Thursday, February 27, 2014

Meanwhile In South America...

I’m baaack!

It’s been a pretty hectic couple of weeks, and I’ll do my best in catching you guys up on everything that’s happened after the purse-swiping-mishap.

First of all though, to those who expressed concern --- Thank you. I’m good. Really J I did lose a little bit of my mojo after the fact, which I hope is understandable. I only really had enough “rage” and energy to write about what happened… but after that, I reserved all my willpower to just keep going and figure out what I could do to remedy my little setback. And so this is what I’ve been up to…


Getting my stuff stolen really did suck… but to be honest, I didn’t allow the incident to take over my whole Buenos Aires experience… because in reality, I had a really good time there. The first few days that I spent in San Telmo was a little challenging because of the thunderstorms, but I met some really great people from my hostel, had a few good nights experiencing Tango and tasting the ever famous Argentinian beef I keep hearing about… So it wasn’t all that bad.

New Friends :)

I transferred to Palermo afterwards, and my perspective of Buenos Aires changed almost instantly. I really liked the neighborhood…  And my hostel was even better! I stayed at On The Road Hostel, which reminded me so much of The Overstay Hostel – the place where I worked in Tel Aviv. It was small, only had 20 guests at a time, and they had a rooftop chill/lounge area that made it soooo easy to make friends with everybody. It had a real community vibe to it which I loved, and yeah I made some pretty good friends there too!


I was informed, before I arrived in Argentina, that the US Dollar could go a long long way if I used the black market to exchange my money. They had the official rates, and the Blue dollar rates. Official rates could be 7 to 8 Argentinian Peso to a dollar, and Blue dollar Rates could go as high as 12 to 14 pesos per US Dollar! There’s an area near San Telmo called, “Calle Florida” where you can find all these people who can change your dollars on the Blue rates… I’d say it’s pretty safe, since I was able to do it a few times… And because of this, I thought Argentina was pretty cheap! They only really like US Dollars though… so if you’re planning a trip out here and you have GBP’s, EURO’s or Aussie Dollars or something, I’d exchange them to USD before you arrive. You’ll get more bang for your buck that way.


Because my purse was stolen, and I needed to retrieve more US Dollars than what I had hidden in my backpack, I decided to visit Uruguay. Uruguay is the closest place where I can take US Dollars out, either via Western Union or Xoom (a cash pick up place). Argentina wouldn’t let you do this, so a lot of people I know take day trips out to Uruguay just to use the ATM to get some USD’s. I didn’t want to waste my visit to the country though, so I decided to use my time to explore the country a little bit, and have some of the beach time I’ve been craving for (they have pretty good beaches over there).

And so… I took the 1 hour ferry ride from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Colonia, Uruguay… Then took a 2 hour bus ride to Montevideo.

I spent one night in Montevideo… then took a 2 hour bus ride to Punta Del Este… Spent one night there, then took a 2 hour bus ride to Cabo Polonio… Spent one night there, then took an hour bus ride to Punta Del Diablo…. Spent one night there and then took a 5 hour bus ride back to Montevideo, where I stayed for another 2 nights.

An amazing night with a full moon in Punta Del Diablo

So I basically jumped from one beach to the next… I think I went through the “backpackers route” on the East Coast of Uruguay… I definitely met a lot of people doing the same thing I was.

Yes – it was exhausting to have to move from one beach to the next, but I had a REALLY good time. I haven’t seen the beach in a LONG time, and I was so happy to finally get my tan back. Punta Del Este, Cabo Polonio and Punta Del Diablo each had their own personality… but all I really cared about was the beach and the sun. All of them delivered. And I am one happy camper!

A much needed hammock time in Cabo Polonio

One other thing worth mentioning is my hostel in Montevideo called, The Ukulele Hostel. Of course I chose to stay there. The name itself was calling out to me! It definitely didn’t disappoint because they had a few ukulele’s on there, plus a guitar, plus a piano! AND A POOL! Score! I think the name draws a lot of musicians too because there was music every night that I was there.  It was amaaazing! It was like being back at The Shanti House. J

Beautiful music from beautiful Argentinian musicians...


I went back to Buenos Aires after Uruguay just for one night to catch a 17 hour bus ride to Iguazu Falls. The main purpose of this trip is to be able to obtain my Brazilian Visa. I heard from other travelers that you can get a Brazilian Visa at the border in a day, so I went!  Honestly, it was so easy. Easier than it would have been if I had applied for it in the States. All I needed to submit were the following: Application form, Proof of being able to support yourself during your stay in Brazil (bank statements and credit card statements), passport photo (which I already had) and proof of departure (which I had too!). I submitted the documents, along with the fee of $1,760 Argentinian Pesos (cheaper than what I was told it was going to be!)… The next day, I got it! All set! I’m going to Brazil!!!
Iguazu Falls are beautiful too, by the way. I haven’t been to Niagara Falls, but I imagine the experience is a little similar… I’ve never been surrounded by so many rainbows in my life, it was incredible! 

I mean, come on. Just look at that!!!


OK this is it. By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be on my way to Brazil… on a grueling 26 hour bus ride. I’ve been waiting a whole year for this, and I really hope it doesn’t disappoint. I will talk to you guys next week with a full blow by blow account of Rio De Janeiro’s CARNIVAAAAL!!!! Weeee!!!