Our Top 10 List in Buenos Aires & Uruguay (& how we talked our way onto an ‘impossible to board’ flight)
“If in doubt, just walk until your day becomes interesting.”
– Rolf Potts, Author of Vagabonding – The Art of Longterm World Travel
Most Memorable Moment(s): Scott losing his ID in Uruguay & Chelsea helping an old woman from being washed away in a torrential downpour street river (See above – you should have seen the woman’s cry for help 2 seconds earlier!)
Where we are… Now: Mendoza • Last: Tilcara • Next: Bariloche
(if you have local things we MUST do or happen to be in town, send us an email & let us know!)
The latest from Buenos Aires and Uruguay (1/31/15):
Welcome to update #1 from the Dinsmore World Tour & Global Dinner Party Project! We’ve covered a lot of ground in our first three weeks, and due to some surprising reasons (more on that below), we’re a little late on our first update. So for now we’ll just cover our first two spots, Buenos Aires & Uruguay, and catch up from there…
Our Top 10ish…
We spent the first week in Buenos Aires and took a day trip to Uruguay. Here are some of the things we loved:
1. The small green grocers that were everywhere, Malbec, empanadas, dulce de leche ice cream and walking for hours on end – we are averaging over 11,000 steps a day!
2. Having a 3-hour long lunch with a friend of ours from Santa Barbara and his new Argentinean wife!
3. La Poesia in San Telmo: A cool little writers café we stumbled up in the adorable neighborhood of San Telmo.
4. The Live Your Legend Local event: It was hosted in a very cool co-working space called Area Tres, and there were over 30 attendees who were all so excited and passionate about being around other like-minded people – many had never heard of LYL and had just come last minute on the recommendation of a friend.
(If you want to get in on one of our events around the world, click here to find one near your city.)
Many of us went out for cervezas afterwards at a cool outdoor bar Temple Bar. We even met Pato, a woman with the first LYL-inspired tattoo: “Make the impossible the new normal.” #wow
5. Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay: We took a day trip by ferry to Uruguay. It was amazing! We almost didn’t go because booking the tickets ended up being a joke of a Spanish lesson, but we’re so glad we did because it was such a charming little town. We rented bikes to explore – one of our favorite things to do. The below image was taken a few hours before Scott left his Driver’s License with the bike man, which he didn’t realize until back in BA. More on that below.
6. Dinner Parties: We were honored to have been a part of two dinner parties while in Argentina.
One was the party we hosted at our apartment where we invited the hosts of the LYLL event as well as a friend from the states (Justin, our travel hacking guru) and he brought a friend who’s been traveling the world for the past 4 years! We cooked up some delicious food and we all sat, drank and talked for several hours (one of the 18-year-old LYL hosts brought a bottle of Fernet!). It was fun to see what The Simple Kitchen could whip up in our new Airbnb apartment!
The other dinner party was held at a local’s house not too far from our own. We have family friends who were in town and had housed these people for a few months in the US and they were kind enough to have all of us over. We ate, drank and talked for 7+ hours – and one of them decided to play Scott’s TEDx Talk on his big screen (#embarrassingforscott). The night was a highlight of our time in BA for sure.
7. The Recoleta cemetery was wild. We’ve never seen anything like it! It was honestly like a little village within a cemetery, with plots the size of small apartments.
8. Victoria Brown: A super cool speak easy type of place with amazing cocktails in Palermo.
9. Buenos Aires Verde: A great little vegetarian spot that was recommended to us by one of the LYL Local attendees.
10. Our Airbnb apartment: We really loved where we stayed. It had a balcony where we enjoyed meals, sunsets and workouts. The kitchen was well equipped, the place was in great shape and it was in a fun part of town that allowed us to do morning runs in the park and walk to restaurants at night. And we were greeted by the nicest man, who gave us a thorough tour, making sure all the faucets were warm and all the electronics worked, despite it being 2:00 in the morning when we arrived.
We’ve been in love with Airbnb ever since we first came across it years ago and use it for all our apartment bookings around the world. It makes for an incredibly local experience, feels much more like home and often costs a lot less than a hotel. Scott is always telling people it’s his favorite site and business on the web. They’re an SF company and we even partnered up with them for our trip – so that all our friends can get free travel credits. You can get a free credit and check out why we’re so in love on Airbnb’s site here.
But, of course, it’s not an adventure without a few hiccups along the way…
1. Negotiating our way onto an “impossible to board” flight!
Just as we were about to board our flight from Mexico to Panama (we would have gone on to BA from there) we got pulled aside and they began to ask us a few questions – one of which was when we were leaving Argentina. We told them we did not have a return flight because we had planned to take a bus to Chile and were not sure which country we would be flying back to the US from. That’s about when the woman casually said…
“Well then it will be impossible for you to board this flight without a return flight booked out of Argentina.”
Given her smile, we figured she was joking. Wrong. We spent the next 15 minutes explaining the situation but they wouldn’t budge. She got on a few phone calls and two security guards showed up. By now everyone else had boarded and they said the gate was 7 minutes away from closing.
