April 22, 2006
Today ended my short stint in Uruguay as I headed back to Buenos Aires. First I had to take a bus to Colonia, then a ferry back to Tigre in Argentina, then another bus to Buenos Aires. Just like the trip into Uruguay, it was long and boring. I did get to see a nice sunset from the boat, though.
I got into town at 10:00 PM with hopes of going to a Couchsurfing party that was going to start in a few hours. I was able to find a hostel that had space somewhat near where I got dropped off, although I was told that it was booked out already for tomorrow night. I threw my stuff in my room, bought some liquor for the party, and got the party's location off the Internet. Everything seemed to be working out as planned.
Back at the hostel, I asked how to get to the party, which was on Tronador St. I knew there was trouble when the guy working at the desk didn't know where that street was. It turned out that it was far from the center of town. In fact it wasn't even on my map of the city. The hostel employee did some research for me, though, and told me that I could take the subway there. All I had to do was ride to the end of the line and walk about 13 blocks. It sounded easy enough to me, so I walked toward the nearest subway stop confident that I'd find the party without any trouble, despite the fact that I didn't have a map of its location.
When I approached the staircase leading to the subway, I noticed that it was rather dark. Then I noticed the locked gate at the entrance. I thought it was strange that the hostel employee would send me off to the subway if it was closed, so I figured maybe just the one station wasn't operational. (I later found out that the guy didn't realize I wanted to go there at night. Hmmm, it was Saturday night, I had a bottle of liquor in my hand, I told him I was going to a party, and handed him the address of its location. Yeah, I guess I could've meant that I was going to a party tomorrow afternoon. I'll try to be more specific next time.) Not knowing what to do, I walked six blocks to the next station, but it was closed too. I looked at the giant map of the city posted outside the subway station, found Tronador St, and estimated that it was at least 70 blocks from my present location. That's way too far to walk, even for me. A taxi was out of the question, too, because I didn't have enough small bills with me and it's impossible to pay for a taxi with a 100 peso bill, unless you feel like telling the driver to keep the change. I could have asked a local which bus to take, but they usually only know the routes of the buses that they take regularly to and from their homes, so it was unlikely that I could find anyone who could help. I appeared to be totally screwed.
Suddenly, I got an idea. I walked a few blocks to Cordoba St, a main street that cuts through town and has lots of bus stops. I got on the first bus I saw and told the driver that I was going to Tronador. As expected, he shook his finger at me. "This bus doesn't go there, you need to take bus 140." He then proceeded to drop me off at a stop for bus 140 free of charge. I patted myself on the back for finding out how to get there in a roundabout way. Maybe I'll use that technique every time I don't know where I'm going from now on.
The bus dropped me off on Tronador a few blocks from the party. The neighborhood looked incredible with mansions, nice cars, and private security galore. It suddenly became almost certain that nobody other than a bus driver would have known which bus to take to get there. Rich people generally don't ride city buses, after all. I walked into the party at 12:30 AM, just as it was getting going.
The photo album for this entry is here.