Wayward Travels

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Number 59 and non-Euclidean geometry

Well, I had a lovely day in Recoleta wandering through a huge fería with all sorts of vendors and artisans. I took the 59 bus there--a quick 15 min ride--and enjoyed strolling through the absolute maze of stalls. Every and any imaginable craft and knick-knack and article of clothing could be found, from mates to belts to windchimes to ashtrays to incense to knit scarves to jewelry of all ilk to puppets to you name it. Perfomers ranging from mimes to guitarists filled the park and the air, mingling with the sounds and smells of food vendors tempting the hungry. I was very happy.
I also visited the Museo Nacional de Bella Artes (fine arts museum), which in addition to being very well-maintained and having a decent collection, was also free. I got tired after going through the European collection, so took a bit of a nap under a tree outside and then re-entered to have a look at the Argentine collection. But extreme sleepiness (was it something I ate?) took over, and I made the executive decision to go back to the hostel for a bit of a rest before going out tonight. So I hoped back on the bus around 5:15. I should have been snoring by 6pm in bed, but alas, I was foolish enough to think that simply re-boarding the #59 bus would loop around to where I got on this morning. After a time, I noticed that we were no longer on the map of Buenos Aires. Soon, we seemed to be deep in a residential area. A bit later, I saw a sign that said "Buenos Aires -->" and noticed some very large and very suburban mall. Not long after that, I was the only person on the bus. The driver stopped and told me to get out. I asked him how to get to "el centro" and he had a chuckle in his eye. It was past 7 o´clock. I had been on the bus for nearly 2 hours. We were far from el centro. So I waited in the parking lot with over a dozen #59 buses until the driver had a snack and got back on board and waved me in. We drove all the way back, picking up and dropping off people along the way. It did not take long for me to realize that the routes are not circular, rather they are linear. I had taken the right bus the wrong way. So I finally made it back to the hostel. What should have been a 15 bus ride took three hours. The way I see it, that´s a heck of a deal for 80 centavos.


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