Six hours away from Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata is one of a handful of beach cities that host hoards of Buenos Aires vacationers during the summer months.
The last place I would go for vacation in January is where I knew 100,000 of my fellow city-dwellers would be. But in the off season at least, Mar del Plata is an oasis compared to the hurly-burly of Buenos Aires. I spent the weekend there and loved it.
On Saturday, I was asked for directions twice in five minutes, which is a little above average even for me. When I told the first guy I wasn't from there and didn't know what to tell him, he said that was fine and went on his way.
When the second guy asked me for directions, I told him I didn't know and that "es que no soy de acá." (I'm not from here).
To which he responded: "¡Vos menos que yo!" ("You less so than me!")
Eesh. Can we drop the commentary? You're the one who's lost, buddy. I may not have been able to give him directions, but I was still tempted to tell him where to go.
Near the fishing docks is a colony of sea lions (lobos marinos, or "sea wolves" in Spanish). They are just astonishingly beastly creatures. Fat and smelly, they sit there content to soak up the sun and revel in their indolence.
I stood there watching and snapping photos. You can get really close to them. Sometimes a few will waddle up onto the docks. Otherwise, there's a large group behind a fence where you can stand a meter or two away from them. Which is where I was when one of them turned and looked right at me. And then sneezed on me.
I had sea lion snot dripping off one sleeve. I used my other sleeve to wipe some from my face.