26 March 2011
'Touristy'Santiago - Buenos Aires. Travel day.
As a result of my waterless, nomadic first night here, the management of the Hotel Fabulous sent me a note saying that they would comp me one night's stay. This of course does no good at all for me personally, so I asked that instead they credit the value of one night's stay to my incidentals account. I was rather amazed when they agreed to this, so over the course of days here I've been enjoying picking up the tab for lunch for the lads, and so on. However, on checking out this morning I still found myself with an incidentals bill of minus fifty dollars - a circumstance surely without precedent in rock history. There was still an hour before departure, so I wandered off to the gift shop to fritter away my unanticipated bounty. I don't spend a lot of time in hotel gift shops, they being part of a category of retail outlets (comprising betting shops, Mothercare, PC stores, Victoria's Secret, etc.) that my peripheral vision ignores, knowing that the chances of my ever having any use for them are nanoscopically slim. I do dimly recollect though, that there is usually a glass case or two of high-end shiny objects and perhaps a rack of lightweight clothing. This one had exactly that, plus a highly random selection of crystal housewares, toiletries (including an 'intimacy kit') and guide books to a country we're about to leave. I tried to think of alternatives, so took a look in the restaurant and even contemplated raiding my minibar, but we already spend half our lives on tour having food and drink thrown at us. I drew a total blank finding absolutely nothing at all that I genuinely would have any use for. (They can't even give this stuff away!) In the end I picked up a couple of small, linen-bound notebooks that I'm sure I'll never use but at least it gives me something more to carry.
To the airport, where this happy band of wandering minstrels and door-to-door salesmen set sail for the next port of call. The view of the Andes en route was every bit as spectacular as on our way in and in a couple of hours we landed in Buenos Aires and boarded our fleet of mini-vans to the Hotel Fabulous.
A few of us headed out in the evening to fling ourselves at large portions of cow. There's a square in the San Telmo district that I've been to before and, even though locals would tell you it's terribly touristy, it is a great introduction to the city. Sitting out under the trees in the evening air, drinking Qulimes whilst a tango band plays and people dance in the square. If this is as bad as tourism gets, I can handle it. From here to a local restaurant for steaks of gob-smacking quality for which Argentina is so famous. So far, so very good.