Argentina Bound!

Buenos Aires or bust!

Mar Del Plata

March30

This past weekend my program took a trip to Mar Del Plata, Argentina. It is a beach town 6 hours south of Buenos Aires. We took a bus for the journey. The bus terminal in Buenos Aires has probably at least a hundred “gates” for double decker, charter style buses. The buses can take you virtually anywhere in Argentina and South America. The buses look like charter buses from the outside but inside they are much nicer. Instead of being 4 seats across, they are 3 across because the seats are very wide. The seats also have a fold down leg rest and they recline way back. Think of a small la-z-boy on a bus. They are very comfortable and I slept virtually the whole way there and back. You also receive a snack packet when you board the bus with various snacks inside and there are water cooler with hot water for tea and cold water. I have heard that on longer trips they will feed you meals and possibly show movies. It seems these buses are the primary means of transportation for most everyone here because they are cheaper than flying.

Mar Del Plata appeared to be similar to a beach town in any other major resort area. Lots of hotels and tourist stores, pretty views and a nice beach.  It has the largest casino in South America- we never made it there. One of the beaches has a unique rock formation that is natural and only found in one other place in the world: South Africa.

We went to the beach once during our stay. Since we traveled south it was a little cooler than Buenos Aires but we were determined to go to the beach anyway. Some of my friends and I went with beach towels with the goal of a nap on the beach. However, when we arrived we spread out our towels and were accosted by a pack of 5 stray dogs. One of my friends was feeding them and they kicked sand all over our towels and just wrecked havoc on our tranquil setup. We wound up packing up because these dogs were crazy. They even followed us off the beach and almost back to our hotel. Craziness.

We spent one day an hour away from the beach on an “estancia” (large farm) and had a traditional Argentine asado (cookout, roast). The scenery was beautiful, we got to enjoy a nice sunny day, and we rode horses in an open field. It was the perfect diversion from living in the city. The beef we ate for lunch was DELICIOUS! They had two types of sausage as well as various pieces of beef- all very very good.

My travels will continue this weekend as I leave Thursday with 5 of my friends for Bariloche, Patagonia. It will be a 20 hour bus ride each way and we will spend 3 nights there and return to Buenos Aires on Tuesday. We have a break from school for Semana Santa (Easter/Holy week) this week so we are trying to go as far away as possible since this our only chance to do so. Then 2 weeks later we will travel to the most popular beach resort in South America- Punta del Este, Uruguay. These next couple of weeks are a little crazy but I’m excited to be seeing more than just the city.

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