Death, Tango and Alfajores

Posted on March 8, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Ah ha! Another post within the week? We are behind the times (and the countries) with our posting, but we have to blame our tools (like any good workman would). It's been hard in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil to find secure places to upload photos. Such are the horrendous difficulties of travel ;->.
On to Argentina! At this latter stage of our travel, on a continent neither of us know, our planning and scheduling has become fast and loose. When we arrived in Buenos Aires (or Bs. As. to the locals; BA to you and me) we had accommodation booked for 5 nights in town, and only a vague plan of what to do next. Rachel's folks had given us a Christmas present of some money for a nice place to lay our heads in South America, figuring rightly that we'd need it around now. Hostels and hotels in BA are expensive, and patchy in service (in our budget range anyway), but we found the glorious Dazzler Suite Apartments. We were even upgraded and so had a large comfy sofa, a huge TV, a kitchennette and two aircon units. Blissful.

PICTURE

We spent more than our usual amount of time here, away from the bustle of BA's streets where the water falls from other people's aircons onto the sidewalk (or your head). We relaxed, cooked food and watched cable TV in English (gasp!). So what? The subtitles were in Spanish, and anyway it was great to recuperate a bit from the travelling.

BA is, in itself a huge, sprawling, fascinating city. When we weren't at the apartments, we were out exploring the nearby plaza San Martín (the same San Martín with a plaza in Lima), including the beautiful building which houses the foreign ministry.

The day after having he the hottest meal of my life (no fans, no a/c, enormous pizza ovens and the door to the street 50 meters away..amazing food though), we walked down the long pedestrian street Avenida Florida. It iss immense, stretches forever and is the city's 5th Ave/Oxford Street. On one intersection we spied the , an intensely top-end shopping center, with a spectacular central atrium.

A few blocks East is BA's new expensive docklands area, inspired by the same areas of London and Hamburg. The old port has had a massive facelift, which is ironic since it was orginally built by British merchants in the first place. Massive restaurants and extortionate peso per square meter apartments fill the barrio, but there are two other interesting features. One is the huge central dock, which is now split by bridges. Here is the most famous, Puente de la Mujer (which can swivel 90 degrees to allow boats through):

There is also the crazy 4 stop only tram which runs the length of the old docks. It seems almost entirely pointless, but I'm assured that they are expanding it to meet other forms of transport both north and south. Just know if you end up on it that there is only ever one tram on the line, so you might end up going to the end and back again before finding your stop.

One of the famous sights of the city is the cemetary of Recoleta, an enclosed block-size, marble and statue filled burial ground for the city's elite. Along with Eva Peron (Evita to those that loved her) and many Argentine presidents, there is an Irish priest, Father Fahy. He clearly did some good things:

Look at the size of it!

The place is bizarre, and left us with an odd feeling. Although many of the tombs are beautiful, some were clearly in a bad state. From overhearing a French -speaking tour guide, we learned this is because the families are responsible for the tomb's upkeep. If a family dies out, moves away or becomes less affluent, the tombs fall into disrepair. Evita's is obviously the main draw, but its actually a simple affair (the plot is her brother in law's) swamped by tourists and quite underwhelming.

Elsewhere in Recoleta (which is also a neighbourhood), we found a gothic Engineering Department and the impressive Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. The museo is filled with modern art from Argentine artists, sprinkled with other works from foreign artists and is stuffed to the gills with Rodin.

 
On our last night in town we met up with Fernando, a friend of my dad's and the most British non-Brit that Rachel has ever met (and with an English accent to match!). He took us for drinks in Belgrano (his neighbourhood), and we had excellent Bife de Chorizo (an Argentine cut of beef steak that has nothing to do with blood sausage) in a local parilla LINK which he kindly paid for  After giving us the low down on some Buenos Aires history, guns and writing crime fiction, he dropped us off at our apartment and wished us luck for the next section of our journey to Rosario.
 

 
Until next time,
 
James

Posted via email from dreadpiratesarcas

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