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Published: September 12th 2016
Buenos Aires, 5 Sept through 12 Sept, 2016
The weather during our first week in Buenos Aires was definitely wintery, cold and wet, however at the beginning of our second week the clouds and rain go away and the sun comes out. It's wonderful how the weather affects the mood of these two travelers and of course the Buenos Aires natives.
Yes, our second week in Argentina and after attending 7, 2 hour Spanish lessons, the decision is made to finish. I in particular, have gone about as far as I can go in a classroom environment. Our female teacher was nuerotic and was just a little too intense. I think she was happy we have decided to call it a day, and immediately we cancel a smile comes onto her face. I for one, needed to be enrolled in Spanish for Idiots, with a Comedic Shooter. Our second week in San Telmo is all about Tango. We have begun our tango lessons with Lucia and Gerry! 5 one hour lessons with this lovely couple is fun and progress is made. Gerry is a transplanted Irishman from County Wicklow who has been tango-ing for fifteen years, and makes a
lovely partner for Malcolm. And I have the photo to prove it!
Lunch continues to be a major part of our day and we walk the cobbled streets of San Telmo in search of interesting restaurants to have lunch and a bottle of Malbec. Lunch has become our main meal of the day, and we eat very little in the evening, Dinner in Buenos Aires/Argentina starts late at around 10.00pm and if you go to a restaurant at 7.30pm you will be probably be the only persons in the restaurant. Malcolm and I have an evening snack in our apartment and then, if we venture out onto the streets it's around 9-9.30
On Wednesday evening we return to Milonga Matilda with Gerry, Lucia and a couple of other would be tangoists that form our little group. Seated close to the stage we have a great view of the dance floor and the musicians that make up the band. We are taken onto the dance floor by Lucia, who manages to make us look reasonable as our brains blank and we are caught like deer in the headlights. The tango orchestra comprises, a pianist, cello, 3 violinists, double base,
4 musicians on over-sized squeeze boxes (the heart of the group) and a singer. Gerry informs me the singer was a gynecologist in a previous life, but has now devoted himself to a career as a tango singer. He's is in his early 30's and is an amazingly passionate tango warbler.
High on the list of things to do in Buenos Aires is a visit to Teatro Colon, the opera house completed in 1908. A tour of the opera house in English is on our agenda and turns out to be a gem and a must do, if you travel to BA. We even manage to watch a small part of a rehearsal for an up coming ballet. This is supposedly the opear house with the 5th best acoustics in the world, however we are not able to verify this on Google Our visit to the opera house and the El Centro (business area), takes in the wide boulevard that leads to the obelisk. El Centro has a lot less graffiti than a bario like San Telmo, however anything under a a 4 meter height is still a target for the spray can bandits.
There's a Jazz
club/restaurant at the entrance to our apartment complex, Pisto Urbana and last week we had won a free entrance for one to return. The owner, a lovely lady has suggested we return on Friday evening to listen to a small Jazz group featuring a saxaphonist. We are welcomed with a hug and a kiss on the cheek, it's supper time at and we order empenadas, a bottle of Malbec, and agua con gas. Tonight, we have both agreed a single bottle of Malbec is our limit. It's a great evening and we even converse with a couple of people in the intermmisio! Funnily enough, when the draw is made at the end of the evening the first ticket to come out of the hat is ours, we win another free ticket to return, but politely refuse and tell the owner to please give it to someone else.
The weekend is upon us, it's a sunny Saturday morning and Malcolm wants to go back to La Boca to buy some gifts for his grandchildren. La Boca is a 55 peso taxi ride away an we arrive at El Caminito “The Walkway” and begin to peruse the cheap stores. This is
all for the tourists, corrugated iron buildings in various primary colors make the area a photographers dream. Fortunately, Malcolm finds a few gifts that he thinks will please his grand children and then we leave for Puerto Madero. This used to be the docklands of BA, however it has been transformed into a yuppies dream, restaurants, cafes, bars and up-market hotels decorate the docks. It's a great place to walk and the newly painted cranes used in the old docks still adorn the sidewalks. The restaurants and bars are all full of people, and we find an appropriate bar to people watch and enjoy a cerveza. Time to head back to San Telmo and have an early meal in Des Vivel, this is a steakhouse of some renown and we are treated to a large steak meal. A couple of young guys occupy the adjacent table and after striking up a conversation find one is from NZ and the other a German. Our meal leaves us bloated and we walk home for an early evening nap.
The sun is shining again and , it's T-shirt weather, Sunday sees this dynamic duo have breakfast at the apartment and then head
out for a coffee at a local cafe. We need internet, as it looks as though we have used up our alloted Gigs at the apartment. Oh well, only a few days to go before we leave and head north. Most of the cafe's and restaurants in BA all offer free wifi, so going to a cafe is hardly a hardship. Every Sunday there is a market in San Telmo on Defensa and it stretches from Plaza Dorado all the way to Plaza De Mayo (approx 3 km). The area at the top end of the market is devoted to antiques, however this peters out after a couple of blocks and then you are into normal street market fare. At the end of Defensa we find ourselves in Plaza de Mayo and in front of the Rose Palace, it's the weekend and they allow visits,. However when I approach a barrel chested goon and ask if he “Habla Anglais” he points to a sign that says you must reserve a spot online, typical civil servant. The sound of music draws us to the other side of the square and we find a Brazilian street fair with music and samba dancing.
What a find!
Back to the Milonga, more Malbec and more tango! We have been in Buenos Aires 12 days and believe we have drank about 30 bottles of Malbec. An average price for a bottle of decent wine in a restaurant is about USD $12. Thankfully, the wine is smooth, contains few additives and does not leave us with hangovers.
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