It was January of 2013
I was working for my grade in university, after 10 years of studying and never been able to gave it a finishing point. I was really tired, was working in an Advertising Agency and at the same time, working as an Event Manager, for self-development courses. Had a girlfriend and trained 3 times a week. I barely sleeped those days, and what i really wanted was to close everything and go somewhere far away, have time for myself, and start working on what i thought it would be my next 10 years of life.
As a Life Coach i knew the importance of having a «life project», and i definetly wanted to do a serious change on my lifestyle. Wanted to stop working in multimedia, computers had my mind sick and my soul dead. But more importantly, i wanted to really start living my life to the fullest, feel the happiness of being alive, working on what i felt real passion.
So i ended my university grade on a thursday the 31st of january. The same day, i got fired because of personel reduction (i was so relieved, i couldn’t imagen my self working one more day in that place), went to my house did some calls, some days later i got a credit offer, and without thinking it too much, took the money they were offering me, paid some bills, quit from the Event Manager job, bought a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires Argentina, and another one to Florianopolis, Brasil. And there my adventure begun.
Why Brasil? Why Florianopolis?
Well, i did a list of all the places i wanted to go. My brother was living those days in New Zealand, so the idea of going and paying him a visit, was interesting, BUT, of all the places, Florianopolis was the one i could get and stay with the budget i had at the moment, besides i had some friends over there, and i had listened some very good recomendations about the island. All i ever wanted was to live by the sea, in a peaceful beach, learn to surf, and maybe fall in love with life and a beautiful woman too.
Why Buenos Aires first?
Because its a «must» place to visit at least once in life. It has so much life, its a huge city in a huge country, full of great food, interesting places to check, some amazing artists and people to know, etc…
I spent 4 days in Buenos Aires, it was my first time there, and wanted to know everything, so i just walked all over. Saw everything i could and of course, ate everything i got to find over there. My mother had a friend, who offered me to stay in her apartment those days, so i didn’t have to pay for that, just my personal tourism.
There i had an experience that really proved my nerves on this trip. I was just getting off the plane, people suggested me, to go without cash, and use the chilean debit cards, because they worked there. So i needed to take a van to the city, asked how much it was, and went to the bank machines, it was eleven in the night, almost midnight, and my debit card would not work in that machines, went to all the posible ones, and neither of them worked! I was so frustrated, didn’t know what to do, couldn’t call anyone. I had the money, i just couldn’t take it from the bank machine.
After 1 hour of trying the imposible become posible, i noticed another person in the same situation as me, he was a fellow chilean. Talked to him and asked him, if he had some cash, he answered he only had 15 dollars in his wallet, and that he could’nt give me more. I asked him those 15, and promised him i would give them back, so he gave me his bank account number and went with my 15 dollars to buy the ticket for the van, that was going to the city. For those who don’t know, Ezeiza Airport is far away from the city, and you need a transportation in order to get there.
Went to the selling point, and for my surprise i needed 17 dollars, i had a lucky dollar in my wallet, but still not enough, i really needed 1 more f*** dollar and those guys would not accept less. Even if i begged, which i did.
For those who know about Argentina’s situation about the dollar, they got a black market for it. The official change wouldn’t be enough to buy the ticket, so i decided to buy a black market dollar, but, to whom?
I just stayed still and started to look for someone, with suspicious face, like a «black market face». A normal person, but that kind of look, you could get something illegal from him or her. An suddenly, i spotted a guy with those characteristics. Went straight to him, told him my story, and asked if he knew where to make the change. He looked at me, and said: «Yeah, sure, just go to the third store over there, speak with the fat guy, and tell him, Lorenzo (fictional name) is sending you». Just did what he told me, went to the fat guy in the third store, told him my story and of course, that «Lorenzo» was sending me, so he asked, «how much do you want?», I felt so relieved, bought more than enough Argentinian pesos, took the last Van to the city and when i reached the apartment, they received me with a good and cold beer.
I was so Happy, in the end, everything went good, it was a great experience. Anyway, i think i was lucky in many ways. I really suggest to avoid doing black market exchanges, unless you feel you can do it. You can always get in more troubles, so you need to be smart and smooth! And next time i travel to Argentina, i will sure have cash with me.
After that, as i already said, i walked all over, went to some museums, libraries, the zoo, some parks, great pizza places and ate the famous «bife chorizo».
For my next post, Florianópolis, the magic island!