Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Buenos Aires, Argentina 27 Feb - 3 Mar 2012

My host Fefu lives in Palermo area which is a pretty heap place in town. I arrived late due to the bus broke down from Gualeguaychu. I was hungry and tired. He was really nice to make me dinner while I took a shower. When he told me he could host me and share a very small room with him because his other rooms are occupied, I didn't really thought about it... so it was a really cozy "Bunker" plus he worked there and sleep there, but as he is very organised person, the place seems to have lot's of space.

As we got to know each other, we started to talk like a geek, he knows everything about System and computers. It has been awhile since I have such geeky conversation. Which is funny, I felt like I have left the geeky world for a long time. :-)

My mission in Buenos Aires are to get my flight ticket home, get an emergency document from the embassy and shop for souvenirs. My last day of visa will be on the 3 Mar 2012 a Saturday so it worked perfectly for me, I could visit the weekend market in Recoleta for a final shopping and fly off.

The next morning, Fefu helped me to called the Qatar Airway to check about the check in method. As I didn't have a physical credit card with me, I would like to know if they can make an exemption for me. After half an hour on the phone, it seems impossible. :-( Winnie who was waiting for me at the same time in Singapore so we could use the credit card and my phone for the online booking, rushed back home for nothing. :-( My next option is to buy the ticket from a travel agency with cash. Fefu has a friend who is a travel agent, he help me to make a reservation for the 3 Mar 2012. Perfect! The reservation will be valid for 2 days. So I have got to find cash now.

I called Citibank to check how much I can withdraw per day, good news is that in Singapore I can withdraw up to S$5k, bad news is that local bank rules apply. If I remember correctly, the highest amount shown on the ATM was 2k pesos. In total I need 8.5k pesos. With 2 cards I should be able to get all the money in 3 days. That is provided my POSB card works. So I called POSB to check with them why my card was rejected when I tried to use it few days back. They validated my Identity and card info and found out that the expiry date on my card was wrong. Then they found out that, I was holding an old card. They have tried to send me a new card in May 2011. I almost blew up! I got my card brand new in Apr 2011 before I left for my trip, why would they send me another one? They told me that they have new card with integrated chip. This is really shit! So the idea of using my POSB card to purchase the ticket online failed. Fortunately they told me I can still withdraw with this old card that I have but the limit is S$1k. All right worst scenario is to take 3 days to withdraw all the cash. I tried one last option, I called the Malaysian Embassy to ask if they can lend me money, unfortunately they don't have that much fund per day. The guy that I spoke to offer me his personal help. He told me I could ask my family in Malaysia to bank in the money into his acc and he will pay me the cash. I was so touched for his offer. I told him that will be my last option if the card doesn't work.

I head out to the bank with both my cards hoping to withdraw as much as I can today. At the Citibank ATM machine, I tried to withdraw 3k pesos by choosing the Others option. Miraculously it works! I tried again and again, 3 times in a roll works. Yeah! Now I have 9k to pay my flight. I was so relief and happy. :-D Thank god there is still a bit of luck left over.

The next day, we arranged to pay for the flight ticket to his friend and I received the E-Ticket in no time. Now I am set to go! Feeling happy that I have solved all the problem but sad I am leaving! I got the Emergency Document from Malaysian Embassy as well. The people from the Malaysian Emabassy were really nice.

Thankful to Fefu resources that things got resolved in no time. We spent lots of time together during the week at his house. We talked about everything. We cycled to the park and sneak into the prohibited garden and got kicked out. :-) We cook together. We chat all night (almost) We kind of visited La Boca together. We went to CS event. We watched documentary about Wal Mart, this really shocked me, think I will never visit one again. It was sweet, my last few days in Buenos Aires couldn't be better. As Fefu will be away for the weekend, I need to move to a hostel, he found me one near by and it was clean and nice. I spent the last day going shopping at the weekend market at Recoleta. Bought everything for everyone in the family. :-) 

La Boca
La Boca

It was time to leave, I was sad and heavy hearted. Lots of memory flashing thru my mind while on the way to the airport. I really love Latin America, love the culture and people here. I already start to miss it even before I leave. :-( At the airport, I check it with no issue, got into my flight to Sao Paulo-Doha and arrived in Kuala Lumpur 27 hours later.

A todos mis amigos que he hecho en Latina America. Tuve el mejor momento de mi vida. Yo soy la persona más afortunada del mundo para conocerlo. Mi viaje no habrá sido mejor sin ti. Te voy a EXTRAÑAR! Un fuerte abrazo y un beso de mi parte!

Hostel Pop Pampas - AP80 incl breakfast and Wifi available

Taxi from Hostel to airport - AP165
Qatar Air-BA-Doha-Kuala Lumpur - AP8500


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