Road To Buenos Aires – I (¡Voy a ir para Argentina!)
I will be going to my penultimate continent, South America. The only continent that I won’t have been to then will be Antarctica and I think I will get that too before too many years pass. I hope to be adding at least four or five countries to my tally, which is kind of cool for me personally. I will be learning a language that I have always wanted to learn, Spanish. And I will be going to a place that seems to have a spirit and ethos I resonate with. And ... I am doing this only for me.
I have several reasons for doing this. Primarily, I wish to get my residency in Argentina so that I have a footprint in another country. My long-term plan is to become a digital nomad and my desired travel paradigm is 3 – 4 countries a year, each for 3 – 4 months. That suits me. And Argentina just appealed to me as a base for South America.
Now ... how much do I know about Argentina and Buenos Aires? Not much, I'm afraid, other than, of course, what one can find on the Internet. I am intimidated about speaking Spanish there because I have heard that Rioplatense Spanish is both extremely rapid, and quite different than regular Spanish. However, none of this is deterring me. I think it is a good idea and I am looking forward to it. In addition, I am really interested to go somewhere where I am not going to be working (online doesn’t count). I can just enjoy discovering a new country, and meet new people.
The little I have found intrigues me greatly. The country looks absolutely gorgeous. And so varied. The city of Buenos Aires, although supposedly crowded and polluted, seems to have dozens of quaint barrios to live in or explore, and a thriving café society, which I like. The one thing I do wonder about, is that I am a guy that wakes up at 4am most days and is abed by 8pm. That seems diametrically opposed to the porteños. It seems they eat about 11pm and go to bed about the time I am waking up. Ah well :-)
I'm cautiously happy as I go about the business of researching a place to stay, studying Spanish for real, trying to see if I can make some contacts on the ground before I go, and exploring what it will be like to stay in Argentina, in a brand-new country that I have never been to before.
So, I will be doing a series of articles about my journey to Buenos Aires and Argentina.
To start with, since I am flying from Asia, the trip itself is going to be a challenge. But, Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar airways are good choices. Basically, one stop. You can fly from almost any hub in Asia, one stop in the Gulf (either Doha or Dubai), and then a long hop to South America. Seems that one can’t avoid a stop in Brazil, but that is OK. Tickets aren’t cheap; Several thousand for Economy and about double that for Business. And I won’t go economy for a trip that is 35 – 45 hours :-) … Trivia: Buenos Aires is very close to being exactly on the opposite side of the globe from where I am currently located. There are some interesting websites that calculate this for you. No wonder the trip is so long :-)
But I don’t mind the extra cost. That way the trip becomes part of the adventure rather than an ordeal to be endured on either end. I enjoy the cocoons they have on their planes. Easy to settle in and be cozy with your laptop, iPad, etc. I’ll have to make sure to download a lot of books and videos before getting on board though :-). This will actually be the longest single trip I’ve done in my life. Really excited.
Qatar has a 12 hour layover and Emirates only has a 6 hour layover so I will probably choose Emirates. Plus, I absolutely love the Jennifer Aniston commercials that Emirates has been running. Google it and watch them on YouTube. Very cute. And if you’ve ever flown on American carriers the difference between them and any Gulf airline is stark. I stopped flying American carriers about 6 years ago. Terrible value and service. I stick with the major Gulf carriers, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Air, and Thai Air.
My first trip will be in January, circumstances permitting. I will keep you posted on the plans and the trip as they happen. If anyone has been there and has information to share with me, especially about places to stay I would be really happy to hear from you.