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james and chris’s Travel Diary

Friday, 12 May 2006

Location: Chesterfield, UK

MapWell, we are now back in England. The 6 months have gone so fast, and whilst it is nice to be back im sure this feeling will soon disappear at about 9:05am Monday morning. They day I re enter the real world and come face to face with reality once again. Its time to start paying for the last 6 months! All thats left to do now it tell you about Argentina. The country that surprised me most on the whole trip. A country with such amazing, varied and beautiful landscapes. A country that producers the best steak and wine in the world. A country that, pound for pound, producers the hottest chics in the world....its such a shame they also produced Diego Maradona- otherwise Id live there!

We met up with Chris' friend Joe in Buenos Aires and after a few uneventful days (but eventful nights!) made our way 1200km west to Mendoza, in the foothills of the Andes. This place is the wine and adrenalin capital of Argentina, and some would even say South America. By day we were paragliders, horse men and mountain bikers. By night we dined at some of the finest places in Mendoza, enjoying tender juicey steaks washed down with a nice Malbec (the regional grape). And being a tight northener, the best part of the meal was the bill. Great meal for little more than 6 quid a head.

The buses in Argentina are fantastic. We comfortably did the 14 hour journey to Mendoza, and back. Massive leather seats that recline a long way. Fims. A meal. Now Im back in England and can only afford 'Megabus' Im really going to miss what Argentina has to offer!

We flew from Buenos Aires to the small town of Iguazu, home of the most spectacular water falls in the world. This place was amazing. Im not going to write anything about the falls as dont think words can do them justice...just check out the pictures.

The lifestyle is very different in Argentina. We would go out for dinner at about 10 oclock, then hit a few bars around midnight. If you are going to a club, no point in getting there any earlier than 2. We had another nice steak dinner and headed off to this bar our waiter had recommended. As we went in all we saw was a 2 year old dancing with her mum. Weird. We had a free drink voucher so thought we'd stay, and after enjoying this rediculously strong contail the place was full- including a party of international exchange students we had met during the day- must have been about 30 of them, not a day over 19! So Chris and Joe headed off to the dance floor and felt up the girls- as for me, i just felt old! But some women prefer the older man!

We headed back to Buenos Aires the next day for our final destination of the trip. First thing we did was go to the Boca match, Maradona's beloved team. As ever, Diego was there. I had plans of smashing the 'hand of god' with a brick, but unfortunately he was sat across the pitch from us. Anyway, great game as Boca won 4-0. Unbelievably one sided, but I guess I should get used to that with The Blades now in the premiership!

The Argentine economy crashed about 5 years ago, which is really bad news for the Argentine people but great news for 'tres chicos', as we were effectionately known by the Argentines. Managed to get some quality bargains- shoes, T shirts, jumpers and belts. I hate shopping, but every northener loves a good bargain!

We visited La Recoleta, the cemetry where Evita is burried. Really beautiful, yet very different. She is still a national hero, with people laying flowers by her grave daily.

We ate very well in Argentina, and the last night was no exception. Again, wine and steak was on the menu, this time polished off with some cognac and a victory cigar! We had made it round the world in one piece....just the flight home left now....what could possibly go wrong....

....hostel in Buenos Aires. 930am. Flying in 2.5 hours. Taxi waiting outside, and I cant find my passport. My entire bag is unpacked on the floor and no sign at all. I make the decison to go to the airport. British citizen returning home...all should be ok. Afterall, anyone can just walk in at Dover. It soon became apparent I was nt going home. None of the British Airways staff could help. They gave me the address of the British embassy and sent me packing. I said my goodbyes to Chris, insisting he go home anyway. He should nt have to pay for my stupidity. I headed over to the BA desk to change my flight for the following week. Whilst queing I asked Chris to check my bags one final time.....and the little bugger found it! Tucked away safely at the bottom of a bag, he said. Im going to claim he had it all the time and was playing a very cruel, but funny game. Goes without saying I left Chris in charge of my passport from then on.

Now been back home 5 days, and already it feels like we have nt been away (except when we look at our bank statement and our sharply reminded that we have nt done a days work in 7 months!) Was good to see all the family again. Had a party the day we got back, also celebrating Mum and Dad's 30th wedding anniversary.

Well I guess this is the last entry we'll be doing....until the next trip anyway. I hope you have enjoyed reading them. I would recommend that everyone does a similar trip at some point. Its an expereince that will stay with us forever...especially when we look at photos and re-read our diary. Incidently, you can buy a copy of the little and large travel diaries...just send a blank cheque to Mr J Noon and I will do the rest....trust me!