Hey, everyone. After spending Monday through Friday of this week in Uruguay, we are back in Buenos Aires. I wrote a long post about our past week the other night, but the internet went down and it didn't post, so I'll try to remember everything to post now!
Last Thursday evening we did take the free tango lesson here at the hostel, although I was so busy dancing that the only photo I took was of Greg and Chris, our roommates, doing the tango. I think someone here took some photos of us, so I'll see if I can drum some up. I learned a few important things during the lesson: 1. I am terrible at the tango; 2. Ian isn't so hot at the tango himself (although he'd likely dispute this); 3. If you put two people together who are terrible at tangoing and tell them to tango, they'll probably wind up arguing. We definitely had words during the lesson, and we definitely weren't the only ones. So tango is apparently not our thing, but thankfully we were able to laugh the whole thing off after the lesson was over. On Thursday night, we decided to join some others from the hostel and check out some clubs since Buenos Aires is famous for its nightlife. So we were able to get in a bit of dancing on Thursday after all. :)
On Friday we took the subway and a train up to El Tigre, a small town on the river just north of Buenos Aires. Saturday we laid pretty low at the hostel, and on Sunday we walked around the corner to see the San Telmo antiques market, an open-air market with antiques vendors as well as craftsmen, food stands, street bands, etc. On Sunday night we went with a tour group to see a soccer game between Argentina Juniors and River Plate. We were told to go with a tour group because it was much safer that way, and I found myself wondering what could be so dangerous about a soccer game. But I'm definitely glad we did it that way. There were very few women in the stands (I'm sure it'd be a much more civilized experience were there more :) ) and the men were very rowdy. Lots of shouting, jumping around, singing, taunting the other team's fans. It seemed all in good fun, but apparently things get out of hand often enough to warrant riot police escorting the players onto and off of the field and lining up across the field after the game. The fans sit on opposing sides so they're not intermingled and the fans of the home team have to wait until all of the away team's fans have left the stadium and the area before their side's doors are opened to leave. We waited about 45 minutes after the game was finished before we could go! But it was a lot of fun and worth the experience, especially because Argentina Juniors, the home team, won a big upset over River Plate 2-0.
Early Monday morning we went down to the river and got on a ferry to cross to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, a small town on the coast. It's a town known for its historical sites, but since it's winter in South America and we went during the week, the town was pretty quiet. It was really nice to be out of the city for a while, though. We caught up on some much-needed sleep (that famous Buenos Aires nightlife can make for a loud hostel!), walked around to some of the historical sites, and saw a beautiful sunset. After the sunset on Tuesday evening, we decided to go out to dinner and get some parrilla, a type of South American barbecue that we were told we had to try. We wandered into a little family restaurant, sat down, and ordered the parrilla completa for two, their specialty. About twenty minutes later the waitress emerged with a huge plate of meat more suited for six people than for two. When she set it down between us, we realized that we didn't recognize any of the meat on the plate besides a few pieces of sausage so Ian asked the waitress to tell us what each cut was. My Spanish isn't fresh enough to remember the names of the internal organs, but based on where the waitress indicated on her own body, we realized that along with the ribs and the chorizo on the plate, we had kidneys, intestines, and a heart. When we got back to the hostel later and googled the Spanish that was on the menu, we found out there were also gizzards and blood sausage (made with blood and "filler"). We're both pretty adventurous eaters, so even after we (mostly) understood what was on the plate, we were undeterred. We decided we'd at least try everything, and try we did. But, alas, the texture and the idea of what we were eating proved to be too much for two people who eat little (me) to no (Ian) meat at home. We did try everything, but we were defeated and sent back three quarters of the meat untouched.
On Wednesday we left Colonia and headed for Punta del Este, a resort town further down Uruguay's coast. Punta del Este was even more empty than Colonia had been and most of the restaurants and businesses were closed for the season, but we made the best of it and spent most of our time walking around by the water Wednesday and Thursday and eating a very expensive pizza.
Yesterday we headed for Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, where we checked into yet another hostel and headed out to explore the city. After seeing some of the famous sites, we asked the people at the front desk of our hostel to recommend a restaurant with good seafood (after the parrilla, we agreed to forgo red meat for a while!) We headed out for an earlyish (and excellent) dinner and, on our walk back to the hostel, came the closest we have yet to being mugged. It was only 9:00 and, though the hostel worker had warned us not to walk in certain areas of the city after dark because they were dangerous for foreigners, we weren't really worried about oru short walk back to the hostel. But about a block before we got there, a group of young men spotted us and one of them called down the street to ask what time it was. Ian answered and we continued on our way but, thinking that they might have been asking to see whether or not we were foreign, Ian glanced behind us as we walked. One of the men was running up behind Ian on tiptoe, but luckily, when he realized he'd been caught, he backed off and turned around back to his friends.
All in all Uruguay was fun and interesting to see, but I'm happy to be back in Buenos Aires. Today we're headed to another market and I'm sure we'll find plenty more to do to fill our remaining four days. On Wednesday we'll fly back to Bogota just to spend the night, and Thursday back to the states.
Hope all is well with all of you at home!