on my own again…

i´ve spent the last few days in Buenos Aires, Argentina. i´m technically in south America, but in reality, it feels like i´m in Europe. buenos aires is a totally modern bustling city that has all the pluses of a fun European city but at a fraction of the price. the city has good hotels, efficient public transport, nice restaurants, and tons of shops. it´s been a wonderful place to take a break and relax for a few days. unfortunately, i had plenty of errands to run and stuff to catch up on, so i didn’t get to see any sights yet or to enjoy the wild nightlife here (which doesn’t even start till 1am and then goes till dawn).

i´ve spent most of my time here walking up and down Florida avenue, one of the main pedestrian streets in town lined on either side with shops and cafes and filled in the middle with browsing shoppers, street performers, and people doing the Tango. the huge quantity of cool shops has really made me want to buy hella stuff, but i´ve resisted temptation as much as possible. money is still tight and a shopping spree, even if things are semi-cheap, is out of the question. in between errands, i´ve tried out some of the restaurants here. Argentina is world renown for its beef. it allegedly has some of the best steaks in the world, and to make them even better, they´re dirt cheap. a *huge* fillet mignon, i´m talking something that would be a double portion back home, here costs about 8$.

the hotel we´re staying at costs 15$, about the same as we paid for places in Africa or in Indonesia sometimes… but for that price, the hotel is a million times nicer than they were in Africa. the place is super clean, huge comfy bed, nice bathroom (hey, the toilet actually has a seat?!), our sheets/towels get changed daily… basically, all the nice conveniences that we have been without while traveling in the 3rd world, yet for a price that is way affordable. i could definitely get used to this kind of life. i could easily just chill in buenos aires for a few weeks… but instead, i´m leaving tonight and will spend more time exploring this town in 3 weeks when i return here.

for the next 3 weeks, i´m traveling alone. as i´ve mentioned before, there´s definitely something so be said for solo traveling. it´s easier to meet locals that way. in fact, it´s easier to meet people in general that way. and, it just gives you a sense of freedom that you don’t have when you´re with someone else. you´re the master of your own destiny. you plot your own course and set out wherever you want and see where your path takes you. life is choose your own adventure, and the outcome is totally and completely up to you.

so here i go… off into the world.. all by myself. but first, i have to figure out one thing. where the hell do i wanna go? argentina is huge. 8th largest country in the world in fact. i only have 3 weeks to see as much as i can before i must be back in buenos aires to meet Caryn. what should i do w/ that time? what should i see? i´ve been reading my guidebook a bit for the last few days trying to decide. a 3 week jaunt through a enormous country needs to be planned carefully… but that´s not how i want to go about it. i hate planning carefully. i don’t want this to be organized. i like following whims, trying out hunches, and just doing whatever random thing pops into mind. doing so has usually worked out well for me. the first time Caryn and i split up, i went to Croatia, when i knew *nothing* about the place, and i ended up totally enjoying it. in Myanmar, i took off on this random boat trip w/ some locals, and it ended up being amazing. yes… if there´s one thing i´ve learned, it´s that you shouldn´t think too much, and should just go for it.

so i´m going for it. i´m going to the end of the world. the small lower chunk of Argentina, the one that looks like it broke off the end, is called tierra del fuego, “the land of fire”, and at the very uttermost bottom tip of that is the southernmost piece of land outside Antarctica and it is known as the “end of the world”. it´s as far south as you can possibly go without taking a boat. a land of snow, glaciers, and stunning natural beauty. it sounds so awesome! well, at least as much as i know about it, it sounds awesome. other than that it is indeed the end of the world, i don’t really know what to expect out of it, and what there will be to do. that is still to be seen…

of course, the thing is, like i said… snow, glaciers, ice, etc… and the warmest thing i own is a fleece sweatshirt. it´ll be interesting to see how this pans out. at the very least, i think i´ll need to buy some more clothes! at the very worst, i might have to turn back around and head north again. we´ll see.

the thing bout the end of the world is, it´s far!! hella far. i don’t necessarily want to go all the way there all at once, because the bus ride would suck, and it seems like it would be nice to see some stuff en route. so, i chose peninsula valdes as my first stop on the way to the end. i didn’t really research this destination ll that much, but just went ahead and bought the ticket. after buying it, i scanned the lonely planet message boards. there´s a ton of posts there about peninsula valdes… and almost all of them say to just skip it and that it is a waste of time and that it´s boring as hell. nice.

so, tonight, i´m off! off into the unknown. off into the lower reaches of Argentina. off to see the end of the world. all i have to do is check out this boring waste of time peninsula first!

(oh, and btw, caryn and i thought it would be more fun if neither one of us knew where the other was going until we met back up in 3 weeks, so dont mention where i´m going to her, and vice versa please!)


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