, we had to make do with the seats downstairs. Fortunately it was not crowded and one could spread around.

Bar with food for sale

Evacuation route

The experience was similar to the ferry between Hong Kong and Macau. It was a pretty calm journey and I hardly felt the waves. An hour later we arrived in Uruguay, the seventh country of this trip.

Atlantic III

Colonia Express arriving at around the same time – I prefer the bigger Buquebus anytime.

Not in operation today

Following the crowd

Checked luggage coming out

As we had passed through immigration in Buenos Aires, we only needed to go through the customs. The lines were pretty long but we passed through with no issues.

Arrivals

Ticket offices at Colonia del Sacramento

We headed out of the ferry terminal and turned left towards Colonia’s old town.

Outside ferry terminal

There was a large tourist office right outside.

Experiencia Uruguay

We come Uruguay

Information

Colonia’s history was pretty interesting; its owners had alternated between Portugal and Spain and even Brazil over several hundred years. The barrio historico was built by the Portuguese more than 300 years ago.

Yes, we knew we were in Colonia.

Fiat 500

It accompanied us for some distance

Crossing the bridge and entering the historic town centre

There wasn’t much to do beside walking around and taking photographs.

UNESCO Heritage Site

Cannon aimed at Buenos Aires?

Street of Sighs

Playing with camera

Colours

Lighthouse

Horse cart

Outdoor exhibit at a museum – is it a bear?

Road to Rio de la Plata

Graffiti

Classic cars

Cobbled stone street

Sleepy town

Trying to do an imitation

Buggies for rent

Tanning

Church

Interior

Colonia

Lighthouse again

Ruin

Freddo – 3x more expensive than BA

Cambio – note the spread of ARS

We’re not in Argentina anymore

After a couple of hours of aimless wandering, it was time for lunch. We arrived at A la Pipetua at around 12.30pm and got some nice seats in front of the TV. Germany would be playing Portugal at 1pm.

A la Pipetua

Bar area

Ying ordered chivito and I had the seafood paella. Both were yummy.

Chivito

Seafood paella

It was an exhilarating match with Germany winning 4-0. The chef would come out to catch some action from time to time, whenever the German patron shrieked in delight after each goal.

The bill was presented with the amount given in three currencies: US dollars, Argentine pesos and Uruguayan pesos. We paid the 42 USD bill with dollars and made the walk back to the ferry terminal for our 4.30pm departure.

Back at Colonia’s ferry terminal

Check-in for 4.30pm ferry

The procedures were the same as in Buenos Aires and we even had the same ferry.

Hi again

Argentines glued to Iran vs Nigeria

An hour later we were back in Buenos Aires and strangely there weren’t any cabs outside the ferry terminal. We had to walk a block away before flagging down a taxi for the short ride back to our accommodation.

Although Colonia was only an hour away from Buenos Aires, it felt a world away. It was a sleepy town and none of the sights were truly outstanding. To be honest, if it weren’t for the Uruguayan passport stamp, I doubted that I would be very interested to visit it.

Argentina Pt XVII: Food of Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires was the place where we spent the most time in South America (5 nights) and obviously we had quite a few meals there. This post documented the stuff that we ate in BA.

Home-cooked meals

Staying at an accommodation with kitchen facilities and many nearby shops allowed us to self-cater. We cooked ourselves two very Singaporean meals when we were there.

Omelette and sambal sardine

Omelette, veg and more fish

Bar El Federal

While waiting for our laundry to be washed and dried, we had breakfast at Bar El Federal which was located round the corner where we stayed. Rather atmospheric with ok food.

French toast set (52 ARS)

Bar area

McDonald’s

Don’t judge us. We went to a McDonald’s at Palermo thinking that they might have special World Cup merchandise. Turned out that there was nothing.

McDonald’s meal (97 ARS)

Beef burger

Choripan

Had a choripan during the bike tour. Sustenance for the ride ahead.

Choripan (20 ARS)

Grilling sausages

Condiments

Choripan

La Brigada

What’s a visit to BA without going to a parilla? La Brigada was 10 minutes’ walk where we stayed and we decided to try it after the bike tour.

La Brigada

It wasn’t opened yet when we reached at 7pm and we had to return an hour later. The locals don’t dine early and we were among the first few diners that night. It would get slightly more crowded later on.

La Brigada

Interestingly the restaurant was decorated with football memorabilia.

Juan Pablo Sorin’s shirt

We ordered a steak and ribs and some sides to share between us. And a bottle of expensive wine (by accident).

