Crikey! Quite a worrying morning to start off with! We’d been advised yesterday of massive demonstrations taking place today at the opening of Congress, and not to go out. We’d pretty much forgotten this until we were woken just before 9am by a series of explosions! And what sounded like gunfire! We are only two blocks from the President’s Palace, and whatever was going on, was going on bloody close to us! This continued for an hour, with building-shaking explosions every few minutes. We were actually genuinely worried, and were searching news sites and Twitter for any info. Even Sam could hear it happening when we Facetimed him! Eventually we looked at the Foreign Office website to receive the following advice:
Still current at: 1 March 2015
Updated: 23 February 2015
Latest update: Summary – forest fires in Cholila (Chubut Province)
Most visits to Argentina are trouble-free, but you should keep a close eye on your personal belongings in public places. See Crime
There are forest fires in Cholila (Chubut province). If you’re in the area, monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.
There have been occasional Falklands-related protests against British interests in Argentina. You should avoid all protests and demonstrations. See Political situation
Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for travel to some parts of the country. See Health
There is an underlying threat from terrorism. See Terrorism
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.”
OK, avoid all protests and demonstrations. I hear that, and can see that as very sound advice. But then again….. So off we went to see what we could see, and got caught up in tens of thousands of people marching under banners, Singing, drinking, drums banging, all headed to Congress. And constantly people were throwing “bombs” in the street! Bloody hell! These were the size of footballs, with a huge taper fizzing from them! They were like cartoon bombs! I expected Wile E Coyote and Road Runner to turn up with a bag of ‘Acme’ dynamite sticks! The resulting ‘bang’ was absolutely incredible and deafening! I’ve heard proper bombs go off before, and this was no different. Then they’d be followed by firecrackers. Amazing. We were actually thankful that it wasn’t yet a full scale riot! I’ve still no idea whether they were pro or against the government! We left them to it and went back to the apartment to watch it on telly – far safer. The pictures were unbelievable – literally hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets and cramming the squares. The President, Christina FK, was helicoptered in nearby then driven to Congress under a massive ticker-tape parade! So I guess everyone was pro her then! As she entered Congress she stood on the steps and started dancing, waving at the crowd! I’m not sure I’ve seen Cameron do that……
All in all it was quite a morning, but we had been properly worried! I thought I was going to have to ask Brett for one of his infamous “escape from foreign crisis” plans!
This afternoon we’ve been to see the Citroen WRCC Rally Team doing a demonstration and getting ready for the imminent Argentina WRCC. Sebastian Loeb and Mathias Rossi were there, two of the greatest rally drivers around. Great fun and more ear-splitting volume, the cars not far off sounding like the F1 cars of a couple of seasons ago. Below is a link to it, but as usual my camera was crap and didn’t record any sound….
And to round off a top afternoon, we spotted the Belgian man up to his tricks! I watched as he tried the usual spiel on a couple of young German tourists. I let him have a couple of minutes before I walked up and said “How many times have you been robbed today?” The Germans thanked me for helping them, and then I told the bastard where to go. Again. More crap video of him below.
Our last night in BA before we go to Patagonia for 4 days tomorrow, so an extra big steak tonight!!