LOCATION: Buenos Aires, then Azamara Pursuit cruise ship
WEATHER: Hot. High 90
Our little boutique hotel is quite nice, and was very reasonably priced. We had a very good breakfast (included) and then set off on foot again. We walked to the cruise terminal as a test run to see if we would walk to it later with our luggage. (no)
The currency situation here is puzzling. The exchange rate bounces up and down and there are black markets and blue markets for changing money. Our dinner last night was 11,000 pesos which is $60 US using the official exchange rate. However, our restaurant used a different rate, resulting in dinner only costing $30 US.
Half the population here seems to be police. They are everywhere. At the same time, Buenos Aires has a reputation of being popular among pick-pockets. So, as we were walking, we tried to be quite careful…..no issues.
We found the terminal and then headed back through a park. We walked through a train station and through streets filled with vendors. Most of their wares were pretty junky, making it impossible to figure out which were homeless people’s possessions versus items for sale.
There were political demonstrations everywhere. Most of the banners said something like….”Bring back Eva” or “Evita”, or “We want Peronismo”. Different groups were represented, most with names of months which I think reflect some historical event, like “Movimiento Octobre” (October Movement). We especially liked the one for the month of May which also is the same as where we used to work. It would have been fun to buy a shirt proclaiming…”Movimiento Mayo”.
There were even more police here, brandishing their shields, looking like they were prepared to fight protestors. We stumbled upon the parade, with big banners from each group. Some had drums and trumpets blaring.
Back at the hotel, we asked the front desk to call us a taxi. They said it would be quite a wait. So, George tried Uber. We watched on the phone as a driver got closer to us…9 minutes, 8, 7, 5, 4, then 10 again, and then disappeared. This happened about 8 times, so we wasted more than an hour! Meanwhile, I am starting to panic thinking we would miss the ship. Taxis could not get to our hotel due to construction, so we weren’t sure where to wait. Finally, after about 2 hours of waiting, the hotel said that a taxi with the company they used was waiting for us. We had to run a few blocks to catch it. The driver was sweating profusely and went on and on about all the closed streets. He told us that it was partially due to construction, and mostly due to the protests and police closing streets as the Presidents of Brazil and Peru were visiting. What a mess! He had to go way out of his way to get us there, apologizing all the way, yet doubling his price due to the turmoil. By this time, we had missed our time slot to board and my stomach was tied up in knots. I was reminded of the “Keeping Up Appearances” episode when Hyancinth missed their Queen Mary embarkation.
But….we made it! Champagne awaited us after we went through Immigration.
Azamara cruise lines only has four ships, and they call themselves a modest luxury cruise line. At max, there are 700 passengers, but we are at 60% occupancy. So, there is a lot of personalized service. Gratutities and drinks are included. Of course, I got a deal when I got our tickets! Note – we did not buy the wifi package so our wifi (including these blog posts) will be limited.
We went to the pool deck and watched us leave the port of Buenos Aires. Complimentary drinks and snacks. Nice
Then, to an air-conditioned bar with more drinks, a piano bar, and a nice conversation with some other people. Passengers are mostly Americans, but there are quite a few Canadians, Brits, Argentinean, Spanish, and Australian guests.
There are several dinner options, and we went to the main dining room (not the buffet). George had swordfish and veal, and I had the scallop appetizer as my main course. We sat with some interesting people..
Then, a good show featuring a Broadway vocalist,
followed by dancing. Yay!
BOOK: “Q is for Quarry” by Sue Grafton. This is an old series about a femal private investigator solving crimes. Cute and light – just right for reading on an airplane. 3 stars out of 5