in Buenos Aires and loving it ....
Well the big day had arrived. It´s December the 20th and not only had we just set foot in our hostel for christmas but Aberdeen were playing a crunch tie with Copenhagen. I could only hope they didn't fall at the last hurdle like Scotland had 6 weeks ago. As it turned out Aberdeen "thumped" them 4-0. Or, at least, those were the words used in the local press here the next day. I had thought that they would have reserved that for the likes of Boca Juniors or Argentina, not Aberdeen!!
Anyway, Bs As as we were to find out is a magical city, unlike almost anywhere we have been. Rodrigo's grandmother, amongst many, had warned us of the dangers of some area's but we're fairly sensible these days and so long as you don't venture into certain places you are fine.
The main city is split into several area's all of which we have now visited; Boca, Palermo, San Telmo, Recoleta, Micoro Centre and Puerto Moderno.
Boca is wonderfully colourful. Initially I think many of the area's were painted to cover the fact that it was very poor and basically not very nice. The area is probably the most dangerous and I guess this was highlighted with the policemen at the end of some streets advising us not to go down them. There, however, lies a superb market, outdoor restaurants with Tango in the street, and the Bombonera aka the chocolate box aka where Boca Juniors play their home games. Sadly the football season is over but we still managed a stadium tour and a good look about in the museum. You really would never tire of watching the Diego video´s on show there.
Palermo is the towns posh area. We've been down a few times now as there is plenty to see and do. Shopping, albeit that's massively restricted with a back pack, restaurants, clubbing, the zoo, the religious theme park (almost worth an entry on it's own but I really wouldn't know if it was right to laugh or cry), the botanical gardens, the race course and the polo fields. By all accounts folks moved here when yellow fever hit San Telmo, which in my opinion is far nicer to hang out in albeit it does not have as many "sights".
Recoleta is famous for little other than the grave yard full of tombstones as far as I can see. We went one day and it was literally full of thousands of tourists all in search of Evita's tomb. Of course we went and grabbed a few pictures but it all seemed a little morbid to me and I don't see the attraction in the slightest. I'm probably being harsh but what's new!!
The Micro Centre is where the shopping lies along with many of the cities more famous statue's. Of course we've been to see them all but it's a bit like a maze at first. Annoyingly no matter where you go you always seem to be facing the Obilix. Been reasonably lost countless times but now after 10 days here I think I have finally got my bearings. It's fair to say I've bailed out and got a taxi once or twice though.
Puerto Moderno is fairly similar to places in many towns in the UK where they have improved the area along the water front to attract tourism. It's really nice down there. Sadly we went down one day to go to the ecological reservation near it but there had been a large fire and hence it was closed for a while. On the plus side we met around 100 odd clowns there another day which was quite a sight. They were all doctors, nurses and surgeons at local hospitals trying to raise awareness
San Temlo is the area we are staying in. We booked our accommodation here months before leaving the UK to make sure we got exactly what we wanted for our time here. Christmas and New Year is no time for smelly dorms. Our first port of call was the Tango Inn. This has probably been one of the better hostels. A great room, a superb bar with pool table, and some really nice fellow travellers and staff. Of course it's the festive season so it's always going to be a party time. I'm actually pretty pleased with our efforts given the time of year. We could easily have slipped into the party mode and missed everything the town has to offer. Instead we've managed both. Not sure how sometimes but we've got the best of everything so far.
Christmas was destined for pasta and salad until the last minute. On christmas eve Ali found a flier for a traditional knee's up so we called and sure enough they managed to make space for us. A great day and, not unusually, we bumped into some guys we had met in Brazil near the start of our travels. As usual christmas day was a little more then merry. Helped out by the owner of the place who plonked 3 bottles of champagne on our table gratis at the end of the night. I would bet my bottom dollar he is still trying to work out how he didn't make a profit that day. Never seen someone try to run a restaurant quite so merry and at hand with free booze. Still, we're not one to know it, just quaff it. It proved a real long day for me however as the night before we were invited to a party. Parties here never tend to wind down. Ali retired but before I knew it I was in a taxi with 3 others on the way to a club. Little did I know the club for 45 odd kilometers away! Around an hour later the taxi driver pulled in. We'd had to stop about 6 or 7 times for directions, hardly a confidence booster. Anyway, the club was superb, almost like an outdoor festival. It soon became apparent that if you weren't from Bs As you really didn't go to this place. A few folk told me so but rather than make me feel unwelcome they just said I was brave/mad/mental and took us in with open arms. A big thankyou to Dr Agua whoever the hell you are. We danced around till 8am then decided it was time to head home as we needed some sleep pre lunch and the long day ahead. The club itself went on till 8pm, a real proper 16 hour club. I think I would have made it through but I guess I will never know.
Of course in Bs As the big thing is Tango so we sourced the shows and worked out what we wanted to see. Fortunately San Telmo is the area for Tango and we struck out lucky with a deal at the hostel where the best show had a half price offer for Sunday night. Pre show we got a champagne reception followed by one of the best 3 course meals I have had yet. The Tango itself was very very good but I will be bold and say Tango Fire at the Edinburgh Festival was better. Nonetheless the night was fantastic and anyone in Bs As would be crazy to miss out.
Talking of things not to miss, the food here is phenominal. We've been for countless steaks. Sometimes they hang off both ends of the plate, sometimes they don't. The one consistent thing is quality. It's amazing that you can get the best part of a kilo of meat in a restaurant for 3 or 4 quid. Last night we even managed to get a curry and beer. Great I thought. The reality was my pakora sauce was hotter than my vindaloo. :-( Still, it tasted nice, think they just forgot the chilli's!!
Well today is 31st December. It's all very quiet here at the moment. I can only assume people are in bed resting up for what is sure to be quite a carnival tonight. We found a superb local restaurant that we have booked for a meal. I took away the menu so I can actually make sure I get exactly what I want!! First glance tells me it's duck, prawns or steak for main course, and it's definately free wine all night so it's looking good at the moment. Needless to say there is a party in the hostel which will run all night long but there is also the option of heading to a club circa 2 or 3. I think that's the plan but as with much of the trip so far the plan often goes out the window.
Wherever you guys are I hope by the time you read this you've had a great new year and it brings you everything you desire.