March 2016

I’ve already posted some photographs of the streets of Argentina’s capital city from the window of the coach taking us on our full day excursion organised by Princess Cruises (The Streets Of Buenos Aires and The Bus To La Boca) but whereas those were from more affluent or more looked-after areas of the city the final part of Buenos Aires through which we drove on the tour coach after leaving La Boca was decidedly poorer. As I’ve said before, taking photos from a coach window is not something I’m particularly keen on because it invariably includes reflections from the inside of the vehicle as well as picks up dirt and grime on the window’s exterior surface but it’s sometimes the only option and it’s worth capturing something of the places in which you travel, especially if they’re culturally very different from what you’re used to, even if you’re just trundling through in relative comfort.

It’s interesting when travelling on coaches on various excursions organised by the cruise companies just how often I see people taking photos with point-and-click cameras without turning the flash off. I do wonder just what those pictures end up looking like although I suppose without it, depending on the camera, the shutter speed might end up being so slow as to render nothing but a blur anyway. Top tip if you’re planning to take photos of anywhere through the windows of a coach: work out the settings on your camera to disable flash and take faster pictures for sharpness! Another tip is to try to pay attention to reflections of interior lights or the windows opposite your seat. That’s not so easy to avoid, though, and sometimes you just have to live with less-than-perfect pictures to go along with your memories.

Even while our guide was warning us about the dangers in certain areas of the city and advising none of us to head away from the main shopping areas if we left the ship (not that we would as our South American cruise was due to start properly soon after with the Star Princess scheduled to depart that evening) it was fascinating to see the apparently poverty-stricken areas of Buenos Aires occasionally showing signs of complete normalcy: the clean, new-looking taxis were the most prominent signs; indicators that the drivers may not have been paid very well, probably, but also that the supposed dangers of the Argentinian streets we were driving through may have been exaggerated somewhat as I couldn’t imagine cars in decent condition lasting that long if things were truly as bad as we were being told.

As an addendum, while it didn’t look dangerous passing through this part of Buenos Aires to me at the time this was during the day. We later learnt on board the ship that some people had come into the capital city a few days early before boarding; one of those people was a Canadian man who went for a wander late at night and his sense of direction let him down. He ended up straying into the wrong part of the city where he suddenly realised he was being followed by a couple of men. He turned to confront them when a large knife was pulled out on him. His reaction was to scream for help and, fortunately for him and as an example of the good naturedness of most people on this planet, some people across the street ran to his assistance. His would-be muggers left and he was helped away to safer streets. So, as it turns out, seeing some parts of Buenos Aires from a coach window may actually be the best thing you can do.

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