After being deprived of the Internet in Bolivia we had a mammoth skype session in the morning catching up with both our families. Late morning, we went out to sort some boring admin stuff. First up, the bank.
My current account is with HSBC. In terms of money, we are only using our credit card from Halifax. If we withdraw cash with our credit card, we get charged interest the following day so normally we just pay it off immediately by transferring money from our current account onto our credit card via Internet banking. But a couple of weeks ago, I was sent a message informing me that as of the end of August, my Internet banking will cease to work without this calculator thing which they’ve sent me. One problem, the calculator is in Solihull and I’m in Argentina.
We managed to find HSBC and we managed to speak to someone with broken english. In the end, it was too difficult and handed over the phone so we could call the customer services in England. Over the phone they explained to me that they could send the calculator to an address of my choice worldwide. It would take up to 2 weeks…how the hell do I know where I’m going to be in 2 weeks? We barely book our accommodation in advance and usually decide when we leave one place the day before. We had to make a decision. After spending 30 minutes on the phone, they agreed to send it out to the HSBC bank in Buenos Aires by changing my personal address to the BA branch address. What a ballache!
We also went round pretty much every ATM we could find to see if there was any bank which didn’t charge our bank for withdrawing cash. The answer was no. Thieving bastards!
For lunch, we decided to head to the market. As soon as we headed into the food area, we were hounded by anyone and everyone. Most stalls were selling pizza oddly enough for almost nothing. So we decided to give it a go. A rather large cheese and tomato pizza with a 1.5 litre bottle of pop cost around £1.50 – what a bargain! The pizza was ok but it maybe had – i never thought I would say this – too much cheese on it. Plus, it was a plasticky type of cheese, not the greatest. But it did the job and we were full!
The Argentinians have a different daily routine to us Europeans. They start the day as we would do eating breakfast maybe around 7am, then lunch around 1pm. But dinner isn’t served until around 10pm at the earliest. And if you go out to a club, people don;t usually get there until about 2 or 3am.
We decided to go for a bit of a meat feast for dinner seeing as though we were in a country famous for its meat. In the Lonely Planet, it recommended a restaurant for a parilla (a mixed meat grill). Aware that we had to go for dinner “late”, it got to around 8.30 pm and we were both really hungry. So we decided to slowly to make our way over. We arrived at the restaurant around 9pm and it was dead. At first we thought maybe it actually wasn’t a very good restaurant which was why there was no-one in it but we decided to walk around a bit longer to see if anyone else would turn up. We headed back around 9.30 and there were a couple of people inside. So we went in and ordered a parilla for two with a portion of chips and salad to share along with a nice bottle of red wine.
The parilla came with sausage, steak, chicken and intestines along with other bits of meat/offal we couldn’t identify. Everything was really nice apart from the intestines which were mushy on the inside and extremely salty – i definitely would not recommend eating the intestines. But overall, a very enjoyable meal. We were stuffed at the end. It was more than enough food for the two of us.
Tucking into the parilla
By the time we finished eating, it was about half 11. The restaurant was full! The strange thing was was that it was a week day and a significant amount of customers were families with their children! Don’t these kids need to go to school tomorrow?!