I’ve been putting off South America because it’s always seemed close and somewhere along the way I developed the idea that I should start far while I’m young, energetic, and handsome then work my way back.  There are a few flaws however, to this strategy: First, I think I will always feel younger than I am. Second, ever since the invention of coffee, energy is simply one cup away. Third, I’ll probably always be handsome. And fourth and maybe most significantly, South America is not really that close!

The flight from Newark to Buenos Aires is an approximate 14 hours with a short layover in Houston, where you stop, deboard, and just as the blood gets to your feet, you get back on the plane for the remaining 10.5 hours. To be honest, I hadn’t done my homework at all on South America, Argentina or Buenos Aires. I purchased the Lonely Planet, which is about the size and weight of a cement block, but after sleeping, eating and pleasure reading, the “initial decent” was announced without my even cracking the Lonely Planet block.

But it’s never too late to start doing your homework, albeit standing in line waiting for customs is cutting it close. So I got busy. Casually introducing myself  to everyone in the near vicinity, fishing for clues like a good part of town, transportation into the city, any tips that might be useful to a new non-Spanish speaker in Argentina. Before I got my passport stamped, not only had I met another guy from a town two hours from my Arizonan hometown, I also managed to split a cab with three others to the city where someone was already booked in a notorious hostel.

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