From the basement of this hostel in Buenos Aires, I can now tell myself that the adventure has begun. It feels great to be walking around in shorts and a t-shirt again (suckers!)
The flights were long but uneventful, save for the layovers. I dreaded the thought of a 5 hour layover in Santiago, but fortunately I must look dumb enough to seem approachable because I made a friend. Drawn to an electrical outlet like hobos to trash can fire, we started talking. I had expected my gringo phenotypes to give me a pass until Buenos Aires, but my friend-to-be assumed I was Chilean. To my relief, the Spanish came right back to me, and I'm glad it did. My new friend, a Colombian living in Buenos Aires, was generous with good advice and buena onda, so I took in all I could.
The final flight to Argentina was a change from the rest. Only on a plane bound for Argentina would the crappy airline snacks be replaced with ham sandwiches on flaky croissants, warm tea, and Bon-Bons. I remembered just how wonderful it is to be a human with a stomach in Argentina, and thought of the delicious things to come...
Once on the ground in Buenos Aires, I met my friend Luciana. As we tramped around in search of food, she told me about the city and the architecture in Buenos Aires. Like many features of Argentina's culture, the signs of European origin and inspiration are all around you in the buildings of Buenos Aires. A snapshot of almost any streets in Buenos Aires could easily be mistaken for a city in Spain, Italy, or France. That is, until you notice the homeless folks and the graffiti on every wall. "They say that Buenos Aires is the 'Cheap Paris' ," Luciana joked.
We walked on (you do a lot of that in Argentina) and after running on nothing but airplane food and a nap since I left Texas I finally met my reward: empanadas and vino. Success never tasted so decadent.