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Published: August 10th 2010
Before I get to reminiscing about an amazing city by the name of Buenos Aires, I first wanted to say how pleasant my return home has been. Aside from taking showers that I actually feel clean after exiting and eating lots and lots of fresh vegetables, it has been so rewarding talking to some of you loyal readers who have expressed your enjoyment in reading the blog. Numerous times now I've spoken to people who I haven't seen in months who offhandedly mention some of my crazy stories from down south ("coffee with legs" came up a lot, hmmm). So cool. It really makes this worthwhile. One other noteworthy bit of news and a great welcome home, I've been offered a job teaching 7th grade in Santa Cruz and will be accepting the position today. With that being said, lets get on to the "Paris of the South", Buenos Aires.
First off, please check out the panorama shot above which captures a glimpse of the street art of Buenos Aires. I got a camera for this trip that takes AMAZING
panoramas but haven't been able to post them until now. I also posted them to all my previous
blogs so please go back and check 'em out if you have time. I promise it'll be worth it.
So, Buenos Aires. I feel incredibly spoiled saying this, but it was actually my second time in Buenos Aires and I felt like a seasoned vet. Since it was Kayce's first time, I did my best to play tour guide as I gave my best recollection of the history behind the monuments, the layout of the city and the culture which really is one of a kind.
Located on the River Plata, Buenos Aires is a city of proud European immigrants. Most hail from Spain and Italy and when walking around you may just feel that you are in Milan or Barcelona...not South America. Everyone from taxi drivers to businessmen/women are superbly dressed in slacks, leather, boots, cashmere, etc. As a backpacker who had trekked from the jungles of Central America and over the Andes, I felt superbly underdressed.
Our first endeavor in BA was to check out the infamous La Boca neighborhood. Poor, dodgy, colorful and rich with history, La Boca ("the mouth") is located in the port area of Buenos Aires. While it is most famous
today for having arguably the best soccer club in all of the Americas, Boca Juniors, in the early 1800s the neighborhood was made up of many wealthy citizens and was a rather desirable place to live. However, in 1867 a Yellow Fever outbreak caused the wealthy to flee, leaving behind a port neighborhood which was overcrowded, diseased and desperate. As low-wage workers of the port poured into this neighborhood, so did the brothels. Because competition was fierce in the brothel industry, the owners employed musicians. And these musicians fused various types of music from Spain and Italy and from music they heard from slave trading. Thus paving the way for the beginning of what we know now today as Tango. As you'll see in my pictures of La Boca, tango on the streets today is touristy, but none the less very common and a delight to watch. As for an explanation for the rainbow of colors on the buildings, this is a result of all the old paint used to paint the ships being used second-hand to paint the homes.
Continuing with our whirlwind tour of BA, we splurged on an evening of tango. This consisted of lessons, a
phenomenal dinner paired with bottomless malbec wine and a live show. Easily my favorite part of the evening was the show which was accompanied by live music from the balcony and a lead singer who must have stepped right off of Broadway. Gray hair, chiseled face and a deep baritone voice gave this guy the goods.
In addition to lots of walking around sightseeing, we of course had to do some shopping. Given that its Argentina, leather was the focus and boy did we see some. Boots, purses, pants, jackets, hats, and the list goes on. The people of Buenos Aires really are an ad campaign on their own and Kayce's senses got the best of her. By the second day she started mentioning how much she would love
a pair of boots and by the last day she had talked me into doing some shopping. After countless shops, lots of broken Spanish and an admittedly really good deal, Kayce got her boots and I think I don't have to buy her a birthday present in September. We'll see how that works out 😱.
Our Argentine finale was steak of course and our choice was La Cabrera. I
ate here last time in BA and was dumbfounded at the spread before me. There was no question about my eventual return. I marketed it pretty well and we were joined at dinner by our friends Mairead and Lee from Northern Ireland and a fellow teacher from Connecticut. Steak at La Cabrera is both simple and complex. There are probably 100 different cuts of steak to choose from (see picture of cow) and the full cuts approach 2lbs. That's the complex part of the process. The simple part is that all you order is meat. The sides are served tapas style and as long as you're eating beef, they will keep bringing you the most delicious, delectable tapas that you can imagine. If visiting BA, Cabrera is a must.
Following BA we jumped on a ship to the little known or talked about country of Uruguay which I'll get to soon.
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