Buenos Aires Argentina
Saturday, May 03 2008
Very cute toucan we saw
leaving Iguassu we visited an excellent bird park. The birds in Brazil are
quite amazing in their variety and colors. We have been to several bird
parks in our travels but this one, which is by the Iguassu airport, was by
far the best organized and maintained.
Next it was a two hour flight to Sao Paulo without event.
Then a short safe shuttle transfer from the Sao Paulo airport to the airport
Marriott where we stopped for the night.
Sunday, May 04 2008
This was another "hurry up and wait day" that happens
when you travel quite frequently. Our flight did not leave for Buenos Aires
until 6:00pm so we had a leisurely lunch, sat in the sun and read, took a
slow ride back to the airport in the shuttle, waited for check in time,
checked in, and then waited to board our flight. The flight from Sao Paul to
Buenos Aires was the better part of four hours and uneventful.
This was the last day of taking the Larium anti-malaria
tablets. We are sure happy about stopping this as it means we can return to
our normal consumption of alcohol and continue to burn off brain cells with
A quick taxi ride from the Buenos Aires airport to our
hotel, the Wilton hotel (yes the Wilton not the Hilton), and we were tucked
away dreaming of electric sheep once again. The Wilton was not a great hotel
or a bad one (there have been many much worse), but it was clean and safe.
We listened to the sounds of Buenos Aires city traffic through our open
window as the city slowly went to sleep too.
Monday, May 05 2008
Julia in her new temporary home
partaking of one of our last buffet breakfasts for some time to come we left
the hotel via a taxi ride to our apartment in Palermo Hollywood.
Enjoying the lunch. You can see from the focus I was
already on my second glass of wine.
Palermo Hollywood is a suburb of Buenos Aires and it
takes its name from all of the movie, TV, and radio production companies in
the area not to mention the numerous actors that live here. We
walked the neighborhood and found it reminded us a lot of San Francisco
neighborhoods, only with very uneven footpaths or sidewalks.
We had a wonderful $20 US gourmet lunch at one of the
many local neighborhood restaurants. Lunch consisted of two firsts, two
mains, sparkling water, and three glass of wine!
After lunch we walked to a park near the zoo. I was here
in November 2007, two things had changed: one the park was full of cats, and
two the weather was pleasant and not humid.
Tuesday, May 06 2008
Here is a photo for Verna. It is one of the many
antique stores that Buenos Aires is famous for.
Today we toured about the city center and did some
clothes shopping. On Thursday we plan to go to a dinner and a tango show,
but our clothes (that we have been wearing for the last 5 months) are really
wearing out and not up to a night out. Fortunately
the US dollar is running about three times as strong as the Argentine Peso
so things are cheap for us here.
Julia really wanted a pair of "tango" shoes. These are
stiletto heeled shoes that are claimed to be extremely comfortable to wear;
even while dancing the tango.
We found the street where they were sold the famous
handmade tango shoes selected a shop we liked and proceeded to by a pair of
shoes. Julia speaking only English and the shop keeper speaking only Spanish
made the transaction fun to watch. This process was proof positive of the
power of consumerism to overcome all obstacles in the pursuit of a sale.
Julia and the shop keeper were very entertaining as each of them used every
trick they could muster to communicate complex message such as: these shoe
are too narrow, these shoes are cramping my toes, etc. Finally the correct
shoes were found and purchased; and all parties were satisfied.
Later in the evening we returned to the city center to
Florida Street, which is a long pedestrian mall, to watch the street
performers dance the tango.
Wednesday, May 07 2008
Julia in front of some Argentine art. It looks like
junk but it is in fact a dragon.
From Julia: It was another warm sunny day for us and the
perfect weather for a bike tour. So after one of the most delicious (I hate
to say it) buffet lunches, we met up with Santiago at what was known as the
English Tower. We
learnt that name was officially changed to Monument Tower after the war with
England over the 1982 Malvinas/Falklands conflict, but everyone still calls
it English Tower.
Julia's spooky graveyard, full of vampires.
Santiago was our guide on a bike tour of Buenos Aires. We
were grateful for the mountain bikes we rode, which were good for
negotiating the broken sidewalks. At times the traffic was scary, but
overall it was a fantastic trip. First we went to a part of town that was
built in the late C19th by rich families escaping a yellow fever outbreak,
and to the Recoleta Cemetery. The cemetery looked like a film set for a
vampire movie, and was so atmospheric that during the night I had nightmares
about being attacked by them! Strangely, May 7th was Evita's birthday, so
her tomb was covered in wreaths and flowers, and there was a crowd of
passionate supporters and an old man reciting poetry about her. Although we
couldn"t understand, it all sounded very fervent and adoring, and the crowd
kept on applauding him. Santiago
tried to explain some of the political history of Argentina and Evita. It
all sounded very complicated with three different current day camps of Peron
supporters. He claimed not to be a "Peronist" himself. Just to get an idea
of the politics, apparently, last year the government decided to move
Peron's body from Buenos Aires to his home town to comply with his wishes.
On the day of transportation, an argument broke out between the three
Peronist factions about which were to carry the coffin. It got to the point
where shots were fired and several people were injured.
The tour went up to Palermo district through parks and
past monuments. Santiago tried to persuade us to go out to a Milonga, a
local dance and Tango club. But at 7pm, when the biking ended, we were just
about able to drag ourselves home, sip some wine and fall into bed.
Thursday, May 08 2008
Here am I enjoying some sculpture.
We went to the National Museum which had a reasonable
collection of old masters and modern Argentinean artist's works. The
weather has been very fair and sunny for all of our time here in Buenos
Aires so we took advantage of todays fair weather and walked to the Museum
from our apartment.
This was our last night in town so to celebrate the fact
we are only two flights from home we went out to see a tango show and have
dinner. We both put on our new clothes and shoes, it was great just to wear
something different for the first time in awhile, and caught a taxi to El
Querandi. The tango and its music are really something special to
experience. It somehow seems to capture the passion of being human and
express it through dance and music.
Friday, May 09 2008
Hip, hip, hooray! It is our last day outside of the good
old US of A. What lies before us is a taxi ride back to the airport at
10:00pm, luggage check in, customs check, 8 hour flight to Miami, and we
will be in the land of milk and honey once again. I have a feeling it will
be a long day today.