Buenos Aires

1 Nov

On our day of arrival, we did the usual “settle in then wander”. Wandering included a several kilometer walk to an outdoor market held on Sundays each week in Recoleta. There were many vendor booths and some musicians.  This walk was definitely the long and visually boring way to go there even though we followed the directions from the hotel man precisely. ?Vive en Buenos Aires, verdad? Sheesh. Upon further evaluation after a good night’s sleep and on a weekday (when the area of our hotel is supposed to be “alive”), I am led to the conclusion that “economical district” pretty much means “ghetto”. Our hotel itself is lovely, but even on a bustling Monday, much of what surrounds us has graffiti-splattered gates pulled over fronts and bags of trash spewing into the street. It’s classy, ya know, makes you feel at home. Despite this, we are told it is safe during the day but taxis are recommended at night.  I don’t see much difference between night and day quality here (except the firey ball in the sky), but we do follow this guideline. Our first full day in Buenos Aires started with a city tour. We rode on a small bus with two good seats to see out the windows– note: not our seats– but luckily this tour consisted of the guide talking on the way to areas of interest and then us having time to get out, look around, snap photos. I found this tour to be useful for the transportation piece (plus a few tips on things to do the remainder of the day) but not that memorable from an informational perspective. What I find of Buenos Aires is that there is not an extensive amount to “oooh” and “ahhh” over along the way.  It is interesting to see the subtle differences of architecture in the barrios, depending on which European immigrants settled there. While in la Boca, the Italian barrio, we see a lot of brightly colored buildings in the few block radius considered to be safe (and touristy). We are not allowed to walk further because it is the poorest and most dangerous barrio. Otherwise, it is surrounded by flats (many are run down and unsafe as the people often build additional levels onto their shacks without supervision). We spent the rest of our day in the nicer areas of the city (Recoleta and Palermo), meandering around many green and tree lined spaces. Recoleta houses the second oldest church in Buenos Aires, Our Lady of Pilar Church. Beside that is one of the most important cemeteries in the world (when considering architectural value).  The cemetery was fascinating to explore, and yes, I took the obligatory tourist shot of Eva Peron’s tomb.  (Don’t cry for me Argentiiiiiinnnnaaaaa! — I digress….) An interesting factoid… Evita died in her 30s of cancer because she refused medical care and thought prayer would save her. I guess we know how that worked out for her. Maybe if I hadn’t slept through “Evita” on a 90’s international flight, I would have already known that.  After another looooong walk to the Japanese Gardens, we returned to the ‘hood to prepare for a night of dinner and tango. Until next time… Cheers!

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