Thursday 11 May 2006

Buenos Aires: the first few days

My knees are knackered. I need to take a break. But what I really want to do is go running round the park in Palermo, right by Expedition HQ (parents' flat). The weather is unseasonally beautiful. T-shirt weather. So I take it pretty easy the first couple of days. Just wandering about, catching some sun in the park and taking advantage of the great exchange rate to make some cheap purchases. CDs, especially, are a steal. New releases, almost up to date with UK, are just 30 pesos. That's £6.

My PC is also knackered. Picked up a nasty spyware thing in the UK, which I thought I'd sorted out. Spyquake looks like a legit programme but it installs itself onto your machine and is very hard to remove. I had to do a ton of stuff to stop it blinking up on my screen telling me to pay up and upgrade. Eventually I succeeded. Seems it was hiding something else, though. My PC won't boot now. It doesn't detect the hard drive. Ouch. That's a serious problem, which I'll deal with when I'm back in London. All my contacts are on it. A lot of my work, including CV etc. Fortunately my MBA applications are on a USB stick.

I went round to see my grandmother for the first time in who knows how many years and my aunt, my mum's sister. It's great being able to reconnect finally with this side of the family.

And I also went to the cinema one night, at midnight, of course. Nothing happens early here and I've plugged straight into the way of life here. I'm not sure how Proof was received in the UK but I wasn't too impressed, A Beautiful Mind for chicks, basically.

All the time, I'm planning, planning, planning. First, making arrangements for my interviews with IMD and INSEAD. IMD is now postponed to June 30th. I'll be taking a short trip to Lausanne for a day-long interview. INSEAD gave me two contacts in the UK for the interviews but are now sourcing alumni in BA instead. Anyone who thinks we're not plugged into a global, wired world should look at my experience of applying and setting up these interviews. I've submitted applications in a number of different forms (asp, word, html online entry) from places as far apart as London and Ushuaia. The interviews, meanwhile, I'm coordinating through a mixture of email and phone, making the time difference almost an irrelevance.

Second, the rest of the trip. Well, basically, 3 destinations, I've decided. West: Mendoza; NW: Salta and Jujuy; NE: principally Iguazu Falls.

Did a few touristy bits, like taking a look at the Casa Rosada... think the White House but pink. Puerto Madero, the BA docklands, is great, with appartments apparently fetching US$500,000. And unlike the London Docklands, it's very easy to get to and there are lots of places to eat and drink so it stays alive at night and through the weekend. The cow exhibition that passed through London is now here. But to be honest the tourist attractions don't do all that much for me. I want to get to know the city more like a porteño, someone from BA, not a tourist passing through. And for that I have largely have the benefit of Leo, the friend I made in Ushuaia...