Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Really do Love Cities

Just like with Madrid, I forgot what it was like to come back to a city – to be enveloped by it.

Stepping outside onto Florida street with the sun shining overhead, it's hard to describe what the effect of such a thing can be. After four days inside, I was free one more. And I could feel the freedom, taste it, smell it. It was everywhere, and I have no idea what it was – just a sense of something other.

So what did I do? Where did I go? I headed out to one end of Florida street, wandering along passing all the shoppers and people doing their thing. That's why you come to Buenos Aires, I'm slowly discovering – to shop. Most people that I ask what there is to do here will reply with that answer. Clearly this was going to be a challenge, but as long as Florida street continued, I would have a destination, and a purpose. I could just carry on.

Florida street came to an end.

Good. Great. There was a statue though, surrounded by a spiky fence. If you're a street and you have to end somewhere why not at a spiked fence surrounding a statue? And why not prove the fence to be ineffective, as the statue was covered in graffiti, while you're at it? I made a left (I'd say directions using the four cardinals, but my compass and map do not equate with one another, and I wouldn't like to try and guess which is more correct. Everything is suspect here.

I wandered down to a small park. It was greenery. Nothing all that special. Heading back I was struck with the feeling that this city was closer to Toronto than any others I'd yet been to (and there have been some contenders, I tell you what.) This was a city that felt right, looked right, and – well – was not made for tourists.

Back on Florida street I headed out in the other direction, attempting to discover the end in that direction. Many of the tourists that I passed turned into the two malls along the way. Two malls on one street within a half kilometer of each other... This doesn't count the various plazas, covered shopping centres, and alleys of commerce.

Benos Aires is about shopping. Fact. But I would have none of this, so carry on I did until the road ended once more – this time at a park. A big area shaded by trees, allowing some cooled rest to the day. I considered stopping there to read, but quickly found myself being bitten by mosquitoes. This must be the only place in the city that they can live. I went from being delighted by the public foliage to cursing it. There would be no peace here, amongst the dozens of broken benches.

Looking at my map, I tried to plan a new route – where else could the day take me? To the subway, perhaps. Down into the underground I trekked, quickly to find myself outclassed, and outmatched. All I wanted was to ride on the underground train – but there was a terrible guarding blocking the way, in the way of a ticket seller. There were no english instructions, no ticket machines for me to suss it out on, and no one speaking english.

On the booth was a sign reading $1.10. This is about thirty cents Canadian. Does this mean each stop is that price? Each line? I had no idea – clearly it couldn't be a ticket for that price. I've been all over the world and never seen a public transit system priced at something so reasonable. Without any clear idea, I gave up.

Wandering back towards the hostel, I checked my watch. I'd spent a good number of hours walking around seeing the city. I could justifiably head back and crash for the day.

Back in the hostel I finished up reading The Soul Key (I'll get to that Lord of the Rings soon enough, I'm sure) and then started to read ST:DS9: The Never Ending Sacrifice (I swear I'll finish that Lord of the Rings. I mean, I have to. And it's not that I don't want to – it's just... so wordy. Plus, I don't entirely want it to end.)

When I could take no more reading, I searched the internet for streaming video, and managed to get caught up on Lost. I'm shocked and slightly terrified that it's not looking to be terrible this

[authors note: A drunken Australian started singing “tonight's gonna be a good night.” Like wolves answering the call, more drunken Aussies have joined in. Ohh – now they're just wandering around screaming how drunk they are. Ahh Hostel International – you're either full of school trips (and oh the number of trips there have been. Were I a 17 year old boy, I'm sure I would have loved this place, however as I am not, I was just irritated and annoyed by the many obnoxious outcries of “OMG!” as teenagers ran hither and thither. ) To be honest – I prefer the louder, more obnoxious drunken adults messing around inside on the public bikes making “beep beep beep” backing up noises. At least they normally only come out at night (the days are much to briii-iiii-ight.]

sorry – back to the main thought – it's terrifying that Lost is looking to not be terrible this season.

And then I went to sleep. This would prove the downfall – as some time later my bed started to shake. Was there an earthquake? Were terrible things afoot. Wait – what was this? Stifled whispers from the bottom bunk? And was that – oh god no – why... why...

Look – I just have one request: If you're planning on having sex in a hostel, please opt for a private room. The bunk below me is not a suitable location!

Luckily (for me) it was over in a matter of minutes. There was some giggling by the girl – and perhaps wounded pride – but at least it was over. Oh no, it wasn't. Looks like she was going to give him a second attempt. Well, good luck sir, hopefully your second performance is rewarded with something more than laughter. And again the top bunks threatens to throw me off. By this point I was listening to music as loud as I could, and attempting to ignore the motions from below.

I was told that in the future I should have the song Monster Mash at the ready to play as loud as I can if this were ever to happen again. You know, something to really help their party get going.


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