Montag, 10. September 2012

September 10 - Buenos Aires

As usual I set my alarm clock for 6 a.m. and got up at 6:10. I left the house at 7:20 and was eating my breakfast on the way to the bus station. At 7:35 I arrived at the bus station and the bus I needed to catch came at 7:45. This morning I was proud of myself because the busdriver didn't ask me to repeat my final destination again:-) (Mabye my pronouncation had improved or the busdriver was used to a German accent:-)
I was in class at 9:00 and except my 3 classmates from the previous week there were 5 (!) new students in the classroom: Anne from Germany, Kirsten from The Netherlands, Bruce from the US, Fiona from Scotland and Chris from London.
The class was still ok but last week when there were only 4 of us was much better (more private or more like a coffee party:-) )
At 1 p.m. Remo, Ute, Anne and I went for the same restaurant where we had had lunch the week ago and Ute and I shared a pizza again.
My individual class started at 14:00 and Angela was my teacher again. We practiced the verb "haber" and I had to describe pictures of living rooms and bathrooms. It still took me a lot of time to answer questions about simple things and I was creating my own words sometimes but at least I spoke:-)
After class I met Ute in the common room and we were heading for the bus station.

Monumental Tower
(on the way to the train station)

We wanted to find out where we could buy the "Southpass", a ticket for travelling by bus in Argentina and the adjacent countries. First we took a closer look to the train station and then we went to the bus station.

inside the Retiro Station (= train station)
When we came in we were really surprised. Lots of small counters from different companies were on the 3rd floor of that building and they were ordered by international destinations, destinations in the center of the country and the northwest and northeast, southeast and southwest part of Argentina. It took us about 10 minutes to pass all these counters and we both thought it might be almost impossible to find the best and cheapest company just by asking about these things at every single counter.

all different counters of bus companies

But it wasn't necessary for us to buy a ticket over there because we just needed some information about the southpass. Finally we went back to the groundflour and asked at the information center about that pass. The 2 clerks worked together to explain us in English that we needed to go to an agency that was located in the train station ("Mitre Station") to buy and get the information we were looking for.
So we went back to the train station and luckily the woman could speak English very well.

The Southpass
The Southpass is a pass to travel around Argentina and to get to 6 other Southamerican countries by bus within 60 days. It is a travel pass for 5, 7 or 15 bus trips and it works online. Once you bought the pass you don't need to go to a bus station anymore. You just chose your trip (f.e. Buenos Aires to Corodoba) online and at least 24h before the trip you have to fill in a form telling the
- preferred date
- preferred time (night, morning or afternoon)
- and your company that should be on the same bus as yourself
- and other comments you would like to ask/add.
Then you will get a reply telling you if there is a bus available for your trip and if yes the date, time and bus company are provided either. Depending on your destination there are 2 options: printing out your ticket or receiving a password and receiving your ticket at the bus terminal. Depending on the length of the trip either 1 or 2 bus tickets will be deducted from your pass.
It is much cheaper than buying one single ticket after the other one but the the pass is not transmittable and only for foreigners and Argentinians residing out of Argentina.
For more information one can check:
Ute and I were really satisfied with our result and on the way back we stopped at a tourist information, received a nice map of Buenos Aires and asked if we could buy soccer tickets there. The answer was "yes" but a ticket cost 950 Pesos and if you wanted to pay by credit card they would charge us 5% more. But a bus would pick us up and take us back after the game.
We wanted to think about it again and wait until the next morning because we were still hoping that Ute would have gotten an email by then.
Then Ute and I went into the first cafeteria we saw and had a cake (I ate a chocolate mousse cake:-) and some tea. We exchanged our email addresses and decided to travel the last part of our bus journeys together (meeting in Salta and travelling to Igazu, the Estancia, Montevideo and back to Buenos Aires).
At 19:15 I said goodbye to Ute and went on the long journey back home.
On the bus I had some probems with my coins because the ticket machine didn't except neither of my coins. I was kind of helpless to explain the driver that the coins weren't excpeted by the machine but a nice woman standing behind me helped me. She checked my coins, talked to the driver and tried to explain everything to me. But I only could look stupid and tell her that I hadn't understood anything. The less I understood the faster and more she explained:-) But then she paid for me using her metro/bus card and this I understood:-) I had no other idea than offering her a handful of my coins and she took the one's she just spent for me. I could just say "gracias" and was very thankful for her help.
At 21:00 I was back home, Victoria and I had dinner (Gnocchi and an orange for dessert) and I told her about our new big class and the Southpass (she hadn't heard of it before!)
At 22:30 I went upstairs, checked by email, blogged a little bit and went to bed at midnight.

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