Buenos Aires, Day 2

Trip Start Sep 08, 2008
Trip End Sep 17, 2008

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Plan A: Take the Buquebus to Colonia, Uruguay
Well, this turned out to be a complete and utter failure. After a quick breakfast at Havanna we took a cab to the Buquebus ferry terminal-less than five minutes from the hotel. We stood on a short line to buy our round-trip ferry tickets. Within five minutes we were told that they had ferries to Colonia, but all the return ferries were sold out. Seriously? In the middle of winter? It's a weekend getaway destination, who books a return on Saturday night? Apparently, everyone. Since we were flying to Sao Paulo the next morning we couldn't book a return for the next day...no matter how badly we wanted another stamp in the passport. After a very close encounter with a stray dog on a bench in the terminal we went back to the hotel to figure out our Plan B.

Plan B: A Tigre Boat Tour
Not gonna lie. The hotel had some slim pickins. All the tours to the estancias left early in the morning, so we had already missed those. Though, truth be told, I don't think we actually missed the cowboy shows that would have gone along with those tours. Figuring we probably couldn't spend a whole day shopping we opted for a half day tour which took us to the small town of Tigre and a short boat tour of the Parana river delta.

We didn't have very high expectations. At this point we were just hoping to make the best of our free afternoon. Still, I think the tour managed to underwhelm us. We took a bus to a train station a good twenty minutes outside of Buenos Aires. We had to run to catch the train which we rode for approximately five stops. When we got off our tour bus was there to greet us at the station. Not quite sure what the point of that was.
We had fifteen minutes to run around the train station and the tiny town square before we had to drive another fifteen minutes to our boat. Erin and I did manage to make it over to the San Isidro Cathedral and take a few photos before we had to get back on the bus.

Finally made it to the boat where we proceed to sit and wait. And sit, and wait. And sit, and wait. When all was said and done (well, actually no one ever said or did anything) 45 minutes went by before our tour actually left. Turns out the boat was waiting for one other tour group which was extremely late. Erin and I tried to amuse ourselves the best we could but the chances for the day to redeem itself were slowly slipping away.

The boat did eventually embark on our hour long tour of the delta and the islands. The small and interesting houses on the islands are what redeemed the tour-somewhat. It is kind of amazing to think that some people live on these small isolated islands that you can only reach by boat. In some ways it reminded me of Tortugero in Costa Rica. Price of one of these small houses: approx. $40,000! There were water taxis that shuttled up and down the length of the river to take people back to town. And I am not going to lie, some of the docks looked a little unsafe and I am not so sure I would trust them to support mine or anyone's body weight while waiting for a water taxi.
Definitely a completely different way of life.

I could mention the complimentary coffee and snacks they gave us...but I'd rather not. What I will mention is that we got to see a house enclosed in glass. It's now a museum.

We got back to the hotel around 7:00 and struggled long and hard with whether or not we should force ourselves to go to a tango show. (Well, hard, yes, we didn't really have time to think it over since all the shows started at 8). We knew the show would be expensive, and potentionally cheesey, but we knew we would never hear the end of it if we came home and people found out we didn't go see tango in Buenos Aires.

Twenty minutes later we were on our way to San Telmo to the La Vendata Gala Tango Show and dinner. Hey, if we were going, we were going all out.

After our driver picked up the people from our hotel he loaded us in to the van and proceeded to walk away...it was the boat tour all over again! Eventually he wandered back and we reached the venue in time. Everyone else in our van was sent downstairs and Erin and I were sent upstairs. We weren't quite sure what to think. The upstairs room was quite small. At first we thought we were shafted but we were told that it was actually the fancier show and that we had a special menu. The $80 cost of the dinner and show included a bottle of wine, so we knew we would make the best of our evening no matter what.

Upon reviewing the menu it was clear that we lucked out. Erin started with the warmed goat cheese and honey appetizer and went with the filet mignon for the main course. I had the salmon tartare and the Patagonia lamb. Of course there was dessert too. I couldn't tell you exactly what it was, but it was pretty.

The tango show itself was not as cheesey and touristy as I expected it to be. Sure, it had it's moments, but overall the dancing was very impressive. Most impressive would have to be Erin herself! At the end of the show one of the dancers invited her up on the stage to learn some of the moves. I was so impressed that she said yes! I can't say I would have been as brave.

The tango show was a great way to end our stay in Buenos Aires but I think the city had one more surprise in store for us that would ensure our memories of Buenos Aires were happy ones. But more on that in a moment...
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