Alone in Buenos Aires

Trip Start May 18, 2007
Trip End Jul 28, 2007

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Friday, July 20, 2007

As you may have noticed, I've been doing a lot of writing lately. In fact, since I've gotten to BA, I've spent more time in various "Locutorios", or call centers with Internet access, than anywhere else.

A bit sad really -- I'm only here for a few days, and I'm obsessed writing this blog...! Well, it's still time well-spent, as I enjoy writing, and I have definitely enjoyed reminiscing about Bolivia. It's given me an opportunity to slowly re-live it, and has forced me to remember views and images that would have otherwise been relegated to the back of my brain forever.

The other factor is that I'm alone :-(  Buenos Aires is a great city: lots to see and do, easy to walk around, safe, busy, and pretty fun. But after two months being with various groups, I seem to have forgotten how to keep myself entertained in a foreign city!

The fact that the accent of Porteños (inhabitants of BA) is so different as to make them difficult to understand is also making me a bit sad. As soon as they see me hesitate, they switch to English! I have to explain that I can understand if they speak slower, and that my Spanish is actually decent, after two months in Peru and Bolivia, and they might switch back to Spanish. In some cases, I haven't bothered...

I went yesterday to the Plaza de Mayo -- home of the famous Casa Rosa, or Pink House, from where Evita Perón used to give rousing speeches from the balcony. It is also where, every Thursday at 3pm, for the last 30 years, a group of mothers (and now grandmothers) have marched to remember, and request information, on the "desparecidos". The "disappeared people" were those taken away by the military dictatorship of the late 70's and 80's, and most often, were never heard from again... A very very sad episode of Argentina's history, which I studied way back in school 20 years ago. I saw the group marching yesterday. I have to say I found it very moving...

I walked around some more, mainly in the Microcentro area, and up to Ave. 9 de Julio. BA does in many ways remind me of Paris, and of Madrid - but even more so, some of its streets remind me of New York, perhaps a bit less "intense". It is very cool - and would be even more fun with friends here! What are you all doing this weekend? Anyone want to join me in BA? :-)

Last night, for the FIFA U-20 soccer/football tournament taking place in Canada right now, I went to a resto-bar next to my hotel to watch the Argentine-Chile semi-finals. I don't know much about soccer, but it was kind of fun to watch this match here in BA! People were a bit excited (not too much - just the semi's...), and the atmosphere was great. The steak was pretty good too!

One thing I should mention about BA: there is some AMAZING shopping to be done, and it's cheaper than home...

I've booked my trip to Iguazu Falls - I leave Sunday night by "bed bus", and will return to BA Thursday during the day. I'm really excited about the Falls, and think it will be an amazing way to close off my trip.

I tried this morning to change my flight, in order to fly out of BA to Toronto (via a stop in Santiago), but for a difference of $500 (!), it's just not worth it. So Thursday night, I'll fly back to Lima, spend 24 hours there, then fly out from Lima to Toronto. A bit of a hassle, and some unnecessary expenses, but it will allow me to bid farewell to Perú, my "first love" in this journey...

I probably won't write again for a while - my fingers need a break! There is a real risk that my farewell to Perú will be spent in front of a computer in Miraflores again next Friday, waiting to head to the airport, so that I can put in an entry for Iguazu Falls. Stay tuned, and expect good pictures! I'll make sure to put in a new roll of film... ;-)
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