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Soaking up the Last of the Sun – Mar del Plata

Time February 12th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

My last adventure with the chicas (minus 1) was to take a relatively short journey to South America’s east coast for some sun and sand.

We’d been researching (sort of) this trip since November, and everyone told us that we should go to a smaller beach town, like Pinomar to avoid the summer hordes. Of course, Latin American life intervened in our plans to plan, and the actual structuring of this adventure took place mostly two days before it happened. Typical. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that we had some major trouble booking rooms and transportation. First the usual mess with phones, saldo (pre-paid minutes), and sluggish internet connections. Then, when we finally got the info we needed, we couldn’t believe how pricey the hostels were! Fate and dwindling bank accounts pushed us to Mar del Plata. Although it had been the furthest thing from our intentions, it ended up being a good thing.

The bus to Mardel was about 4 hours, with nice views. Getting back to the campo after hectic BA life (more details on that later) was a real breath of fresh air.

Our first adventurous act was when we decided not to take a taxi to the hostel like most tourists would. No way. We’re traveling pros. We knew by then how and whom to ask. So we took our chances with the bus, even though we’d never set foot in the city before and had no idea where the buses would take us. It was an epic success—we aren’t just awkward outsiders, we’re media Argentinas! The #112 bus dropped us off within a block of our hostel.

Our hostel was the cutest place, by the way. It felt more like a hotel than any other hostel I’ve been to. The staff loved us, and it was the first time I really felt like I was on vacation. And with two girls I adore—who could ask for me?

Mardel had a Mendoza-like vibe because it was quiet and there were convenience stores scattered everywhere… but of course with that classic beach town feel. We liked it right away.

The section of the beach we hung out on was in a bay, which was a new experience for me. The water was so calm with so few waves, you could lie on your back and just float, watching the clouds go by. I was so relaxed I felt drunk on it all. We lived like children: we ate and slept. Rinse, repeat. It was a welcome break from the “real” world.

I loved being able to strut around in a bikini and a t-shirt knowing that my friends at home (and even other friends abroad) were bundled up in layers at that moment.

I managed to sunburn one half off my butt. Moral: ALWAYS USE MORE SUNSCREEN.

Get yourself a good scarf: in a pinch, you can use it as a sarong, shirt, sun protector, emergency stuff sack, and a beach blanket.

We spent one night climbing on the rocks on the far side of the beach. We sat in shared silence and contemplated infinity, the lights of the city dancing on the water like fireflies. Nearby, a couple fishermen sat doing the same. It felt so right for all of our adventures, challenges, emotional swings, and frustration to end in a moment of such deep peace.

All the same, it was hard not to think how close we were to the end of this moment in our lives.

I wanted to feel the sand under my toes, so I headed up the beach alone. The chicas caught up with me later, and I said,

“Oh look. A message in the sand. We had better read it before the waves come and wash it away…”

Some things are more beautiful because they’re impermanent.

As usual, I left everyone else behind and went back to BA early to take care of some other business. (I had originally intended to visit family in Montevideo but it turned out to be more time-consuming and expensive than I had anticipated. Next time!) Settled back into the city…and started bracing myself for some difficult goodbyes.

Previous posts

  1. Antes de que me voy  (Before I Leave)
  2. Host Families and Fun with Public Transportation
  3. “Are You the Girl with the Blog?”
  4. Playing Tourists in Buenos Aires
  5. Looking Good, Mendoza!  
  6. A Detailed Guide on All Things Micro 
  7. Trip to Las Termas
  8. Daily life in Mendoza
  9. Habia una vez en los Andes… 
  10. Night of the Soccer Game 
  11. Road Trip! 
  12. My Mate for Life 
  13. Ringo vs. Chuck Norris 
  14. Pros and Cons 
  16. Philosophical Moments in Neuquen
  17. Cordoba and Oktoberfest
  18. Some tips about Hostels
  19. Student Life in Mendoza
  20. Trabajo Voluntario
  21. San Rafael
  22. The Chicas Take Chile