Finally, we hopped on our iPhone and booked an Airbnb in Chile to show them some sort of proof. I’m not sure if this was what did it or not, but suddenly they decided it wasn’t quite so impossible anymore. They let us on and closed the door right behind us.
This was a pretty unbelievable experience both considering how incredibly hard we had to stand our ground in order to finally win the negotiation, and how often you hear the word ‘impossible’ in foreign countries. Better to break the ice early I guess.
2. Scott’s driver’s license vanishing into the bowels of the Uruguay and Argentina postal ferry system.
We did a day trip to Uruguay where we rented bikes. Scott had to give his ID in exchange for the bikes and when we returned them, the shop owner forgot to give us his ID back (but at least he shared his yerba maté tea cup with us…)
Despite two weeks of calls and attempts by Scott and our Argentinian friends, so far we’ve only been able to confirm that the ID is somewhere between Uruguay and Buenos Aires. It looks like the odds of recovery are rapidly approaching zero. Chelsea might be doing the driving from here on out…
3. Snail-Speed Internet and “Your 5-minute video will take 36 hours to upload.”
Ah, the things we take for granted. We knew there would be times where the Internet was slow but we didn’t expect it to be so slow in a country’s biggest city. The speed literally measured 20x slower than SF, which meant a picture took 30 minutes to upload and a short video said it would be 36 hours. A few minutes later it said 4 days. Hence the delay in this first update. Makes for an interesting challenge in running two web businesses from the road. (speaking of which, about an hour ago, half this post just got totally deleted. No idea why…)
Moving forward, we are hoping the flights will allow time to do things like writing – I am writing this as we are on a plane that went to land at Iguazu but circled for a bit because the airport’s electricity went down (despite it being a bluebird day), so we turned back to BA only to turn back to Iguazu – 2 hour flight turns 4…
4. Learning to slow waaaaaaay down.
One of our favorite lessons in travel has always been slowing down and retraining the hurry-syndrome we all tend to pick up in the states. But between the 1990’s Internet speeds, people staying at their table hours after paying their bill and finishing their food (we made the mistake of trying to wait for one such table on day 2), getting lost almost everywhere we go, strict three-hour siestas where the town shuts down, spending three days trying to notarize a document, and 1 in 10 ATM’s giving us money (no joke), the word patience has taken on a totally different meaning this time around. And, believe it or not, after the first few days, it’s actually become pretty liberating.
5. Don’t go in to get your immunizations the day before you leave.
Yes, we decided to go in the day we were moving out of SF. Turns out a lot of shots come in stages and need to start about a month prior to departure. The woman at the clinic thought we were a total joke (understood). I just hope we don’t get bitten by a sloth, monkey or more likely one of the thousands of untethered wild dogs roaming the streets down here. Guess we’ll catch up on shots in a few months.
6. Don’t wait to get your Brazilian visas either.
We also tried to do that the week before we left. Turns out it takes a little while, so Brazil got crossed off this trip’s list. Although, we’ve heard your odds get a lot more favorable near the border. We’ll see.
7. Bring cash to Argentina. Lot’s of it!
We always bring a few hundred dollars USD when we travel, just in case. But for some reasons that get a little confusing and hard to believe, in Argentina the exchange rate is 8.5 pesos to $1 US dollar if you use ATM or credit card, but it’s 13.5 to 1 if you trade cash for “Blue Dollars” on the street from a ‘trusted’ friend of a friend. Yeah it sounds crazy. And yeah that’s how it actually works. Your money is literally worth 55% more down here if you use cash! Cash has never been more king for us. Too bad we didn’t bring more.
How we’re feeling:
Mostly excitement at seeing new people, place and things, disbelief that this is actually real life (so far it feels like a normal vacation) and definitely missing home – our dear friends just had a baby and while we’re so grateful we’re able to FaceTime them, it’s not quite the same…
What’s been surprising:
The food has been super inexpensive. And we can get bottles of wine at dinner for $5.00! The flights within Argentina however, have been a lot more than we expected (trains don’t exist and busses take about 23 hours).
So grateful to not be escaping anything…
We’ve noticed that many people we’ve met on our travels over the years, and especially those on long trips, seem to be trying to get away from something at home or are going through some type of a big change. While travel can be great for that, we’ve been grateful to know that our trip had nothing to do with escaping anything.
We love our life in San Francisco and all the people and experiences that came with it, and we’ll love getting back to all of that once the World Tour wraps up. We had just dreamed of this adventure for years, and now seemed like a pretty good time to set off. At home or abroad, life is damn good. Thanks to all of you for that.
Ok, next up is Iguazu Falls, Salta and one hell of an 11-hour dinner party!
More stories coming soon…
Scott and Chelsea
P.S. Here are a few more important things:
1. We’ve created a page on our World Tour site to list our favorite pictures. Check them out here.
2. If you’re wondering where else we’re headed or trying to figure out where you’re going to meet us :), check out our Map & Destinations page here.
3. Wondering why we’re taking the trip and what we packed? Check out our itemized packing list (all somehow fitting into two carry-ons) and our interview about the trip and Global Dinner Party Project here.
5. We just got to Mendoza and are headed to Bariloche next, so if you have any tips or happen to be in town, let us know – we’ve got a dinner party brewing. 🙂