Evita And Tango In Buenos Aires.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Where I stayed
Che Lagarto Hostel Buenos Aires
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Argentina  , Capital Federal District,
Friday, January 7, 2011

Buenos Aries bus station has 269 ticket sales booths.

We know this because we walked up and down them for three hours trying to work out who was going to sell us our tickets for the 20 hour journey to Iguassu Falls, for travel later the following week. Buses in Argentina are something else again. Choices abound, especially on the route to the falls. "Do you want to recline 70%, 90% or a full 100%, maybe you would like wine and champagne served to ease the stresses of the journey, or perhaps you would like vegetarian meals served?  Perhaps a game of bingo on the way?" These choices of course, are all in Spanish not English, and the difficulty of trying to communicate our wishes, on buying a ticket, means it is always an adventure to find out what service we did end up with.

Our last bus, coming from Salta to Buenos Aries, was a 20 hour journey, as this one will be, and we had 100% reclining seats that actually made up into proper beds, but although full food service was provided, the food was very mediocre, so we were hoping in our quest for tickets to get a premium service of food and wine.

We have booked our favorite bus seats  (1 & 2) as well and it makes a huge difference to the comfort of a long distance journey. Upstairs, (nearly all buses in Argentina are two story's) and right up front with the panoramic window in front of us and nobody to recline their seats back into our space, face?. Argentineans don't like these seats so much, as by law front seat bus passengers must wear seat belts. We don’t mind at all.

Booking our ferry tickets to Montevideo, in Uruguay was also an adventure. The ferry terminal is modern and when wanting to book you give your name to reception, then sit and look at huge flat screen monitors, until your name is called. See in the picture Signora Heather Davey is being called! 

Buenos Aries is a delightful city. Large treed avenues lined with stately buildings, cobblestone streets and well dressed and groomed locals. Taxis abound and are cheap to take and walking the streets is easy too as they are reasonably well signposted.

We had two major missions after settling in to our hostel, (1) get our laundry done and (2) find a camera repair shop.  The first was achieved in a Chinese laundry (literally!) across the road from the hostel. A metal locked gate across the doorway had a hole just big enough to pass a bundle of laundry to a happy cheerful Chinese man, who gave us a slip with a number and agreed on “Hoy” (today). Two hours later all the clothes we have except what we were wearing, were returned clean for the princely sum of $A3! The second mission proved much more difficult. Avan’s camera had stopped working on the way to Buenos Aries and we were sent from repair shop to repair shop, until finally we were told it would have to go back to the manufacturer and repairs could not be achieved in the short term.

While in Buenos Aries, our hostel had an Argentinean BBQ on one night for equivalent of $A5 each. We shared a hilarious and wonderful night with a Brazilian, a German, a Dane, and three Italians. Travel experiences were swapped and stories told. 

Buenos Aries is of course famous for Tango and Evita.

We indulged in both on our last day, visiting the Evita museum, monument, and mausoleum, and going to a Tango Bar for a meal and show.

Now places to go and see a Tango show abound for tourists. It is expensive but a “must do”. A friend of ours from Australia, Marie offered advice of a small authentic bar called Bar-Sur we could go to, for a much better experience than a mass produced touristy show. We found the location of the bar in daylight and there was a website for booking. We booked for 8.00pm, dinner and show, an extremely early time by Argentine standards but knowing we had an early ferry the next day to catch to Uruguay.

We arrived by taxi at the appointed hour but the doorman looked quite aghast. He looked at his booking sheet and confirmed our names then confirmed “DINNER and show” “Si” we said. "Come back at 8.30 pm" he said. So we went for a bit of a stroll, looked at the picture displays of famous people who had been to shows at Bar Sur (Liza Minnelli, Antony Banderis and more) then just hung out across the road. We saw a lovely young lady, of dancer physique, arrive and pound on the little stage door down the lane way.  She kept pounding but no one would let her in. She went to the front door and tried to get attention. Eventually a full ten minutes later she was in. Next a delivery scooter arrived, with a food hotbox strapped on the back. The delivery boy, nicely decked out in a crisp white shirt and black tailored pants, took in a parcel of food. “That’s our dinner arriving” I joked. Finally at 8.40pm a Japanese couple arrived and went through the door, so we figured it was finally time.

What a gorgeous, intimate and cozy setting to experience tango! Maximum seating was around 24. Chairs and tables were small and tightly squeezed together all facing what seemed an impossibly small black and white marble chequered floor space. With a flourish we were presented with a bar menu of high class and priced liquors. The doorman kept guard at the door, seemingly turning people away without a booking.

For the first two hours, just the Japanese couple and ourselves were entertained, firstly by a pianist and a base player, then a guitar player and culminating by two couples doing amazing Tango right in front of us. Our meal was served whilst we were being entertained. First course empanadas - little meat pastry pies sold out on the street  - yes we definitely think they arrived, and the rest of the meal, via the delivery boy! They were delicious anyway, regardless of how they arrived. Then a bowl of gnocchi with a meat sauce followed, and finally a bowl of ice-cream. But we had not come for the quality of the food – we came for the tango and the most amazing tango we saw!

A couple of girls from Venezuela arrived and were seated. Four from Brazil followed, then a group of four Belgium's were shown to the tiny space next to us. Next the dancers tried to get us up to learn, but we declined, happy for the others who had now arrived to the other tables, to have a go. (besides both with Bolivia Belly and Avan with his damaged knee was a bit of a dance hindrance). The dance style has amazingly fast kicks and moves and to be able to be just a few feet away watching was incredible.

It is now time to leave Buenos Aries. A ferry ride across the water to Uruguay is our next adventure, before back again to Buenos Aries in a few days to see what bus we DID actually book to Iguassu!.  

Travel Tip: If looking for a massage while in BA I can strongly recommend Essencia Spa, 857 Piedras Street in San Telmo Tel 4300-1273 Email info@essenciaspa.com.ar. The staff have virtually no English, but not a problem.

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