Monument Hunting Proves Challenging|
August 01, 2013
As usual my trip to Argentina did not go smoothly. Most check-in is done at a kiosk. When I tried the machine, it would not accept my destination as valid. I asked for help, but the first agent tried my reservation code and when that didn’t work he asked a second agent who was downright rude, but did finally get me into the system.
However, I had a connecting flight in Rio and the machine required a visa for Brazil to proceed. With that I was directed to a manual check-in counter where a person overcame the programming flaw.
First leg was to Dulles with a connection to Rio. Once again the airline was testing the air conditioning, even with a blanket it was a very cold flight. There was a stopover in Sao Paulo for cleaning and crew change. The plane must have been very dirty as we were an hour late departing.
This was the first time I had arrived in Buenos Aires in the late afternoon. It had its upside. I cleared immigration, customs and got my bag in about 15 minutes. It usually takes an hour. The downside was by the time I arrived at my apartment and checked in all of the money changers on Florida had left for the day so I had to use a credit card to eat. The charge was at the official rate plus a fee. Nuts.
For years I had been told to only change dollars at the official cambios, but in looking at several ex-patriot Internet sites I found that the unofficial cambios (cuevas) are just as reliable, more convenient and with a lot better rate. The next morning I exchanged at the rate of 9.35 pesos to the U.S. dollar versus the official rate of 5.25 at a shop three blocks away with no waiting.
Settling in took longer than usual. Being a year older might have something to do with it. I arrived on the second, but didn’t really get into it until the seventh when I took the train to Tigre, a long and uncomfortable ride. As usual no one knew the location of San Martin Plaza. I finally found the plaza and took photos of an unmarked monument that appears to be an older San Martin.
The next day I was off to Chacabuco. According to the Internet there was an 11 a.m. bus that would arrive at 2:35 p.m., giving me a 40-minute window for my photos and I would arrive back in Buenos Aires at 5:50 p.m.
When I arrived at the bus terminal there was a bus at 12 noon rather than at 11 a.m. and as it turned out my window was not 40 minutes but two hours. To make matters worse, the bus was almost an hour late so I didn’t arrive in Buenos Aires at 5:50 p.m. as planned but at 11 p.m.
Two trips to Centro Numismatica Buenos Aires this week, the regular meeting on Thursday and a Saturday meeting with a few dealers and several talks. While there I added four CNBA medals, bringing my collection up to date.
In the next column a three-day trip to the south.
Contact Dool with questions, corrections and comments at email@example.com.
Burzio, Humberto F., and Otamendi, Belisario J. Numismatica Sanmartiniana. Buenos Aires. 1951
Marotta, Oscar; Fernandez, Jorge O. and Morucci, Miguel A. Catalogo de la Coleccion de Medallas Sanmartinianas del Museo de Los Corrales Viejos. Buenos Aires: Artes Gráficas, 1997
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