My final stop in South America is the great city of Buenos Aires. A massive urban sprawl with a most vibrant, cosmopolitan core. Originally I was going to use the two weeks here to make excursions to Iguazu and Uruguay, but within 24 hours I had decided to make this place my home.
A lot of things are different here from the rest of the places I’ve visited. Public transportation runs quickly and efficiently. People start saying ‘buenas tardes’ right after noon instead of around 3/4 pm. Used toilet paper is disposed in the toilet instead of a wastebasket (so weird!). Thankfully nobody has change for a 100 peso bill, so that’s universal on this continent.
Buenos Aires is a huge change from the last couple of months, and it’s great to be able to stay a while in a city with all the creature comforts of home, and some added spices and surprises of its own. The different neighborhoods here all have a distinct personality, so I’ve been switching hostel every couple of days to be in the thick of things. San Telmo was very old and picturesque with cobbled streets and antique shops, while Microcentro has towering skyscrapers and the grandeur of classical government buildings. Now I’m in Palermo which is the hip barrio, with little independent shops and restaurants everywhere.
I’ve been tango dancing (twice) which I enjoyed a lot, it’s very intense and much more passionate in its way than salsa. It’s serious business but I can’t help but smile when (if) me and my partner executed an 8-step move fluently. Another fun dancing venture was the annual Gay Pride rally that took place on Saturday. Tens of thousands of happy people on the street rocking along to a parade of flatbed trucks carrying brightly dressed men and women (and some in-between).
I’ve been doing a few activities a day, like visiting the Modern Art museum, wandering around the famous Recoleta cemetary, or doing a historical tour, and relaxing around that. I’ve been eating steak to the point where I think I’ve eaten a whole cow by now. For lunch and/or dinner they serve massive portions (a ‘small’ is still 400 grams) of steak, and it’s unbelievably delicious every time. Right now, though, I’m eating something very different: speculaas. Casper’s dad was over in BA for business and they brought me delicious snacks from the motherland: a speculaaspop and a chocolate letter. The letter (milk & hazelnut) did not last long and I’m trying unsuccessfully to preserve the speculaas a little longer. It was really great to meet someone from back home, and get a little Sinterklaas snack goodness as well.
I’m leaving for Australia on the 17th. Before that, I have a couple of things planned. There will be more dancing, tango or otherwise (even though it requires a lot of charm/patience to get into clubs here as they frown on sneakers). There will also be, on Tuesday, the most intense football rivalry match in the entire world: River Plate against Boca Juniors. I’ll try to get some video of that adventure. Then it’s off to Australia for new adventures. Stay tuned as I will blog a wrap-up of South America before I head out.
Here are some pictures again, and you can see the whole album here.