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"Travelling down to Buenos Aires on an Argentinian passenger ship from Le Havre, in France, I spent two very restfull and enjoyable weeks reading up on the places I wanted to visit, trying to learn some Spanish, and generally getting into the flavour of it all. Most of the passengers were South Americans returning home and whom I found easy going and friendly. The food was excellent and the weather mainly good. We had 3 half days ashore at Lisbon, Las Palmas in the Canaries, and at Santos in Brazil. Sadly it was the ship's last voyage and the beginning of the end of an era, and a very nice way to travel if you had the time.


Buenos Aires in Spanish means good weather, but for me it did not live upto its name. The ship docked at 11:00am, the sky was so black it was like night, all the street lights were on, and when the clouds burst it was like being under a water fall; it was over 2 hours before we could leave the ship. When the storm eased a bit and I finally got ashore I was invited to spend the first night with an English family I had met on the ship. They lived in the British quarter, where I was told about 6,000 Brits lived, the area complete with its own school, church and hospital, nearby was a similar community of Germans. 


The next day I spent looking round the city centre with its fine buildings and some traffic free shopping streets, some of the first I had seen. With about 8 million people, one third of the Argentinian population, it was at that time the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere and had many of the well known stores including Harrods.


I called at the YHA office in the afternoon for information to find a party going on. They were hosting the South American YHA conference and I was invited to join them, and later went with some of the members for a meal. In the evening I made my way by local train to a hostel in the Delta a few miles from the city, where the conference proper was to take place next day. The hostel was on an island in the river, and I was wondering how I was going to reach it when a boy offered to take me across in a small rowing boat, quite hairy in the dark as it was by then! Although busy the next day with the conference, they found room for me and I had an enjoyable day being taken on a boat trip round the many Islands in the Delta and meeting some of the interesting people who had come from different parts of the continent.


A day later I took the ferry across the mouth of the River Plate to Colonia in Uruguay where my luck changed. For the day after I arrived there was a mass break out from one of the country’s main jails and the police were on the lookout for anyone a bit suspicious. I seemed to fit, and of the 3 days I spent in Uruguay at least one day must have been spent in the 6 or so police stations I was taken to for questioning. The trouble was made worse by the fact that once in the station I could not be released without the OK of the chief, in one case I had to wait 3 hours, but they were quite friendly and I even got a meal and wine at one station. - MH


Plaza San Martin, Buenos Aires,1971

  • All items are produced from original paintings by Martyn Hanks.

    Prints: Size is A4 (8.27" x 11.69"/210 x 297mm). Printed onto high quality 245gsm fine art watercolour paper to give the print an authentic look and feel. Supplied in a textured off white mount size 12" x 16" (305 x 406mm), backed and sealed in a clear cellophane wrap and delivered in a protective carton to ensure it reaches you in perfect condition.

    Cards: Size 7" X 5"/178 x 127mm. Packaged in a clear cellophane wrap with a top quality 150gsm self-seal white envelope.

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