Sunday, March 9, 2008

Weather, Internet, and Miscellany

  • Contrary to popular belief—or at least the hope that I had—it's not always sunny in Latin America.
    • When I was in Rio de Janeiro, it was generally nice, but did rain some. It was plenty warm, though. I was informed, however, that this summer it cooler than usual. Yikes! I'm glad for that, as mid '80s is plenty warm for me. The Amazon is going to melt me.
    • Iguazu Falls was very nice the day I went to the falls—warm and sunny. The next day was cloudy. I was going to take the helicopter over the falls on that day, but nixed that idea, since I'm not going to pay a bunch of money to get photos with bad lighting.
    • In Uruguay, it was generally cloudy. It rained a bit and was humid.
    • Buenos Aires continues that trend. It's been mostly cloudy with intermittent rain. As I sit in my room on the bed typing away on my laptop, I'm enjoying the AC and seeing the rain out the window. I bought some grub earlier at a small supermarket a few doors down from the hostel, so I'm livin' large. Food, laptop, Internet, music on the iPod, comfort, and watching the rain outside. Can't beat it.
  • Youth hostels and hotels in Latin America.
    • So far, the accommodations have been pretty good. I've paid between about $10 and $25 a night for both hotels and hostels with one night in a hotel for $35.
    • In Uruguay, there are very few hostels in the less popular cities, but the hotels in those cities are pretty cheap.
    • Every hostel I've stayed at so far has had at least on PC with Internet and a wireless router with a cable modem.
    • In some small cities, you may not find a Internet Cafe or WiFi anywhere. In big cities, you can wander around a bit and find unsecured WiFi within a short distance. There are tons of Internet Cafes in Buenos Aires.
  • Piercings seem very popular in Montevideo and Buenos Aires, especially in the mouth.
  • Went to the Abasto shopping mall today in Buenos Aires. It was sweet. Built in the early 20th century as a food market, it's now a multi-story shopping center. Very cool architecture and pretty darn big. It's got all the latest stores and products and a gigantic food court.
  • People carry everything—including the kitchen sink—on their mopeds down here. Some people have racks mounted to both the front and back of the scooter, everyone carries items between their legs resting on the frame, from a briefcase to large packages and boxes, and I've seen anywhere from just the driver to husband/wife/dog or a dad and three children on one moped...none wearing a helmet.
  • Electronics are expensive down here. In Rio de Janeiro, a DSLR that costs $500 in the States might cost $1,500. Import taxes are the main culprit. I saw a Sony A700 here in Buenos Aires for over $2,000 that sells for less than $1,400 back home.
  • The vast majority of streets down here are one-way. Not sure why. They are also cobblestone—many, but not all.
  • Many sidewalks are covered in tiles measuring about six inches square. Sometimes they come loose and water works its way underneath. As you're walking down the sidewalk, you step on the loose one. As your other foot passes by the first foot, water squirts out from under the first tile all over your foot. It's extremely annoying.
  • It's 10:00 A.M. on Sunday, March 9th. I'm going to grab a bite of breakfast downstairs (still at the hostel), then pack, check out, and get a taxi over to the home of my new family. The weather is perfect today.

1 comment:

Jill said...

All the details are really interesting. And the pictures really help to "see" where you are :=)