While we were in Buenos Aires we bought a pair of tango shoes for Frank. The quality of the shoes in Buenos Aires was a bit disappointing, especially after previous buying him Paso de Fuegos (made in Italy and no doubt the best men’s tango shoe). No more shoe talk, I promise.
We also had dinner at an Indian restaurant (I’d been getting cravings) which was lovely, found the tacky tourist district, checked out a bandoneon shop, had some pretty great pizza at El Cuartito which has apparently been around since the world was new. You can stand up and order by the slice like the locals do or sit down at a table. I even got an old seltzer bottle for my mineral water.
The waiter even had the towel folded over his arm. Try the faina, made from chickpea flour.
We only really spent a couple of days there to get some good sleep and organise travelling to Santiago. The hotel splendid was pretty disappointing in that it was not a pretty hotel, the wifi was unusable and the breakfast was pretty gross. They also overcharged us when we left which was pretty rich seeing that our tv didn’t work and our towels had holes in them (big holes). Hotels seem quite cheap in BA, so I’ll definitely do more research when we go back. At least the airconditioning was good and it was so quiet you could sleep without being disturbed which was perfect for us.
We got a bus ticket to Santiago with a little bit of effort. There are only three bus companies that do this trip in one go and most of there desks were unmanned when we tried to buy tickets. We went with Cata who were the most expensive ($670 AR per person) but were leaving on the right day. It was a combined bus but all the beds were taken (there was only three aussie dollars difference between a bed and a semi-bed). It was the first time we had to go through a customs section of the bus terminal and no-one told the luggage guy that the bus was there so there was much standing around and waiting to leave.
We were on the top floor and it seemed reasonably comfortable although there was bugger all hand luggage space. After leaving we found out two annoying things about this bus company 1. You are not allowed to remove your shoes for the whole 21 hours of bus trip and we were wearing hiking boots. 2. They specified that the toilets were for liquids only. I’m not sure how they were planning to police that. This was somewhat negated by the fact they ran three movies through the trip which really made the time go faster (please never watch the movie Knight and Day with Tom Cruise, it is really terrible. Really).
Although we had a couple of run ins with the shoe rule, the guy serving was helpful and spent the whole time cleaning. All the meals were supplied and were surprisingly okay for what I was expecting. I did notice it was all quite stodgy food that had a great ability to block you up and I don’t think this was a coincidence.
Eventually I feel asleep (with a shawl over my feet to cover their nakedness!) Frank woke me the next morning to the most amazing view of the Andes. The next couple of hours was a breathtaking ride through some of the most impressive formations I have ever seen. So many different colours and textures!
The border crossing was a bit of a headache after the quick and easy Uruguay/Argentina crossing. Argentine to Chile takes just over an hour and it involves totally unpacking the bus and a lot of standing around. Once that was over we returned to the bus to make our way down an incredibly impressive hillside. Frank was very excited and took many photos. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him this exciting before. It was nice.