Buenos Aires:Enter Crazy Drunk Parents to Big City
Trip Start Aug 09, 2007
47Trip End Jul 29, 2008
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Where I stayed
Grand Argentina Hotel
We checked into our hotel, booked a city tour and then had some time to burn so we headed to the leather district
We got back to the hotel and then got on a bus city tour of Buenos Aires. The city tour was pretty bad, the guide was not really knowledgeable of the city, even though she stated that every attraction was the most important to the city, then when asked why she didn't have a good explanation. We saw some key things like the Recoletta Cemetery where Evita is buried and other things around the city like the Government House (Casa Rosada), a giant metallic flower, the Boca Juniors stadium (BA´s major team), La Caminita (tourist walking mall) and the Obelisk.
That same night, yes it was an action packed day, we went to a Tango show called Señor Tango - it's a pretty cheesy name but the show was kick ass. The place where the show is, is pretty ritzy inside, reminds me of a 1920s restaurant with chandeliers, mood lighting and 3 levels of balconies. Everyone got dinner and unlimited drinks and then the show began. Before the show you could get your picture taken with 2 of the dancers, Sarah, Uwe and I all went on stage and got our photos. One weird thing was the woman dancer had a really solid body (looked like a body of a 25-30 yr old) but when you looked at her face she looked like she was mid 40s, I guess all the tango pros are older because it takes time to get good and it must keep your body in top form
The next day we decided to walk around a neighbour (Barrio) called La Boca. This is the same neighbourhood where the football team plays (Boca Jrs) and is probably still one of the poorest neighbourhoods is Buenos Aires. Interesting thing about the place is all the houses are painted all sorts of random bright colours, the reason for this is the area was so poor that the locals got left over paint from the boats in the harbour and then painted their houses with it, really neat to see
We left La Boca to get to a football game that afternoon. We went to a River Plate (CARP) game, River is one of the 5 football teams in Buenos Aires. To our luck we managed to get a game where they played another team from Buenos Aires (San Lorenzo). We were at the River stadium, so naturally cheered for River. In BA most people cheer for Boca Juniors and all the other teams in the city are not liked. Especially River they are in the north part of the city, a little bit wealthier and have more national titles than Boca Jr. So the game was nuts, River won 2-0, but the spectators about 1.5 hrs before the game string up all their cloth banners and sheets and what not on the stadium bleachers. One thing to note, there is no beer sold in the stadium and the visiting team fans are in their own area which is surrounded by chainlike fence and has razor wire at the top. While the River fans put up their banners so did the San Lorenzo fans, to shrill whistles and chanting
We went off the next day to a gaucho estancia (like a cowboy ranch) for us all to get a little fresh air, see some traditional dancing and gaucho games, and also for Uwe to have a place to wear his new gaucho clothes! We received more of a high-capacity tourist tour than what we initially thought we would, but it was still excellent. The only stress that caused was a shortage in horses for those wanting to ride, but no big deal (once the Asians stopped yelling at Uwe and me that is...). We actually received a much better city tour of Buenos Aires on the way out to the farm than when we originally had paid for exactly that, so that was a bonus. We also learned a lot more about the gaucho traditions and lifestyles which was interesting too
So, our day basically consisted of a short horse ride around the property, followed by a delicious parilla lunch with all the meat and wine we wanted. This was good in some ways - it was very entertaining for me to see Uwe and Patsy get good and drunk, very loud, and break into song along with the entertainment, but it was also bad in some ways - for example, it was bad for Nik who was sandwiched directly between Uwe and Patsy...muuuhaha Needless to say, it was a fun lunch!! They had dancers and singers on stage who danced the traditional Argentine dances and did a traditional Gaucho dance where they swing and hit these solid balls off the floor in a rhythm. Very entertaining, but not as entertaining as when they began singing traditional songs of all the tourist's countries. This got really good when it was China's song and the microphone was quickly swiped out of the singer's hand by one of the Chinese visitors...Better yet the song just kept going and going and going...it felt a lot like a karaoke bar at this point. Canada's was absolutely atrocious with `Alouetta` that was further butchered by the Canadian who jumped up to lead this song - literally, people in the room were crying - it was so terrible it was actually hilarious. After lunch we saw some traditional Gaucho games including the ring game where we saw three Gaucho`s holding a small stick gallop towards a goal post where three wedding rings were hung
