Jekyll and Hyde or what? Saw the cool side of the city yesterday, Thursday. Thought at one point it was seriously going the way of the pear though. As I was meandering up through the hurried streets which I´d been walking the night before (the binmen had clearly been WELL busy at 4am, not a bag in sight) towards the city centre, the pavements suddenly got dead busy and about a hundred metres up, the sound of drums and colourful flags waving. ¨Local colour, check that out why not¨ springs to mind so I start to quicken the pace, dodging through the crowds and readying my camera but not realising that everyone is walking the same way as me. And...stop. The people in front of me come to an abrupt halt, and one dude turns to shout back over his shoulder. He´s wearing a beanie, a bandana over his face so you could only see his eyes, and by his side he´s carrying a metal baton. The penny drops - I´m in the middle of a protest or demonstration or something, and this guy doesn´t want to be recognised as he´s going to use that baton for something he shouldn´t. We´ve stopped because we´ve reached the police line. Great. ¨Local colour my ass¨I think and exit, stage right. It could´ve been anything from gay rights to the price of nail clippers, but I thought better of it and got the hell out. Took some cool photos of some of the masked fellas; when I find a computer that was built after the Great War I´ll load em.
Jumped on a local bus after my time as an activist and headed to La Boca, the Camden of B.A. It´s a major tourist trap, but cool nevertheless. Colourful houses (tradition has it that the locals used to nick unwanted paint from passing frigates and use it up on their abodes) line the winding cobbled streets, and there´s music and street performers everywhere. The local speciality is live tango to entertain while you munch on lunch, so I kicked back on an outside table with a beer and watched the gyrations. It´s a sight, seeing it done properly, very passionate. And then before I know it the fit dancer has come over and taken my hand, led me to the stage and shown me a few moves in front of an adoring (chuckling) crowd. Poor girl - reckon her toes´ll be out of action for a few days.
After chatting with a Swiss couple for a bit (now that French lingo I can handle), headed up to the north of the city for eats. The buses are well simple to use, or least should be. Get on, go to the ticket machine behind the driver, and get your ticket. Easy. No. Get on, get off as it´s the wrong route. Ok, get on, go to the ticket machine. Put money in. Er, wait or turn knobby thing? Turn it. Damn. My ticket popped out at the bottom, but the turny thing wasn´t for getting the ticket, but rather for changing the paper for the tickets. Oh wonderful. To my disappointment the flap clattered open, the full paper roll tumbled out and hit me in the chest. I flapped at it like a performing seal - right hand, left hand, both together - but couldn´t catch the slippery little sucker. It hit the deck and went careering off down the bus. My numptiness was cemented with the ensuing sniggers and tuts from fellow bussers, and the fact the driver had to stop the bus and put the whole thing back together just added a certain class to the situation.
Nigh on half a kilo of pure Argentinian fillet washed down with a heavy red is a good meal in anyone´s book. But the nosh I had up in Palermo Soho was blinding. Never have I seen a steak so huge and so perfectly cooked - when it comes to dead cow, these boys know what they´re on about. Had a couple of beers in a local bar, chatted rubbish Spanish to the barman for a bit but then had to call it - this éating n drinking malarkey is exhausting.
There we are. Friday morning now, off to check out Uruguay on a ferry today. Loving this city and its energy; I´m told that Uruguay and especially Colonia del Sacramento, the town we´re sailing to, are way more laid back, so looking forward to having a wander and a chill. Laters x