Greetings from Argentina Airport!
I am waiting to board my flight to Peru, which I am really excited about! I had the most crazy taxi driver on the way here, he was a menace to anything on the road. We almost crashed twice on the freeway, he drove with his knees and a phone in his hand and to top it off he crashed into the back of a truck when he parked outside the airport! I have never been so close to that bright light of heaven! But as I am alive I shall relate my stories from Buenos Aires.
I spent the most fantastic four days in the city, checking out the different neighbourhoods and walking up and down the harbour. On the first full day there myself and Erin walked from Recoleta, where the hotel was located, to La Boca, which is no mean feat! La Boca was the neighbourhood originally setelled by the artisans who built their homes out of whatever material was lying around the docks. As a result of this La Boca is a maze of colourful houses and lively streets, Camino being the most famous. There is music constantly wafting on the air and beautiful artwork everywhere. Unfortunately the district is well known for being poor and thus rather dodgy so we cound´t stray far from the usual tourist haunts, but it was a fantastic place to relax and spend the morning.
That afternoon we hopped into a cab and headed for Palermo Soho, which is the relaxed, young and fashionable district of the city. There are streets and streets of fantastic little botique shops selling oroginal clothes and accessories (heaven!) and there is a very relaex and laid back atmosphere surrounding the district. We stopped at an ice cream palour and indulged in a wonderful banana split and dluche du leche ice cream for lunch. Dulche du Leche is like the nutella of South America. It is a sweet caramel that is used to flavour all kinds of foods, from a nutella like spread you eat for breakfast to ice cream. I also discovered that I am a famous dessert consisting of dulche du leche and almonds; aren´t I tasty! After our stop off we walked through Soho into Palermo Hollywood, so called because many Argentinean studios are based there, as well as many producers and actors. This area is very similar to Soho but it is more of a restaurant and bar district, rather than shopping.
That evening was the groups last night together so we went to a tango show is San Telmo. The show started with a Tango lesson which had everybody up and dancing. The steps to Tango are really simple; the problem comes when you try and put them all together! I don´t think I will be giving up the day job to become a tango instructor any time soon. The show was breathtaking. The dancers were spinning, lifting, twirling, it was all so fast and colourful and absolutely amazing. It was all in Spanish of course but the gist of the story was that three enemies came together through dance and fell in love with their partners, and then beat up the old man who serenaded the audiebce and then made up and danced some more, alas with only very basic language skills you are only granted a very basic story. After the show we headed back to Recoleta and ended up in an Irish bar, listening to British rock music, drinking Stella. It was such a change from the passion of Tango, athough after weeks spent drinking SKol and Caparinahs it was rather good fun!
The next day many fo my frineds went their separate ways which was a sad moment full of good byes. I decided to spend the rest of the day exploring uptown and headed up to the Congress building which is another absolutely amazing piece of architecture, wiht a domw like the white house and big colonial pillars that wound´t look out of place in Rome. As with most important buldings here it is surrounded by armed guards, pidgeons and tourists! I then headed down to the city cemetary which was a very special place. It has grown from a little graveyard to something of an Argentinean Highgate with huge monuments, graceful statues and famous deceased on every corner. I spent a good few hours just wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere and peering into the tombs where you can see the coffins (the main religion here is Catholicism so the dead are usually buried.). I even found Eva Peron´s grave. After the grave yard I wandered into the Catherdal to get away from the sun - and thank god! The cathedral was amazing. An exhibition had opened in the old back corridors used in the past as access to the pukpits and catacombs, where centuries old religious artifacts were diaplayed. Religion played such a huge role in the colonial times of the city and the artwork associated with the saints and Jesus in perticular is of such an incredible standard it really takes your breath away. That evening I met up with the remaing members of the group and we had a wander down Florida street and came across the guards changing the flag outside the Pink House! This was such a great find and we sat and watched as the took down the flag and fired loads of old muskets into the air and finally marched in a great procession through the gates and finally into the Pink House.
Today I took a wander to Florida Street again as there was noy much time before my flight and looked into the big Cathedral there. This was just as impressive as the one at the graveyard, and even more so as there was a service going on as the tourists admired the artwork! So now I am off to Peru where I plan to spend a good few days buried neck deep in history and culture before heading down through Chilie.
Until Next Time