Michael has a weird habit of having accidents on planes involving orange juice and the flight to Buenos Aires was another example. On the way to South America, he knocked a full cup all over himself when the flight attendant was handing it to him (much to her disgust as it also landed on her) and on the way to Buenos Aires he struck again - this time a partly open bottle leaked all through his bag. To make it worse he then reached into his pocket and he´d been sitting on a chocolate bar which turned into liquid!
The flight from Rio to Santiago (to then transfer to Buenos Aires) was smooth, although I´d had a bad feeling about something to do with luggage - turns out I was right. First, I get busted at Santiago airport with a knife. Well Michael would want me to point out it was two knives. But one of them was plastic! I had no idea i had the knife so when the guard told me I had a knife in my bag I swore I didn´t. I was so convincing that Michael believed me too. But it turns out I had one (plus a plastic one!) only I can´t remember where I got it from but I was annoyed because had I know I had it, I would have used it! It managed to get through Rio airport first too!
As soon as you leave Buenos Aires airport you can feel what a cosmopolitan city it is and we were very excited even though it was past midnight and we were so tired from travelling for 12 hours. Unfortunately as soon as we got to the hotel it poured rain, but by the next afternoon the weather was perfect and stayed that way.
We got to our hotel (if you could call it that, pretty basic including a shower that was directly over the toilet!) at 2am and they kept trying to charge us different prices to what they quoted but luckily I had it in writing. We finally get to our room and Michael discovers his backpack has been broken into after he checked it in (probably Rio) and his Chanel aftershave has been stolen! We were so annoyed as his backpack is broken now as well - we'd be happier if they´d cut the lock not the bag!
We moved into our serviced apartment which was to be our Buenos Aires home for the next week. It was beautiful - even better than our Rio apartment even though it was a lot smaller. On the ninth floor of a busy street in Recoleta, which is the most expensive suburb apparently, it had a great little kitchen (I cooked a lot - eating out is expensive here but the supermarkets are cheap so that was a nice change) with all you need plus the bed, a kitchen table, balcony and cable tv plus a really nice black granite bathroom (with a bidet of course). As soon as we unpacked our stuff (the first time in 6 weeks!) we went exploring Recoleta. First stop was the very famous cemetry with the biggest graves we´ve ever seen - some are two or three feet high. All are the size of small studio apartments at least. Eva Évita´ Peron is buried there amongst many other Árgentinian dignitaries. We then visited the Recoleta Cultural Centre which had many amazing exhibitions. As it wa a Saturday there was beautiful markets on as well. The arty theme continued with visits to many markets in the area. Everywhere you turn in BA there is a beautiful statue and while I tried to take as many pictures as I could, for you and us we have cut them down as there are way too many beautiful buildings! Even the Retiro bus station and the shopping centres are in beautiful buildings. After all the art of the day we decided to get back to the basics, and watched 007 at the movies. Keeping in mind that BA seems about as expensive to eat out in as Australia we decided to grab a cheap and quick pizza before the movie. But alas, as we shared it they decided to add $11 pesos to the $27 peso bill which didn´t make it so cheap after all!
The next day we explored Palermo and Michael got the chance to show how good he is at reading maps (not!). He was trying to find a Subte train station to get there and next thing you know we were in the middle of Palermo, we´d accidentally walked the whole way! Palermo Viejo was very cool with great fashion and art. If only the funky clothes would fit in my backpack but our next stop is wintery Germany so it is impractical - plus the prices are basically the same. We also explored the beautiful botanical and Japanese gardens.
I have discovered Michael´s fear of small dogs, in particular poodles, and it has become very amusing as we get further into the trip how much he can jump with fear when one barks his way. They know it too and always bark at him! Speaking of dogs, we´d read about the professional dogs walkers and got to see quite a few in Recoleta parks with about 10-15 dogs each, very amusing but I don´t envy their job!
Michael was meant to do Spanish lessons for a week but after a mix up he decided not to which worked out really well as we had a lot to do anyway. We went exploring the shops, the shopping in BA is unbelievable. We booked a few tours so got an afternoon city bus tour for free and although we´d seen most of the sights ourselves on foot, it was good to get more of the background and we hadn´t yet visited La Boca, home of the Boca Juniors futbol stadium which is surrounded by a very colourful blue and yellow neighbourhood in support of the team - plus a lovely open air museum.
The weather in BA was about 28 every day so that was perfect to enjoy the sun and still be able to walk around without dying from the humidity in Rio. People are so well dressed in BA which was such a change after the standard shorts and thongs in Rio and it was such an inspiration. Unfortunately our backpacker outfits made us feel out of place but living in the city would be fabulous.
We went to a Gaucho Fiesta which involved a two hour trip to La Cina Cina ranch for a day of asado bbq and empanadas plus a folklore show, gaucho games and even horse riding (which Michael did while i took a horse and carriage). A fun day. On the way home we took in some shopping on Avenue Santa Fe but unfortunately I seemed to have lost about $80! I have no idea if someone took it out of my bag or if I just lost it, but I am glad my credit cards are still safe.
We couldn´t miss a tango show while in BA and Michael of course wanted to participate so we went to the Complejo tango show which gave us a lesson first followed by dinner and the show. The lesson was fun and went very fast and the show was great too.
The thing I love about all of South America that we have seen so far is that they are able to pronounce my first and last name easily from reading it on paper - which rarely happens in Australia!
The weird thing in Brazil and Argentina though is that they walk around holding their shut mobile phones to their ear and talk to people with it away from their face - hard to explain.
Argentinians are so orderly, they all line up neatly for the buses which means that they get on them faster and don´t block the footpaths, I love it! Of course in Argentina it is all about the coffee - served with small croissants called mediaslunas which I am trying to avoid.
For now it is goodbye to Buenos Aires and on to Bariloche, but we will be back for a few days before we leave.