We got our act together in the morning and took a hit but otherwise very comfortable bus to rosario after stocking up on food for the 4/5 hour journey. We got to the hostel (posado Juan Ignacio), which had been specifically selected because it had a pool despite being pretty expensive. It lacked air conditioning in the bedrooms and wasn’t really worth the price but otherwise it was nice and the staff/ other guests were good too. On arrival there were a couple of guests about but no staff, so we “self serviced” our way into the pool to await them and escape the heat.

A guy who had just started working there, originally from France but had been travelling for about two years now, rocked up and we eventually checked in and had a nice chat to get our bearings. We’d decided as the place was quite expensive that we would cook tonight and headed out to a Chinese supermarket that was fortunately open and got some nice entrecot to cook back at the hostel. We couldn’t find any matches but made do with the naked flame from the boiler and some carefully wrapped tissue paper… either way the steak and wine was great. The plan to have a chilled one as I was feeling the toll of the last week or so plus the allergies and lack of sleep. But apparently there was an event on and I didn’t need much persuasion to go out for a caipirinha, then have a chat into the night with staff/ guests. I slipped away earlier but Joao stayed involved until about 3.30 in the morning. It was around this time that disaster struck my mobile and it found itself in an endless loop of waking up, then switching off again achieving nothing useful in the interim.

Also, on navigating the way back I was chastised by an Argentinian girl for taking my map out… as apparently this is a big flag to potential muggers.

The next day the plan was to quickly resolve a few errands and see what could be done about my phone situation. I realised quite how reliant I was on this little device and it was painful. After a few crushing defeats (Joao’s attempt to have a functional SIM card also thwarted at every turn).

I had no luck in town with the main issue of my phone but did at least get to buy a back up smart-ish phone. We had to journey to another part of town to find a store suitable to restore my phone, which kindly obliged without quibble. It took hours to do but we managed to pass the time browsing and eventually I managed to persuade us to play some arcade games when we really had scraped the barrell but the restore was still not done. Beat the game on a basketball thing after spending a lot of time there. Eventually, and with aching arms we made it back to the store and picked up my phone late afternoon after the guy who started it for us had left. As we were leaving I suddenly got asked for 500 pesos (half the cost of my new back up phone) for the service. I asked if he was joking as this was the first we had heard of it… he wasn’t… but after arguing that it was just a bit of electricity, plus that I had no cash he accepted that if i hadn’t been told this upfront I couldn’t really be held to account for it. I think I got lucky to be honest as they probably did normally charge that large amount usually!

We then headed out to something called colectividades which was a really cool festival of loads of different countries (but notably missing UK and Portugal we thought!). There was a strong focus on food and drink from each but also most had a stage of something more to show performances or something cultural. It was really good, I had some Argentinian choripan (basically a nice hot dog type thing with chorizo), empanadas, abacaxis (caipirinha from a pineapple!) and an extremely potent and sizeable “shot”/ small glass of limoncello… only 20 pesos from the Italian stand. We didn’t do much the next day, with just a bit of wandering around the area and chilling until dinner.

We bought some more beef, this time a different cut which was also pretty good (lomo – and we are pretty sure it was meant for stews/ roasting but we fried it anyway and it was good) along with a good ration of spinach which was extremely expensive surprisingly (more than the meat in fact?!?!). That night we headed to a language exchange event and it was really good to have a proper chat in Spanish again with sympathetic speakers, the beer was good too and the dudes there were good… also very keen to hear about Brexit! The beer was also some of the best I’ve had in this continent too. Later on some more people arrived, and a nice girl from rosario, Sofi, invited me to join her kayaking around the islands the next day which sounded perfect as we’d planned on hitting the islands the next day anyway. She also suggested a good ice cream place nearby. I shared with Joao the good news on both accounts and we headed off the three of us for some nice ice cream to finish up the day.

Late morning we headed to the beach to eat our pic nic and later meet up with Sofi and the kayak group. It was super hot to start with and we had a nice dip to cool off and then the wind really picked up. This seemed to increase the amount of allergens carried tenfold and pretty soon we found ourselves trying to hide from the semi sand storm, whilst frequently being bent double sneezing our faces off. It was unpleasant… I checked my phone and saw Sofi had texted saying kayaking was cancelled due to the rubbish weather and a storm was expected shortly. This was pretty much what we wanted to hear, and we gladly (and eventually… after a bit of a faff) found a bus to take us home. We ate the rest of the food we had and chilled with the hosts and readied ourselves for leaving the next day. I realised I possibly hadn’t appreciated all of the cultural richness of the city but it had had its moments, I’d eaten well and could not cope with the allergies so wanted to get out of there sharpish!

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