Argentina

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I have been to Argentina for only two times, very shortly. The First time to Foz do Iguacu, with itís famous waterfalls, and other time for three days to Buenos Aires.

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Anecdote

After a long flight from Madrid, we arrived at Buenos Aires in the middle of the night. Not that easy with wife and two small kids. At the conveyor belt, we noticed one suitcase missing. Fortunately we speak some Spanish, and so do they. That helped to understand how they tried to send us from one counter to another. After hours of waiting at the airport we gave up, it was already 1 am. A friend of us had already booked a small hotel in the center, so off we went, tired and disappointed.


The next day we checked out the center. Rather cold, really. In the Netherlands it was 35 degrees centigrade (summer), and over here it was about 12 max, winter, and rainy. The center is big and wide, and modern. There are lots of interesting things to see, and frequently we stopped for the mandatory coffee and lemonade, but we held back with food, as we were looking forward to this argentinian steak. These are exquisite, and that big that you wonder how all of that fits into a cow. Well, the steak covers the better half of a huge plate, and is about 2 inch thick. No pepper or spices added, all they did is rub it with seasalt, the night before, and then grilled in a way that only argentinians know how to do. The rest of the plate is filled with French fries or fried potatoes, and vegetables not worth mentioning.


At about 7 pm we arrived at the most expensive restaurant district (see picture 2), tired but full of expectations. What a disappointment when we noticed that all was closed. Argentinians appear to eat all day, and between 6 and 9 pm they clean up the restaurants, to prepare for dinner at 9. My kids demanded to go to a MacDonalds, and it took me quite an effort and promises to buy off my workers council. We stopped a cab, and asked the driver if he knew a good and open restaurant. Of course. We drove endlessly through the big city, and found all restaurants owned by his family and friends closed as well. Finally we found a restaurant. Not surprising actually, as it was already 9 pm now, and the bill for the taxi was unbelievable. But we had quite a big tour through the city. The steak really helped to overcome the pain.

The next day at lunchtime, according to the promises I made with the workers council, we went to MacDonalds. I notived I had a big note, and wanted change for that. That was impossible, until a waiter found a way to get it done, and I got smaller notes. Later that day it turned out to be a fake. My disgust for MacDonalds even worsened, as I lost enough money for at least two great steaks.


A month later I returned to Buenos Aires, only to shift planes. I checked to see if the the lost suitcase was found, but no.

The transatlantic flight had a 17 hour delay. Aerolineas Argentinas was so nice to put all stranded passengers in a good hotel in the center. No steak. The next morning back to the airport, and finally off. In Madrid I ran to the KLM ticket office, to see what could be done about my non-refundable non-changeable flight from Madrid to Amsterdam, which left the day before. I couldnít reach it, as about150 passengers where waiting for the ticket office. Some problems with a hole in the plane due to a loose suitcase or so. The Aerolineas Argintinas ticket office was still closed, and Air France is full between Paris and Amsterdam. MartinAir wanted 370 euro for a single, whilst I only had 300 in cash. (I was robbed in Bolivia, including my bank pass, and my wife was still in Bolivia with hers). Back to the ticket office of Aerolineas Argentinas, where they could do nothing, even after admitting that it was their fault. We donít have business connections with MartinAir nor KLM, and we will definitely not refund anything. Bastards. I was visualizing Lady Thatcher invading them again. I was also visualizing me begging at the Dutch embassy for the lacking 70 euro, to fly with MartinAir.

By now, the queue for the KLM ticket office is dissolved. No, they canít reschedule or refund anything either. But I can buy a ticket for only 130 euro. That sounded like a good plan. On the bad side, it left the next day in the afternoon. I had no choice, really. With the remaining 170 euro I could well afford a day in Madrid. I found a hotel in the center, and went off for a stroll. Due to the jet lag I felt a bit tired, and went back early to the hotel at 5 pm, for a small nap. At 2 at night I woke up, disappointed as I intended to have a closer look at Madrid, rather than sleeping.

The next day, after a few hours of delay, I arrived in Amsterdam, at midnight. Tired and broken I returned home, and close to my door I twisted my ankle. As I was way to tired to sit there with my foot in a tub of cold water, I collided in bed. The day after my foot was swollen till about two times the normal size. I donít know if this misfortune added to the feeling, but the flight from Bolivia to Amsterdam was the most rotten travel I ever made.


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