A few weeks ago my sister Shannon turned 40. Last year I knew I was going to be away for the birthday so to make up for it, I thought, what would be a dream gift for this wonderful sister, daughter, mother, cousin, niece, colleague and friend? As Shannon is yet to experience the joy of overseas travel, a holiday abroad would be an amazing present for her to remember forever.
I told family about the holiday gift idea and they were very supportive so I developed a plan to enable this gift without Shannon knowing. A protected OzCrowd fund-raising page, a secret Facebook event and complicit family and friends were key aspects of this plan.
As the campaign title and main image were publicly visible I chose a generic title and image
Accessing the fund-raising campaign page required a password
On the 31st of December I left my Buenos Aires Spanish class early in order to catch a bus 5 or so hours from Retiro to Mar del Plata. Mar del Plata is a coastal city in Buenos Aires Province and one of the country’s main beach resorts and fishing ports. My final destination was a hostel in Playa Los Lobos, a coastal village between Mar del Plata and Miramar.
In Playa Los Lobos I met up with Brazilian friend Joana and we headed back to Mar del Plata to see what was happening there this new years eve. Our original plan was a Couchsurfing party but that was cancelled with short notice. Mar del Plata’s streets were quiet, the wind cold and restaurants either closed, full or expensive buffets. We eventually found an okay all-you-can-eat pizza place.
Enjoying all-you-can-eat pizza in Mar del Plata
Following dinner we caught a ride back to Playa Los Lobos and joined others around a fire between the hostel and the coastal cliffs.
On new years day Thao, Sandra, Joana and I caught the bus back to Mar del Plata to explore the port area.
Sea lions enjoying themselves in Mar del Plata port
Sea lions and seagulls in the foreground and ships moored in the background
Fishing boats by the dozen in Mar del Plata
New years day night we enjoyed another night around the fire in Playa Los Lobos
Colourful artwork covering a Playa Los Lobos bus shelter in front of our accommodation building with its orange roof
Our 1 January fire was only metres away from these magnificent cliffs. It wasn’t until the next day that we realised high the cliffs were
The region had received lots of rain previously as evidenced by the water lying in the paddocks on the journey back to Buenos Aires