Expensive wine

It sure tasted good.

The service staff actually cut the steak and ribs with a spoon when he served them to us. We were impressed at how soft the meats were.

Beef and ribs

Mac and cheese

While the meats were cooked perfectly, the portions were too big and we struggled to finish them. To be honest, we weren’t big on meats but the meal would be perfect for meat lovers.

The bill was 1175 ARS inclusive of 10% tips and half of it could be attributed to the wine. The same meal could easily cost double or triple in Singapore so we weren’t really complaining.

On a sidenote, we saw the same bottle of wine at a wine shop the following day and found that La Brigada’s mark-up to be really reasonable (around 100 ARS).

And apparently La Brigada was pretty well-known enough to be featured on TAM’s in-flight magazine.

Deja vu when we read about La Brigada in TAM in-flight magazine

Freddo

Almost half of all Argentinians are descendants of Italian emigrants and it was no wonder that they produce some very decent gelato (or helado in Spanish).

Freddo was one of the more famous shops around and there were many interesting flavours; our favourite were Freddo chocolate and passonfruit.

Freddo at Av Callao 1201

Ying joining the queue

Crowded

Yummy

They do delivery too

Our downfall was when we discovered that there was a Freddo five minutes’ walk away from our accommodation (Defensa 901). We would have it two days in a row; one after a stroll through San Telmo weekend market and the next day, we told the taxi driver to drop us there after arriving back from Colonia.

We discovered that the most economical way would be buying by weight. The quarter kilo (49 ARS) portion (any 3 flavours) was perfect for the two of us.

Better deal: quarter kilo at 49 ARS

Casa China

After all the beef, we were dying for something more Asian. We stumbled upon Casa China on our way to Recoleta. The decor of the place made me feel like we were in China and the boss was pretty friendly.

Authentic Chinese food at Casa China (350 ARS)

It was more satisfying than the meal at La Brigada but that was probably because of my Asian palate.

Chit-chatted a little with the boss and her staff and found out that like most Chinese in Argentina, they were originally from Fuzhou. They also offer steamboat for dinner, one could consider visiting it if he/she happens to have a craving for Chinese steamboat in Buenos Aires!

Chachafaz Alfajores

Who could say no to churros? We had some while we went to La Boca for more photos.

Chachafaz Alfajores

Churros, empanadas and chocolate (70 ARS)

Looking at them made me hungry already.

Argentina Pt XVI: Argentina vs Bosnia-Hercegovina

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ARG v BIH

Argentina kicked off its World Cup campaign with the match against Bosnia in Rio de Janeiro. Since we had no TV at our accommodation, we decided to catch it at the public screening at Plaza General San Martin.

We set off rather early, wanting to get a good location at the screening. After our experience the day before, we were well prepared. We brought along a mat, blanket, hot water and snacks to last us the night.

Arriving at Plaza General San Martin

The crowd was noticeably bigger than the day before.

Watching France’s 3-0 victory over Honduras

We found a cozy corner and started setting ourselves up.

Patrick’s excited again

All set up!

In the half an hour or so before the match began, more and more fans turned up.

Getting crowded

“Look, I’m on TV!”

I noticed that many people were holding clappers and found that they were given away for free. Got a couple of items to show our support for Argentina!

Super fan 1

Super fan 2

Cue Shakira’s song

I knew one of the pundits!

Half of Argentina were in Rio that night

Coming out of the tunnel

Pumped up before the National Anthem

Argentina got off to the dream start when Bosnia scored an own goal in the 3rd minute.

Celebrating

Despite the good start, Argentina didn’t impress. I thought that Bosnia did quite a good job in containing their opponents.

Messi doubled Argentina’s lead in the 65th minute and the place went wild again.

Replay of the 2nd goal

Bosnia’s consolation goal five minutes from the end dampened the mood slightly but most fans went home happy. We caught the train back to our accommodation and fans were singing on the platform as well as in the carriage.

Waiting for the next train – just before the singing started

One group of fans got kinda raucous on the carriage as they kept hitting the sides of the trains when they were singing. Fortunately there were two policemen on duty inside the carriage and those guys became calmer (kept singing though) after a few words between them.

It was a great experience watching the match in a public screening and thankfully Argentina won. The mood wouldn’t be so pleasant otherwise!

Argentina Pt XV: Boca

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Boca

We had visited Caminito during the cycling tour and we decided to return for more photos before the crowds arrive.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Caminito

Caminito

Cat

Caminito

The shops were opening and we popped into a few to take a look.