The following day Marilou, Uwe and I went to Montevideo, Uruguay for the day. We left pretty early, around 8am to get on a high-speed catamaran to Montevideo. We got to the ferry terminal (Buquebus) arranged our tickets and then got on the boat. We were late to get on the ferry, so Uwe because he wanted to see out and not sit with the ¨riff-raff¨ got us upgraded tickets and then we climbed the stairs to the executive lounge and chilled out for the ferry ride. The ride was about 3hrs, when we arrived we took a bus tour of the city, which included lunch and everything. The tour ended at a shopping centre, but, we decided to head to the old port of the city since it was bypassed in the tour. Really neat old part of the city, we ate dinner then headed back to the ferry for the 3 hr, return trip across the river (Plate). It was a pretty long day, we didn´t get back till about 1:30am in the morning. Back to the hotel we took this wicked cab ride that took half the time it generally takes and was really fun, Marilou kept peeking from the back seat at the speedometer, we sped though narrow streets at about 80km/hr pretty fun end to the day. Uruguay was really nice especially Montevideo, clean and it has a fair bit of history as well, everyone is much more laid back than the folks in Buenos Aires and the garbage is still collected by horse drawn carriage
While Nik and family went off to Uruguay, Patsy and I spent some quality time together. We had a great sleep in and breakfast, hopped onto the metro system which cost us $0.90 each way (equivalent of about 30 cents) and took off to visit the Evita museum. This museum is in one of the homes that she converted to a shelter for homeless mothers. It was very interesting for me to learn more about such a prominent figure in Argentina`s history, if not South America`s. More so, it was quite inspiring to see the difference that one woman was able to make - and a legacy that she was able to leave - during a time when woman were still unable to vote. The museum followed her life from a child to her early death and featured video of the funeral procession she received (Buenos Aires was sold out of flowers for 3 weeks) as well as commentary from her sister reflecting on the beating Evita received when her body was stolen by the military. There was much more, but of course too much to relate here. After this, we walked around some beautiful Japanese gardens in the city and returned to the center where we treated to some of the best service we`ve ever received (our waiter was wonderful!) and some very delicious beer at this great cafe, close to our hotel. All in all a wonderful day.
So my parents last day in South America and also Buenos Aires
The following day Sarah, Patsy and I also took it easy. Didn ´t do too much - took the occasional nap. That night Sarah and I went out to dinner at this cheap hippie restaurant in Barrio Norte and to polish off the meal we chased it with an ice cream (naturally dulce de leche was involved).
We met up with our tour guide Carlos the next day who was to bring us on a walking tour of Plaza de Mayo, the historical heart of Buenos Aires. We first meandered over through a tango district in downtown BA where we checked the schedule for that evening...While Carlos and I were in the lobby waiting for Nik and Patsy in the bathroom, I decided it was far too hot to be wearing full pants so I was just unzipping my convertibles in the front lobby when the manager busts into the front room where he began acting all hot and bothered and freaking out about something and forcing me to stop unzipping my pant legs...Of course I thought this to be a joke as I am merely converting pants to shorts but he kept going off about this being a public establishment etc etc until we were basically pushed out the door...Very funny I thought, and a nice start to our day!
Well, after all this some coffee was in order for Patsy and I while we left Nik to chill in the hotel
It was nice that Saturday ended so well because it didn`t start that way...We had been receiving nothing but rain since our good weather charms (Nik`s parents) left on Wednesday and my dreams of seeing a real, live Pato game were fading with every drop. The official game of Argentina, Pato is a traditional Argentina game played on horseback (like Polo) where the riders essentially need to get a leather ball through a hoop (like basketball) on their end of the field. Inside this leather ball, traditionally, is a dead duck. Today, however, it is much more boring and is only a ball. Anyways, as game time approached on Saturday morning and I couldn't get through to the Club to confirm the game, we had to make our decision to just chance it or not, so we did. We hopped a cab knowing it wasn't close, but not knowing just how friggen` far this field was...!! Our cabbie was totally confused by our request to go to the middle of nowhere but obliged us and after a few toll-roads and a few directions from the neighbouring town and from the military base, we were there
Well, at least we could shop. So I did and I bought 3 shirts and a skirt for about $20. It was awesome. We all put on our finest that night and headed out to the lovely tango show and officially wrapped up our splendid time in the capital of Buenos Aires.
Chao, Suerte. Us.