Sleeping with twenty-one people, just another night in BA
Buenos Aires, Argentina
"No quiero a morir!"
A man screaming in his sleep woke himself yelping, "I don't want to die!" and, in this way we were welcomed to our 21-bed dorm in central Buenos Aires yesterday. Their website said 12 beds, but the staff don't seem to care that their webmaster is dyslexic. We put our stuff on the only free beds inconveniently opposite the pro-life sleeptalker. Massive paintings of distorted forlorn faces hung down from the double volume ceilings like theme-park mirrors reflecting our expressions at the prospect of sharing this space with enough people to fill a football pitch on match day dawned on us. No lockers here, just 19 potential thieves. Thank goodness Ashley recommended the pacsafe travel-safe (an anti-slash bag which can be locked around a bed post) as it has provided us with at least a little peace of mind.
After a luke-warm shower, we ventured out down Av. 9 de Julio, a multiple-lane through-way which bisects the city. The 'portenos' (locals) are very very proud of their famously phallic Obelisk and it takes pride of place in their Plaza de la Republica (sort of like Picadilly Circus with billboards and a McDonalds). But the thing is it is no different from the obelisk in London, Paris, Stockholm or Prague (even Petropolis had an obelisk). No more or less phallic, though no hieroglyphics on this one. Back in the olden days while on his Eurotrip the King of Egypt was dishing out these shards of stone to every wannabe-cultured European leader in exchange for board, lodging, a pack of gum, but I guess he didn't come down here because the Argentineans built it themselves so as not to feel left out.
We made pasta and sauce for dinner and Andrea cleaned up at table tennis.
Today, breakfast was delicious and we filled up to the brim, then headed out for more urban exploring. We walked to the pink palace, Casa Rosada, where Eva Peron addressed the masses and then on to an Evita 'museum of the people'. Evita stuff that citizens had found in their lofts and donated was bundled together and displayed, and a gifted historian put together a hand-out which loosely relates the stuff and formed it into an exhibition.
After a fruit snack for lunch we hit the swish Puerto Madero dockside district with its warehouse conversions and trendy restaurants. We ogled the grill and buffet selection at the 'parillas' through the windows with puppy dog eyes, drooling like Lady and the Tramp. The peach in our tummies evaporated instantly. We will certainly hit a steakhouse but it wasn't in today's budget.
All the parks in BA want to be facebook friends. They have little signs asking you to send the park a friend request. Imagine their status updates!
'Parque del Centenario is so over being the nation's toilet!'
On the other side of downtown is the Palacio del Congreso. A massive government building based on the Capitol building in Washington. I think that the snapshot they based it on was at a funny angle because it seems thinner than the original and the dome looks oval rather than circular.
Pasta and sauce for dinner again. (I've mastered the can-opener on the multi-tool) and then an evening spent on the internet trying to find a new hostel for the next few nights. Found one. Booked it. Ear plugs in. Good night.