It's 12.19pm in Buenos Aires and I'm sitting in the most expensive internet cafe of my entire trip, getting rid of my last pesos before my flight to Heathrow (via Sao Paolo - a second hop into Brazil for me).
Buenos Aires has been an ideal end to my trip. (So ideal that I have been unable to write a blog post for over two weeks.) Highlights have included:
-a taste of the bizarre world-within-a-world of Buenos Aires tango halls
-taking a tango class myself and braving the austere atmosphere of a real milonga porteña (Buenos Aires tango party) to actually dance tango after that one lesson. (I was awful, and will stick to the salsa and merengue in future but most men learn for months without actually dancing in public, I'm told)
-watching two Boca Juniors matches: one in Boca's home stadium, the curiously shaped Bombonera ("the chocolate box"), and one in Jujuy, a city 21 hours' bus ride to the north of BA. My host Nira and I, therefore, completed a 42-hour round trip to watch the match - a feat almost unherad-of in European soccer these days
-never going to bed before 4am. BA is without a doubt the most nocturnal city I have come accross. No local eats dinner before 10pm (and more normally 11pm) and clubs, bars etc really don't get busy before midnight in the week, 2am on weekends
-and a chance to spend time with a dear, intercontinental friend.
Now I have a casual 14 hour flight to reflect on what has been an incredible 5 months. From sophisticated Buenos Aires bar life to ruddy northern Mexican pool halls, Colombian jungle to Andean mountains and deserts, and from civilised Seattle an Sacramento to, well, Colombia, Bolivia or most of South America this trip has encompassed so much and I am sad to end it. I am leaving South America with a longer list of places to visit than I had when I arrived.
But of course I am very pleased to be coming home. There are so many people I'm looking forward to seeing again, and so many things I have missed. (In a way, winter is one of those things...) Now I just have to figure out what exactly to do with the next few years of my life.
So I'm signing off for this journey - but not quite this blog. Stay tuned to James's America for more post-trip analysis and comment.