Tango, Steak & La Boca

Trip Start Aug 08, 2007
Trip End Sep 01, 2009

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Flag of Argentina  , Capital Federal District,
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

After yet another overnight bus journey I landed in Buenos Aires, capital city of Argentina and in my opinion a truly iconic world city.  By the time we arrived there wasn't much to do except first of all awe at the size of the main street, the Avenue 9 Julio, which is massive with about 12 lanes and I read on a postcard that it was the widest in the world.  Then we got some food with Luke and Natalie the Aussie couple we'd first met in Santiago, and then we went on an organised pub crawl around the San Telmo area of the city, which not surprisingly involved lots of alcohol.  Before I arrived here a mate from back home told me that getting home at 5am in Buenos Aires was considered early, so I took good notice of this and got home at 1.30pm the following day.  I had a good night and the interesting stories from which I'll save till I'm back home.  

The Saturday was a major hangover day and sleeping day, which probably for the best as Sunday was going to be a big day.  We'd managed to get tickets to Boca Juniors versus River Plate, the biggest football game in Argentina if not the whole of South America, and a game that was featured on TV back home as one of the most violent derbies in the world.  We'd arranged our tickets through our hostel so they put on a coach to get us and the 40 other lucky ticket holders to the game - the hostel had sold over 300 tickets in total but the company they got some from went bust and did a runner, which was a bit cak for those who missed out.  On getting of the coach we were met by hundreds of Boca fans all stood around in complete silence.  I really don't know what that was all about but it was incredibly eerie and probably more scary than if then they were making a violent racket towards us gringo´s which was what I was expecting.  We walked through this wall of silence and then into the ground and then to our seats in what has to be the steepest stand I've ever experienced.  We had really good views though and it wasn't long before the noise started in the Boca and River ends. 

By kick off the noise was immense with chants and drums, flares blazing away, streamers and ticker tape flying everywhere - it was truly awesome to experience.  And when the fans jump up and down during the game the stand does truly rock, I was amazed the stand hasn't collapsed yet.  And to give you an idea of the intensity of the occasion, when the River players took corners in front of the main Boca end, they had to be shielded by riot police so they could take the corner without being hit from the stands.  Boca won the game 1-0 but it wasn't really about the result, it was the experience of being in a crowd that was immensely passionate about their team.  I have some great video footage which I'll share when I get back home.  After the game the bus headed back to the hostel via the not so nice areas of Boca where a small girl of about 10 hurled a rock at our coach.  Back in the centre we then went to San Telmos again with Luke and Nat and had the most awesome steak served by an absolute giant of a waiter that Luke kept calling Andre.  Argentinian steak is famed for its quality and this was really awesome and definitely best I´ve ever tasted.

On the Monday I did my first proper bit of sightseeing and headed back to the La Boca area and to the more touristic areas.  Here there are a few streets with very colorful houses and plenty of restaurants, many with tango shows.  We had a beer and a few empenandas at one of them and got invited up to pose, and look very silly,  with the very attractive tango dancer.  After that I caught a few more of the famous sights including the pink palace made famous by Evita Perons address to the Argentinian people, and a few of the many plazas and statues around Buenos Aires.  The following day we headed out to Uruguay but we´d be back to BA once again.

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