From Iguazu it was a 19 hour overnight bus ride to Buenos Aires. I had a full-cama seat which means it reclines about 80% flat. It was quite comfortable and I managed to get some decent sleep on the way.
Buenos Aires has a pretty cool vibe about it. It has a good balance of everything - lots of sights and activities, a good night life, and lots of places to eat a good steak. I had a few of those. It's a big city but you can walk around most of it providing you have the fitness and motivation.
I spent my first couple of nights staying in the Palermo district which has lots of nice cafes, bars and restaurants. It's where BA's middle class tend to live and hang out. I then moved over to the San Telmo district which is closer to the centre.
The Recoleta district is probably the most tourist-laden. The main sight everyone flocks to is the impressive Cemetery. It's the home of many famous figures in Argentine history including ex-presidents and military figures, as well as every Argentine's favourite - Evita. The tombs and facades are huge as one might expect
for such notable people, and you almost forget you're in a cemetery. Feels more like a miniature city with the tombs acting as buildings.
La Boca district was once a working class Port neighbourhood built by Italian immigrants and is highly rated as must-see tourist area. A lot of the ramshackle buildings are painted in bright colours and the district appears to have some charm. Though its very difficult to tell nowadays as every street is lined by vendors selling all kinds of worthless junk, restaurant owners try to prod you into their cheap establishments and if you go anywhere near the Port your nose will never forgive you. I felt pretty sorry for the tango couples dancing out the front of those cheap restaurants. Every place had them as a ploy to entice you in and experience the real
Argentina. They were clearly going through the motions and I couldn't help but ponder upon their life journey to this point. In the end I tried to imagine the district without these distractions and I was able to get a better sense of what made it special.
I ended up spending more than a week in Buenos Aires
and still felt like there was more to experience. I even managed to participate in a Tango class believe it or not. I reckon I have the basic steps down pretty well as I only tripped over the woman's feet a dozen times. I took a nice bike ride around the waterfront and ecological reserve and saw an impressive drumming show called La Bomba del Tiempo (where they serve you a litre of beer in a plastic cup). Luckily for me there also happened to be a round of the Argentinian touring car series in town the weekend I was there so I went along. Even better it was free.
One evening there was a full moon and rumour around town was there is a bit of a party every month down at the Observatory. I checked it out, but it ended up being an excuse for hippies and weirdos to go and have a self-indulgent moment with their bongos around a fire. Lots of people turned up though. It was surprising and amusing to see how quickly the street vendors arrived selling beer.
I decided to make a side trip over to Uruguay on one my last
days to Colonia del Sacramento. Unfortunately the weather turned bad and I couldn't change the trip. Why is that a problem? It involves a boat ride across the sea. Despite the poor weather the driver seemed undeterred and ploughed on at normal speed (reckless abandon). The boat was airborne numerous times I don't doubt. I've never seen so many sick bags used simultaneously in my life. I think if the people from Guinness World Records were there it would have gone close. I just stared determinedly out the window the whole time and luckily avoided revisiting my breakfast. I was pretty happy to be honest as I've experienced sea sickness before. So we all got off the boat feeling tip top and ready to explore the colonial gem of Uruguay. I was a little disappointed actually as it wasn't quite as good as I had read and heard. Nevertheless it provided some good photo opportunities.
I was happy to spend more time in Buenos Aires but I had a previous appointment back in Santiago, Chile. The Lollapalooza music festival. Time for another 20 hour bus!
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