Puerto Madero Buenos Aires

The Website that Saved My Life in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a chaotic city.  When you group 15 million people in one place, that’s just what happens.

Sometimes, the pace and speed of such places makes you want to knaw off your own arm in frustration.  Other times, it spurs some such genius or other to create something so wonderful, that you can almost feel the air around you glow with thanks.

Here, this wonderful thing is this website.

Buenos Aires, while enormous, is in some ways very logically designed, especially throughout the more famous districts where most tourists will spend a lot of their time and pesos.  Quadratic in design, many of the main streets are parallel (which is very helpful) yet in certain sports are crossed by any number of other, more squiggly avenues (which is not).  Hilariously, many streets are many kilometres long, meaning that taking note of what altura (or street number) you’re at is essential, lest you end up on the correct street, but 5km away from where you want to be.

Probably knowing that streets spanning 10 000 metres is not that helpful, the blocks were helpfully designed to go up or down by 100 and are (usually!) marked as such.  This is a fabulous idea, and very German, really.  Much too organised an idea to be Latin America.

The length of the streets means that while walking through the city, you’re constantly being hit with the same streets, but at drastically different alturas; suggesting that you are in fact no where near where you were before, despite what the name of the street would tempt you to believe.  This, combined with the horrifying size of the city means that looking at a map of the place is enough to make you want to stay at home with an empanada instead.

However, thanks to the aforementioned website, leaving your flat and making it successfully to your destination is not an impossibility.  Props.

I would like to take the time now to salute the public servants who contracted and designed this virtual wonderland of easily communicated information, and thank them for making it possible for me to not get pick-pocketingly robbed in the back streets of Buenos Aires, while lost, no where near which ever bus stop I needed at the time.

If you’re going to Buenos Aires any time ever, take note.  Use it.  Just enter your current location and final destination (careful to remember which altura you’re currently at and want to be at, or else you’ll possibly end up on the right street, but light years away), click and watch as this god-page not only generates a veritable feast of possible transport options for you, but also draws you a convenient little pic of the route you’ll be taking.

Cue performing the I’m-obviously-a-tourist-as-I’m-holding-a-map-on-the-bus-and-tracing-the-route-as-the-bus-takes-it routine and you’ve made it.  Whew!

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