As we arrived to our airport of 3 gates, I took a deep breath and exhaled with exhaustion. The past 3 days have been bursting at the seams with activity.
On day 2, we spent the morning sleeping off the previous night. When you arrive from the clubs at 6a the next morning, the days seemingly melt together. The plan for the day was to venture to Recoleta, a barrio within Buenos Aires. Recoleta is best known for its famous cemetery in which each tomb is a shrine for the deceased; they are made of marble and stone, accented with ornate statues and artwork. In many cases, these tombs contain entire families and act as not only a place of burial, but also a place of prayer. From what I could gather, the entry floor provides a place to pay your respects while a narrow staircase leads to a basement cellar in which the caskests reside. Normally, I’m not one for churches and historical sites but you can’t deny how impressive these omages to the dead are; displays of love and affection while also proclaiming their status in society.
After wandering the lonely streets of the dead, we made our way to La Flor. La Flor resides in a city park and can only be compared to The Bean in Chicago. Six silvery metal petals reflect the city skyline as they curve up around the center of this artistic flower. After admiring the work of art and cooling off under a park shower, we set out for the south side of the city. There we found an extraordinary collection of books in what was once an opera house. Books lined the space which once housed hundreds. The balconies were no longer for a place for the wealthy but travel and sci-fi books. Rather than thesbeians and scenery, the stage housed a cafe in which you could chat with friends and sip on cafe con leche.
When we arrived back at the hostel, we settled into our ritual nap, as this is necessary if you want keep up with the locals at night! Later that evening we decided to head to Avenida de Florida, known for its many stores and street vendors. It was clearly past the peak hours but many still remained in the streets, from street vendors selling trinkets to tourists, to artists, to a break dance crew encompassed by an audience. After a few blocks of walking, we stopped at the first parrilla in sight for dinner. The choices were simple: meat or meat? The steaks in Argentina are savory and succulent, so tender they can often be cut with a spoon! This meal, we decided to get a little adventurous and try a meat platter, complete with blood sausage and sweetbread… Whatever that is. Let’s just say… It was interesting… After a few bottles of wine and a great meal, it was time to reconvene at the hostel and head out to the club.
We shared a cab with a few cute Aussies to a bar called Esperanto. The scene was much more mellow than the previous night, but nonetheless lively. While chatting with a few friends and sipping on a beer, a cute, curvy Argentinian girl grabbed my hand and yanked me onto the dance floor; shy, they are not! We spent the rest of the night on the narrow, sweaty dance floor until early in the morning. After a few hours, we decided we wanted to check out another bar in the popular barrio of Palermo. We popped in to the next place we saw that seemed interesting only to be greeted by a swift pat-down by a security guard. Slightly confused, we entered the bar and grabbed a beer. There wasn’t much to the bar other than a stairway to the level above, a few guys sitting around drinking and a table of women wearing not so flattering clothing… I think it was a brothel… After being approached by one of the women from the table, we decided it was time to leave!
Our third day in BA was spent accomplishing some much needed planning and running of errands. Three hours and 2200 pesos later we had the travel arrangements for the remaining week completed. For the remainder of the day we decided to just wing-it and wander the barrio of Palermo. On the way, I picked up some minutes for my unlocked iPhone; this will undoubtedly be of value when I’m on my own!
Palermo was by far my favorite neighborhood yet. Quaint, quiet, and clean until the evening when the many bars, restaurants, and clubs come to life. Here we wandered the streets, checked out the shops and enjoyed a few beers.
Our first night in BA I was invited to dance with a gorgeous Argentinian girl. Given I have vey limited cellular access, I was was forced to succumb to means I thought I never would; Facebook. Never did I think I’d become so dependent on the popular social site, but here I am using it as my main form of communication. Fortunately, Argentina is more wired than any city I’ve seen in the states; every restaurant, cafe, and shop seems to have WiFi. Thus each meal, beer, or coffee offers a chance to sync up. That night the Argentinian and her friends invited us over for a few drinks before we headed out to the clubs.
After returning home and showering, we determined we’d have to forfeit our ritual nap if we wanted to get to dinner at a decent hour, which is like 10p in “Argentinian time.” Decidedly, Palermo was our destination for dinner where we feasted on an amazing steak dinner at La Cabrera. Though a bit touristy, it was amazing!
Conveniently, the Argentinians lived only a few blocks away in Palermo. To our surprise, we arrived at the 15th floor of one of the few high rises in the area. There we sipped a mixture of champagne and the equivalent of red bull while over looking the city and conversing in Spanish and English, to accommodate varying skill levels.
The remainder of the night proceeded as usual. Dancing to once, popular American hits, sipping champagne, cervezas, and more dancing.
The next day, Iguazu Falls!…