Again, I was supposed to visit MALBA, and again, I didn’t.
Instead I popped out to buy a bus ticket to Bariloche (where I’ll be staying for a month from Monday) from the bus station at Retiro. I had to go there because the Very Useful Website, Plataforma10, which enables you to buy bus tickets online, only allows foreigners to do so with a Visa card, which I don’t have.
So, after using another Very Useful Website, Viaja Facil, I climbed onto a no. 23 bus. There followed a long and squiggly bus journey, on which I saw many interesting buildings and Buenos Airean scenes…
When I arrived at Retiro, I made a beeline for this building, since it was obviously the most important structure in the area.
However, it was singularly devoted to trains and exhibited a remarkable paucity of buses inside.
I wandered around the neighbourhood looking for a likely homing point for buses and photographing the monument to Britain in the shape of Big Ben, with identical chime.
Eventually I decided that everyone had been fibbing about the bus station. All I could find were train stations. But, once I had given up and was looking for the right place to catch the return no. 23 bus, I found the bus station, skulking around a corner, painted green, pretending to be a hill. (And not doing a very good job of it, I must say.)
A very nice lady sold me a ticket for a Super-Cama seat on the bus to Bariloche. The best part was that it was A$204 (ZAR 410) cheaper than it would have been online, which made me feel Rather Smug. I then successfully caught the return 23 bus, which spent most of the afternoon stuck in a traffic jam.
Fearful of repeating my previous error and disembarking late, I jumped off earlier than I needed to and once again found myself completely lost. But, exhibiting the natural cunning that I am famed for, I went into a cellphone shop and, while purchasing a SIM card (which it is possible to do purely using mime), I casually enquired the whereabouts of Chile (the street I am living in, not the country).
It was only two blocks away. Once more, I felt Rather Smug.
But, before I reached Chile, I heard the sound of drumming up one of the avenues (the avenues are the big streets in Buenos Aires). The avenue had been blocked off and this was the sight and sound that greeted me:
On the 20 block walk home, I discovered a wonderful, cheap Chinese laundry, just 50 metres from Mi Casa en BA, which I found again, despite my mapless haplessness.
Rather Smug feelings wrapped themselves around my tired legs like possessive cats. I didn’t bother to shrug them off.