I arrived in Cape Town today, Monday 23rd July 2012, just after 1pm. Skip picked me up at the airport took me to my apartment for this season where we dropped my bags and then straight down to the Shozalosa dock to see the status of the work on Pelagic Australis. The hire car was waiting for me outside the Aquarium and after a quick visit to Woolworths in the V&A Waterfront to pick up some basics for the fridge I headed home to crash.
I departed from Piriapolis, Uruguay, around 3:30pm on Saturday after a quick lunch with Laurence and Eliza from Imperial Yachts and Henrick the skipper of “Oya”. The restaurant was busy, and service slow, and we were worried that we wouldn’t get served before I had to leave but Piriapolis being a small town it turned out the the bus driver’s wife was our waitress and she called him to find out exactly what time I had to be at the terminal and gained me 15 minutes grace.
I had booked a seat on the Buquebus service direct from Piriapolis to Buenos Aires. The buses converge on Montevideo from various parts of Uruguay just before the sailing times for the ferry. Emmigration from Urugay and immigration to Argentina are completed at the same desk and the ferries seem to be treated as Argentine territory with prices for snacks etc. all in Argentine Pesos and grudgingly in Uruguayan pesos if you ask. At 40 knots the ferry crossing only takes about three hours.
In Buenos Aires I got a taxi to my usual hotel, a cheap place near the port, it is really a short walk but I had heavy bags so grabbed a cab for which I obviously paid too much for such a short trip. Sunday morning I took a stroll along Ave. Florida to see what had changed since my last visit a year ago; not much except that there are many more beggars, whole families of beggars in some places, and many dodgy characters offering black market rates to change US dollars – a sign that CFK’s economic polices are not all she says they are perhaps? I browsed a book shop and saw a recently published geographical atlas of Argentina so had a flick through it to see what it said about the Falklands. It was surprisingly free of BS, of course the Falklands were marked on the map as “Islas Malvinas (ARG)” and there were some stats on populations, imports, exports etc., but what caught my eye in the commentary was the statement “The recent discovery of indications of hydrocarbons in the area has heightened tension between Great Britain and Argentina” – no shit! Oh and the book shop had a large display advertising “Fifty shades of Grey” seems to be quite a bit of fuss going on about that around the world!
After lunch and a much longer cab ride, for not much more money than the previous evenings short one, and I was at Eizeza airport checking in. There has always been a small memorial to the Argentine servicemen who fell in the Falklands war there just outside security but that has been revamped a bit with a bunch of fabric banner posters depicting images from the war and various propaganda.
Not much to report on the SAA flight from Buenos Aires to Johannesburg, there was a short delay in Jo’burg which I took advantage of to pick up a new SIM card for my mobile, then a short two hour hop to Cape Town.
Time to catch up on some sleep.