Note: The following posts are parts from a 45 page journal entry (in word 23 pages), I wrote while in Buenos Aires. The entries were written during my first three days in the city. I had a rough start but by the end of my trip all was ok. However, my final thoughts about my destiny with the city in part 8 still stand true.
P.S. I am including a soundtrack with each post. All the songs are from my “The Return to Buenos Aires” playlist. I hope you enjoy!
“What is this place you’re staying in? A hostel or a hotel?” My taxi driver asked in Spanish. My Spanish was atrocious. I was back to ground zero with Castellano: the level where I couldn’t even understand what was being said to me anymore and as before, Argentines still spoke with the ratatat speed of a machine gun.
“Es una…bed and breakfast,” I replied, knowing that he would not understand a word I said. So I tried, “Una hotel y hostel.” He shook his head like he didn’t understand. He then proceeded to tell me that the area was “muy peligroso.” He continued to repeat how “peligroso” the area was and asked if I understood what he was telling me. As if the universe wanted to prove the driver’s point, we drove past building after building covered in graffiti. My stomach twisted into knots.
I didn’t like where the convo was headed and his words of warning wasn’t the first thing I wanted to hear as soon as I arrived from the airport. Since I took the Manuel Tienda Leon shuttle bus service from the airport into the city, I used their continuing drop off service that would leave me two blocks from my residence.
The taxi driver reminded me that the drop off service was limited and that he could only take me two blocks short of my destination. When we reached that point in the journey, he jumped out of the taxi and grabbed my suitcase from the trunk. Before he handed it to me, he ripped the sticker with the big letters of my connecting and arriving city from its handle. The action frightened me. I knew he did it to protect me from being a walking target, straight off the metaphorical boat.
He passed my suit case to me in a “you’re on your own from here” gesture and told me which direction to walk the two extra blocks. If I could have seen his eyes, hidden behind his mirrored glasses, I knew they would have been shifting from side to side.
I grabbed my suitcase and walked the two blocks with a quickened pace. I got a few stares of curiosity as my suitcase scratched the pavement and bumped along behind me. When I arrived at the door to my destination, I quickly rang the door bell and glanced around to make note of any immediate threats. As I waited for my host to open the door, a man with long stringy wrestler length hair, a white t-shirt and white workman slacks, spotted me and began to stare at me like I as a piece of meat. He added to his sleaziness by including a soundtrack of kissing and sucking noises.
I ignored him with a stone cold face, half wondering if I should ring the door bell again. As I did, my host opened the door and soon I was safe inside. Once I was settled I was in awe by how beautiful the property was and my room was something out of a French fairytale! However, the neighborhood had already left its unfavorable impression on me.
I have made the decision that tomorrow will be my last day here. I’m moving back to Palermo.
(To be continued)