Shops in Caminito

Inside one of the shops

Figurine

Posing with Leo & Diego

We were attracted by the food display outside one of the cafes and decided to have our breakfast there.

Cafe

Food display

Churros, hot chocolate and empanadas

After breakfast, we walked around the neighbourhood, looking at the graffiti/murals.

La Boca

Mural

Diego

We found ourselves outside La Bombonera where there was a queue to get in.

La Bombonera

Shop

It seemed that there would be a stadium tour (80 ARS) and we decided to go for it. We were told to visit the museum first and join the next tour at 12 noon.

Diego Maradona

Martin Palermo

Juan Roman Riquelme

Who’s who of Boca Juniors

The captions were mainly Spanish only but the images and trophies spoke for themselves.

History of La Boca neighbourhood

Mini La Boca

Framed jersies

Celebrations

Celebrations

Trophies

Copa Libertadores

Carlos Tevez

Still the star

Current squad (2014)

Patrick was excited (as usual)

The time came and the guide brought us around the stadium. The explanation was in Spanish only; either the guide forgot the memo or we went the wrong tour.

Guide waiting for participants to settle down

Photowhoring

Behind the fence

Seats

Standing area

Future ultras

Stadium

Patrick found his place in the changing room

Patricio

Woman of the Match

End of tour – mural depicting how Boca Juniors got its colours

I had done similar tour at Anfield back in 2009 and the setups were pretty similar. There were visits around the stadium as well as to the dressing room and press area. Too bad I didn’t know any Spanish to understand what the guide was talking about.

Before leaving Boca, we picked up a scarf for Ying’s brother and we couldn’t resist getting a photo with two of Boca Junior’s most loved heroes.

A R G E N T I N A

A R G E N T I N A

Argentina Pt XIV: Tombs & Tango

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Don’t cry for me Argentina

Our second day in Buenos Aires started with the Subte ride to General San Martín. Two reasons being there: the first was to check out the Plaza General San Martín where there was free public screening of World Cup matches.

General San Martin Station

General San Martin

Saw the arch – this was the right place

Buenos Aires Mundiale

Love this picture

The second reason was to purchase our ferry tickets to Colonia del Sacremento. The sales offices of the various ferry companies are located at Av Cordoba and Galerías Pacífico was nearby.

Galerías Pacífico

Inside

Frescoes

Jorge Luis Borges Cultural Centre is located inside Galerías Pacífico and there are regular tango performances. We were unwilling to pay for the pricey (and touristy) tango shows so we decided to catch the evening performance at the Cultural Centre instead. Our seats in row 4 cost 200 ARS each.

Bien de Tango II

We walked a bit through Calle Florida, the main shopping street of Buenos Aires before finding lunch and making our way to Recoleta.

Crossing Av 9 de Julio – Evita shouting towards the North

La Recoleta Cemetery was probably the only cemetery that I had visited as a tourist attraction.

It was best known as the final resting place of Eva Perón. There were a lot more famous people who were buried there as well but to be honest none of their names rang a bell to me. But I did recognise some of the street names (e.g. Lavalle, Hipólito Yrigoyen, etc).

Plaque

Jesus Christ

Many of the tombs were really elaborate. Showed how wealthy/influential these people had been while they were alive.

La Recoleta

La Recoleta

La Recoleta

Fluffy

We weren’t the only tourists

BW

Pets

Gate’s needed

Jewish tomb?

And of course we had to see Evita’s.

Duarte’s family

Evita!

We probably spent around 40 minutes or so walking around inside. I didn’t find the cemetery interesting but I guessed most first-time visitors to Buenos Aires would visit it.

There was a community centre beside the cemetery and there were several exhibitions. We thought they were way cooler than the tombs.

I’m 100% sure that this exhibition was a retrospective of last 10 years of Personal Fest

Posters of the event over the years

Relive the event through music

There were big names

Memorabilia

The other exhibition: Early Stones

Pictures from Michael Cooper

Hell

Setting up for performance

Groupie pic

Part of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts

We made our way back to Plaza General San Martin where the live screening of matches were. We caught a bit of England-Italy match before going for the tango performance at Jorge Luis Borges Cultural Centre.

Where’s my neck!?

Caught on camera

England vs Italy from Manaus

Shortly after we left, the two teams scored in quick succession. Turned out that we were a bit early for the performance.

While waiting…

The dancing was pretty awesome and the live band was really good too. I was glad that I watched a tango performance but to be honest it wasn’t something that I would return to. I guess that I am not so cultural after all.