Grandma saves the day!
Aug 17- We walked around San Telmo. Very old town. Lots of antique shops. Stopping for lunch, we ordered a pizza. It wasn't edible due to the pancheta meat on it that neither of us cared for. We wrapped it to go and went to pay. Their visa card machine evidently wasn't working. Not sure what to do since we didn't have enough cash to cover our $20 meal, we stood there while she tried calling the provider for the machine. No luck. So we offered her our last $15. She took it and we left, feeling bad, but there wasn't anything else we could do. We gave our leftover pizza to a homeless guy that had been hanging out near our hostel. He seemed very grateful, so we felt better about everything.
Later that night we went to the Nim Bar, a really cool swanky bar with gourmet burgers. We sat beside a fire outside and dined on burgers, potato wedges and a dark beer called Black Mamba that was 40 IBU with 6.9% alcohol. It was all really good.
This morning we caught a taxi to Palermo district. We ended up hailing Mario Andretti as a driver. As we zoomed thru heavy traffic, bobbing and weaving, getting our ab workout trying to stay upright in our seat, I noticed the driver would occasionally make the sign of the cross on himself. Now I wasn't sure if he was doing this as we sped by random churches or if he was just erring on the side of caution so if we wrecked he'd be covered!
But we made it to our destination in one piece. Well, kind of. He dropped us off on a street corner and pointed in the direction of our address. We unloaded our bags, backpacked up and started walking the rest of the way, which was about a city block.
We waited outside the locked apartments. The guy with the key didn't show at 11 am, so we had been told if he wasn't there at 11, he'd be there by 3. So we sat on the sidewalk and waited an hour. People walked by looking at us like we were homeless. Which technically, I guess we are... Had to be the banjo sitting near our backpacks. I told Nate we should get out one of our coffee mugs and set it out while we strum our banjo.
He said "we dont even know how to play it".
"Yes, I know, but maybe they'll take pity on us and we can make some pocket change to pay the $5 we welched on..."
We decided to pack up and look for lunch. Nearby we found a little cafe. Ordered a steak and a salad. The salad had zero lettuce in it. Just shredded carrots, boiled potatoes and eggs and some chicken chunks. It wasn't too bad. Nate's steak though was rancid. Not even edible. Lost in translation we returned the plate of food. I went to pay the bill and thru much arguing with the owner, I made him take that dish off our bill. He was insistent I pay for it. I was insistent I wouldn't. I won. The coffee was good though.
Sitting in Plaza Italia, while waiting for our key guy to arrive, we watched homeless people milling about, digging thru trash cans. Nate watched one girl remove a bottle of soda from the trash, took off the lid and drank it. Pretty gross, glad I didn't witness that one... The weather is warm, slightly breezy and we're looking forward to getting checked in to our room.
2 pm: We meandered back over to where we had sat earlier at 11 am to wait for the key to arrive. At 3:30 there was still no key. From down the street, a grandma looking lady and a younger 20 something gal approached us. They had passed us earlier this morning. The grandma said, "what is wrong?!" And then said alot of stuff in spanish.
"We're waiting for a key." I said.
"Call on your phone," the girl says.
"We don't have a phone." Nate says.
"You need help? Use her phone?" Grandma says.
"Yes, we need help." I reply.
So the girl calls the number listed on our reservation. Carlos answers and says the maid has been upstairs all day waiting for us. Well, that would've been nice to know ahead of time. He knew we were arriving at 11 am. He was the one that emailed me and said if nobody was there at 11, someone would meet us at the door at 3.
Well, she hung up with Carlos and we waited. Grandma waited with us. Nobody showed up to let us in. Grandma started going off in a Spanish tirade that indicated she was highly irate. She started pushing all the call box buttons on the 9th floor.
Finally a very heavyset woman came to the front door. Grandma launched into her, berating her for being so lazy that she couldn't even come check to see if we were there at 11 or 3 and that we'd been there waiting at the door all day since this morning.
Well, with grandma's fiery help and the translator girl assisting us, we got into our apartment. Grandma kissed each of us on the cheek and wished us well, apologizing for the long wait. She was very sweet and happened to be the assistant sent to help us along in this journey. So thanks grandma! That was a huge blessing you came across our path when needed most!
It seems that no matter where we go in this city, we are getting the tourist shaft rates. Thankful for grandma stepping in to help out complete strangers. Be glad to get on that plane home in 4 days!!