Corin Anderson (magellanic) wrote,
Corin Anderson
magellanic

Thoughts on places

We flew LAN from SFO to Buenos Aires by way of Lima, and Aerolineas from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. The international, long-haul legs were comfortable and went by easily. The seats were ample, the leg room plentiful, the food acceptable and even tasty, and the entertainment adequate and free. Melinda and I each checked one bag and carried one bag (a backpack) on board so we had no trouble finding carry-on stowage. The final leg to Ushuaia was more like flying United Airlines: the seats were still, the rows too close, the food incomplete (a sandwich made of bread, cheese, and meat - no sauces or anything else), and the entertainment simply not present. I'm glad that on the return trip the least comfortable leg will be first.

International flights arrive at Ministro Pistarini International Airport, or EZE, in Buenos Aires; domestic flights depart from Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP). Our travel agent advised we take a cab to cross town, and that we should arrange for the cab inside the airport. One can get cabs on the curb but they're not all truly cabs, and those that are aren't regulated and monitored in the same way that the other carriers are. Because we were traveling with others for the trip we piled in to two four-passenger cabs for the cross-town trip. I sat in the front and got a splendid view as we drove along. Being a driver here is like being a bicyclist in the Bay Area: you can get away with tricks like driving on the shoulder or splitting two lanes to pass someone, but you must be much more aware of all other cars around you. Our driver did a fine job of this, stopping the forward progress of the car only twice, for the toll crossings. Pretty good for a 45 minute drive in Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires reminds me of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, the only other South American city I've visited. It's developed but many of the structures look dilapidated. Newer apartments look nice. Along the roads there's cars parked, idling, and people standing waiting for a ride. A lot of people seem idle. Cars are generally older and transport trucks belch sooty exhaust. It's loud. Graffiti adorns most walls in urban areas and small trash accumulates in street gutters and along the edges of sidewalks. It's what I would imagine the US would look like if the "old west" era happened with today's technology (mobile phones, cars, etc.). I see a lot of opportunity here, but I don't see an industry in place to meet it. In contrast, for instance, there's a lot of opportunity in China in general or Hong Kong in particular and the people there are being very industrious to meet it.

Melinda and I took a twilight walk within a few blocks of the hotel. Many of the shops were closed but we found at least one open and we looked in the window of several others. Many places sell penguin-themed merchandise; we may buy souvenirs before the trip rather than after because we'll have some time to do so tomorrow. Along the way we found a place selling ice cream - Don Lito. For $6 USD together we got two cones with two tall scoops of small-batch ice cream. The chocolate was good but not amazing, but the vanilla was fantastic -- a flavor and not a synonym for "plain". Super dulce de leche lived up to its superlative.
Tags: travel
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