Buenos Aires

Over night buses are the worst in the world! Hubs can (and does) sleep on them really well, I just can’t. Even though we had a full bed on the bus that lies down flat, I still had a crap night’s sleep and felt absolutely shattered when we got to Buenos Aires.  To make matters worse, we arrived at 7.30am and couldn’t check into our apartment until 10am.  Urgh!

We found a cafe a few doors up from what was to be our new home and basically just sat there for a couple of hours, then decided to go for a walk.  We left our luggage at a hotel next door to our apartment entrance and spent about an hour walking around.  Then I was well and truly stuffed – so tired.

Carlos, our oriental / Argentinean land lord met us and it took almost two hours to get all the paperwork done for our month long stay.  Hubs booked the apartment but would not sign the contract in Spanish, instead asking for an English version.  Fair enough.  The agent had an English contract but not with him.  Sigh. Annoying.  Anyways, we got it all sorted and then Hubs and I spent the day getting our shit together – grocery shopping, etc.  It was so nice to have a home – no more buses, no more moving, no more packing, no more rushing around sightseeing…

The day after we arrived it was Hub’s birthday.  I bought her a book by an author she really likes, a jar of Dulce de Lecce (sweetened condensed milk like caramel that the Argie shave on everything from toast to desserts), and a couple of cakes / chocolates.  I also bought her dinner in a private closed door restaurant.

Yes, in BA, there is quite a big underground dining scene, where you go and have dinner at someone’s house.  Raquel who we met in Cordoba told me about this, so I googled it and was surprised by how many places there are!  I chose Casa Salt Shaker – because Raquel was going to be there and it sounded good.

We had dinner in Dan’s apartment in Recoletta with two Russian tango dancers (living in LA) in BA to perfect their technique at tango school, Raquel and her two Spanish friends, American couple from the Bahamas (boring), a gay couple from NYC, and a single NYC woman. It was fun. The theme of the dinner was chocolate, so every dish had chocolate in it.  They cheated a little bit – making pastry with coca butter to me does not constitute chocolate! Still, it was a fun night and something different!

Mum and Dad arrived three days after we arrived and were staying with us for four nights.  They have just finished their South American trip and came to stay with me for a few days before heading back to Australia.  It was great hanging out with them. Because Hubs likes her own room and because our apartment wasn’t’ huge, she moved our to the hotel next door for four nights while mum and dad moved into her room.

We went to Palermo for lunch and shopping, and along the marina for a disappointing Italian lunch one day.  When Mum and Dad were in Buenos Aires with their tour, they stayed in a hotel walking distance from our apartment and ate at a great Italian restaurant near there. Dad was being all sooky – ‘oh i don’t want to go far for dinner, just get something local’ – the problem was we were staying in the heart of the city and tourist area.  So all the places to eat were likely to be tourist traps and rubbish – and I hate eating rubbish! I’d rather be hungry!

Off we walked then towards Filo, and admittedly I was a little sceptical.  As it turned out, I had the best pizza I’ve had in South America and mum and dad really enjoyed their meals too.  The cute waitress was very friendly and sweet, trying hard to understand us and speak English to us.  Hubs and I dubbed Filo our local and we ended up eating four or five meals there!  Each one of mine was pizza!

We went shopping quite a bit and helped mum choose herself a leather jacket – so nice – and dad some shoes.  Hubs even took dad for a gamble at the casino when mum and I went shopping one day!  They both had a ball and walked out more or less even. It was so nice to spend time with mum and dad.  Wish we could do it more often.

I had such grand plans for my time in Buenos Aires – Spanish lessons, tango lessons…did nothing.  Hubs and I literally spent one month doing nothing but hanging out, sleeping late, and basically doing whatever we wanted.

After mum and dad left I did join a gym for a month and went most days. If I didn’t gym it, then usually I did a lot of walking or cycling. There are two different city cycling tours you can do in BA – one to Palermo and Recoletta, and the other to San Telmo and La Boca – we did both tours and both of them were really nice afternoons out.

Hubba discovered the Black Eyed Peas were playing in BA while we were there – so we put our heads together and booked tickets online (in Spanish). – in the end Hubs figured it all out and booked us two tickets!  We opted for VIP tickets for A$130 each – still cheap to go to a concert.

The Black Eyed Peas rocked! The whole process of attending that event was easy.  We found the ticket pick up place easily and they had our tickets waiting for us.   There was no queue to get into the concert, just walked straight in.  The only negative is that we had to queue for ages for an average big-event type hamburger and a drink and the Peas were on late.  They had this very lame Australian DJ mixing tunes that were not turning on the crowd – until he played ‘no parlo americano’ then the crowd went nuts. So he played it twice and looked like more of a knob.

The concert was so much fun! We were less than 10 metres from Furgie and Will Am I on stage and only two or three rows from the front – yes, in the mosh pit!  It was great and the music was awesome.  Hubs and I listened to the Peas on her iPod with my iPod speaker for about two weeks straight!  Great night.

The night after the Peas was a tango show.  Mum and Dad recommended this show to us saying the dancing and the dinner were both very good.  Unfortunately we were sat on long tables, squished between Ma and Pa Queeeeensland, and some German old couple I made no effort to speak with.  The tango dancing was good and so was dinner – nice steak.  The singing in the tango show was not so great and I found myself getting a bit bored.  I think because we were on such a rocking high from the Peas that everything else just paled in comparison.

Our Swiss friends we met in La Paz on the Death Road bike ride were meeting us in Buenos Aires and we spent some time with them – hanging out at markets, going to dinner, etc.  Christina and Manu are great fun, and Manu has an Argentinean friend in BA, the lovely Sandra Ros who looks late thirties, but is actually 47!  She looks amazing!  Manu wasn’t in BA for long before heading back to Switzerland, but another of Christina’s friends joined our possie – Mariana.  It was fun to hang out with some friends for a week.

I shopped by little heart out in BA – 8 pairs of shoes, 4 leather jackets (only one for me!), 3 leather bags, 12 belts, 4 trousers, two dresses, two jackets, 6 t shirts, etc etc.  I also bought a new suitcase to fit it all in! I wanted to buy so much more including things for the house, but it just was not possible.

The 18 Nov was the worldwide release of Harry Potter 7 and Hubs and I went and saw it the day it came out. It was great!  But it’s only the first half of the last book, so the film finished mid-story which was hard to swallow.  Still very entertaining – Hubs went back and saw it again!

BA is a city that reminds me of Melbourne.  Some really green leafy areas with beautiful houses / buildings / shops, the mad city centre with pedestrianised shopping streets and theatres everywhere (the area we lived in – Centro). The neighbourhoods of BA are like this:

Recoletta = South Yarra

Palermo = St Kilda without the beach

San Telmo is the oldest neighbourhood and area with colonial architecture

La Boca:  and old Carlton, where all the Italians used to live.  They worked painting ships in the harbour, so when they finished the ships, they would use the left over paint to paint their corrugated iron houses.  La Boca as an area is really colourful.  But dangerous at night, so we never ventured there after dark.

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