Argentina: Subte Rides and Cheese Pizzas

Today’s mission is to find a better room. We go to the subway (or, subte) and get a re-loadable tap card. I ask for two but the woman behind the glass says we can use one between us (obviously assuming we’re temporary tourists and I’m too lazy to explain that we’re planning to stay) so we just get one card and can always get another later. The card costs 90 ARS, and we can load on as much as we want.

I panic, I’m terrible with numbers, I don’t know the exchange nor the value of a subway ride. A line is forming behind us so I quickly try to say 500 ARS. Thinking that’s about $10 and good enough to get us going. She hands me change and a receipt that says 150 ARS. I’ve said the wrong thing.

Ciento cincuenta, instead of cinco ciento. Now unsure if we even have enough for 2 rides, I ask how much one journey is… just 20 ARS. That’s basically free, like $0.35 USD. 500 would have been an absurd amount to load so I’m happy I was way off.

The subway is clean and well marked with signs all over the place. A woman is openly breastfeeding and I’m like right on lady, but it gets kinda weird when she starts taking selfies. The lady’s face isn’t even in the selfie. It’s just her boob and her kid, smiling for the photos with a nip in her mouth. Like, where ya planning to post these? Just before we get off to change stations, the little girl stops breastfeeding and stands up on her mom’s lap. She giggles and does a FULL tongue to pole lick while staring me in the eye. God I love public transport.

We wander around the much nicer neighbourhood of Palermo, where we thought we had booked our hostel originally (very wrong, it’s like 20 minute away). and check out a new potential place we saw online. We’re keen to check it out in person first though, after our big let down yesterday. It’s nice but doesn’t have one room consistently available for a full week. We’d be jumping from dorm beds to a double room to two single beds… way too much work. We’re not that desperate.

There’s some very colourful buildings here!

We give in and check Air BnB. I know this can be quite controversial in some countries and I’m not really sure of people’s views on it here, but all we’re after is a comfortable place to be while we get set up. No hostel can offer me that like an Air BnB can. In minutes we’ve found an apartment all to ourselves with great reviews that we can move into tomorrow. It’s about twice as expensive as where we’re currently sleeping… but still only $40 per night for us to split, and we can walk around at night here without fear. Sold.

Now the struggle will be explaining to our current place that we need to leave. I’m love/hating that no one in Buenos Aires really speaks English. It means we’ll learn the language faster, which is like half the reason we’re here… but it also means complicated conversations require a lot of my brain power. If you’ve ever had to communicate in a language you’re not fluent in… you’ll know what I mean. But honestly I think the pros outweigh the cons and I’m happy I get to exercise my Spanish.

I luck out a little that the guy at the front desk speaks some English. He puts me on the phone to who I assume is the manager, and who speaks almost fluently, but the reception quality is so bad it’s harder to understand than Spanish. He basically says it’s cool if we leave but we have to contact Hostelworld to get the deposit back. We haven’t paid anything since arriving so we’re in a way better position than asking for money back… that would never happen. A bonus is that everyone we speak to seem to totally understand why we’re leaving and I don’t have to do a lot of explaining in Spanish so that’s a headache dodged. I’m sure we’re not the first people to be like ummm this is not what I envisioned, sir.

After contacting Hostelworld and catching up on some stuff, we’re hungry. It’s 10pm though and we’re not keen to go for a wander, so Chesney pulls up the map and finds a pizza place just on the corner. We can walk into the night, just not too far. We leave ALL of our stuff in the room, except for 500 ARS which is about $8 and enough for dinner.

The pizza place is open, with a few tables and chairs, a couple customers, and nothing much else. There’s just one guy working in front of an oven, moulding the fresh dough, making pizza, and taking payment. I ask him for a menu but there isn’t one. He shows us a plain cheese pizza and I’m sure I’m misunderstanding him when he says it’s the only thing he serves. I don’t know how that’s an effective business model but I respect it.

It’s only 200 ARS ($3.50) for a whole pizza so imma eat it. We get one to share and a giantSchneider beer for 85 ARS ($1.50). Okay, so we finish that one before the pizza arrives and order another. Fine. We polish off 3.

My favourite thing about the beer here is that they’re measured in cm3. 710cm3 cans. Amazing.

Chesney is so excited about how the pizza is made. A giant ball of mozzarella is placed in the centre of the dough and into the oven. Once it’s melty, the pizza is pulled back out and the mozza gets spread out to the edges. It’s then topped with oregano. Better than any plain cheese pizza I’ve ever had before in my life. I wish I’d brought my camera but was trying not to get robbed. A police officer walks in circles around the block and I see him pass a few times during our meal. Comforting yet concerning. We make it back to our room robbery-free.

I think the “danger” aspect of any city is often blown out of proportion. It kind of bothers me and I’ve learned to take it with a grain of salt, however, it would super suck if I got robbed after people warned me about a place being dangerous so I feel like I have no choice but to follow extra precautions, at least until I get comfortable somewhere. We’re definitely looking forward to moving tomorrow though.

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