The Cemetery, La Boca and Plaza de Mayo

Trip Start Feb 14, 2012
Trip End Mar 04, 2012

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Today we arrived at Buenos Aries, Argentina.  We took a city tour with stops at Recoleta Cemetery, Plaza de Mayo and the La Boca district.  The tour was delightful and our young guide was very knowledgeable and honest about various topics in Argentina's colorful history.  He shared with us many insights into Argentina's history, including several the younger generation wish were not part of their history.  He spoke of Eva Peron and her connection to the Nazis, the Falklands' invasion and the years of disappearing people.  The fallout from these issues continues, including the suspicion that the then president had something to due with the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in 1992, the on-going search for the decendants of the missing and the petitions from the families of Falkland war soldiers for their remains and financial support. 

Buenos Aries is located on the Rio de la Plata, a hugh estuary of the Rio Parana, which are both part of South America's third largest river system.  Buenos Aires, Fair Winds, began in 1536, but did not develop into a prominent city until centuries later.  Due to this late development, there are very few signs of the colonial days architecture that are found in other south American cities. Only a few of the buildings built before  the 19th century have survived.  Buenos Aries was developed as the Paris of South America and French architecture is still evident today.

Eleven million people live in the Buenos Aires metroplex and a third of these are in the the high-rise apartment buildings that fill up a major part of the city.  In general, the locals enjoy a more leisurely life style, complete with long meals usually of steak, long conversations over coffee and sporting events.  
The Recoleta Cemetery was our first stop and it was incredible.  Each family has a special building to house the family members,  Of course, family wealth is evident in the size and design of the monuments,  Decorative plaques, including Eva Peron's, denoting each individual buried inside, adorn the outside of the structures.  Especially outstanding is the full-size statue of a young bride and her dog.  She was killed in an avalanche while on her honeymoon and her dog in Argentina before the bride's body could be returned.  They are buried together in this incredible cemetery.  Today, anyone can be interred in the cemetery if space is available. There are rows and rows of ornate tombs and mausoleums, and the cemetery is often crowded with mourners paying tribute to their loved ones,  

The Playa de Mayo is at the 1580 location of the beginning of the city. The Casa Rosada and Cathedral is Argentina's administrative and religious center.  The Pink House is Buenos Aries' equivalent to Washington, D.C,'s White House.  It serves as the office of the president of the republic.  The color was created by mixing beef fat, blood and lime.  At noon there is a formal changing of the guards.  

We saw the ornate outside of one of the world's great opera house, the Colon Theatre.  The interior features gilded tiers and gallery boxes.  

No visit to Buenos Aires would be complete without a visit to the La Boca neighborhood,  This famous area is the home of the tango,  From this colorful area, the dance has grown into one of Argentina's most famous exports,  Tango is Argentina's most authentic form of music and dance. The myths that surround its origins add to the mystery of its true origins.  In 1917, Carlos Gandel recorded "My Sad Night" and tango became an instant favorite all over Latin America.  He is responsible for introducing the sensuous and lyrical words and music to the rest of the world. Tango shows, schools and competitions dominate the city.   

La Boca is famous for its colorful buildings and roof top statues.  We wandered the narrow streets and artist markets.  The shops pander to the tourist with clean restrooms, cold water and treats. Like tourist areas everywhere, there are lots of mementos to buy, plus delicious drinks and eats.

We travelled back to our ship via the wide 9 de Julio, the ten lane major thoroughfare which reminds visitors of the the Champs Elysee.   We passed through many upscale neighborhoods, and were introduced to the areas where the local residents live and play.  Parks were plentiful and restaurants and coffee houses abound.



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