My final week in Buenos Aires went out with whimper rather than a bang. The week included both Chinese New Year and The Buenos Aires Carnival, but I got sick and missed both. Never mind, there’s always another year.
Carnival excepted, I did all the things I’d planned for the last two weeks though and I was ready to move on.
I went to a shopping centre called Galeria Bond Street. Yes seriously.
I have an intense dislike of shopping (exception of markets; I enjoy pottering around markets although I rarely buy) but somebody told me about this place. ‘They do tattoos and piercings, and sell all this weird hippie clothes’ she said. Then she added (rather unnecessarily) ‘I think you will enjoy it’.
Great to see how other people see you, isn’t it? My teacher likened me to Vivienne Westwood, though since she’s past 70 I’m not sure I should be too flattered. ‘No I meant your style’ she clarified. Right.
Interesting place, Galleria Bond Street; for anyone familiar with London it’s a bit like Camden Passage but without the endless camera clicking from passing Japanese tourists. I didn’t buy anything though.
I don’t really shop. I try to live a somewhat minimalist life, only buying stuff I really need. Being a traveller obviously helps with this; the last thing I need now is even more stuff to lug around with me. I prefer to spend my money on experiences rather than things.
I brought too much with me to start with, which becomes apparent every time I have to move house and hump the big red albatross up yet another flight of stairs. Yet I still seem to be living permanently at the lavandería (laundry) and I never have anything clean to wear, so quite what I could cut back on I’m not so sure.
I don’t subscribe to this ‘oh it’s cheaper to buy stuff when you get there’ mentality of people who bring nothing with them. Firstly, this is only true if you’re going to SE Asia. Secondly, I don’t want to spend my trip shopping, and ending up with stuff that doesn’t really fit and isn’t really my style. However every time I have to repack my bag I end up saying ‘right is there anything here I can manage without?’ There isn’t.
My final two weeks were spent renting a room in somebody else’s house, rather than in my own apartment. I christened it Barbie’s playpen, on account of the pink hearts everywhere (this really is the bedroom I wanted when I was eight).
Things did not go so well in Barbie’s playpen. It works out about $50 a week cheaper to rent a room rather than rent a small apartment by myself. I thought it might be nice to have a bit of company though anyway, a few new folks to chat to over breakfast maybe, since she rents out five different rooms in the house. However apart from a German man who left the day after I arrived (the effect I have on men eh?) there was nobody else staying for the whole two weeks I was there. Apart from the landlady herself.
I lost the cooking facilities and the air-com, the big double bed and the freedom to come and go as I please, and in their place I got Maria. I’m not sure why some people rent out rooms at all. They think it’s an easy source of money but then seem to resent that you might want to sit in sometimes on a morning using the (excruciatingly slow) internet or might want to use the shower from time to time.
She left me these passive-aggressive notes (which I guess is her way of dealing with the language barrier), saying things like ‘cleaning cloths are under sink’ or ‘you can use headphones after 10pm, my room is on top of you’.
I know $50 is $50, but really I think I would have been better off paying extra and not feeling like an unwelcome visitor, although this is the first time I have ever had this problem with an Airbnb property and most of the people I have met in this way have been awesome, so maybe I should just mark this one down as a bad choice.
Anyway, although I’m leaving Buenos Aires, I will still be in Argentina for a while longer. My next stop will be a 20 hour bus ride away, where I have a playdate with penguins awaiting me.