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Published: September 30th 2017
At Iguazu's airport - a booth from the National institute of yerba mate. Serious stuff here! They played a video describing the methods of production, and touting its health benefits.
Geo: -25.5469, -54.5882
Breakie with the Spaniard staying at the hostel, as we were both up early to catch a flight back to BA. It's a funny thing - my mind kept wandering and at times, I understood nothing that he said to me. They served some delicious watermelon for breakfast, but there was no cake, which was just as well - the first day, it was chocolate and wasn't bad, but the second day it was some kind of cake sprinkled with crawling ants. Mmm mmm ... crunchier than candy sprinkles!
I settled up my bar tab with the hostel - three small beers and two 1 L bottles only came out to 32 pesos, about $11 CAD. It doesn't get much cheaper than that! Shortly after, a shuttle came to pick us up, and after a few minutes of driving, a Scottish guy asked us "Does this go to the airport?" The Spaniard and I looked at each other in a slight moment of panic, and both commented that we were positive it was headed there, until he posed the question!
The flight was uneventful and the next thing you knew, we were back in BA. The Scottish dude, whose name
Lunch at La Brasitas - the chicken breast was paper thin and very dry, and the bun was even drier. I regretted not grabbing any mayonnaise - I figured I'd be healthy and skip it, but the plain sandwich ended up being an even greater health hazard, as I almost choked to death on it.
The fries had a very strange texture - they must have used some other type of oil to fry it with, as it was kind of crunchy and even a bit tough, and the outer skin looked blistered. Kinda like my face when I was in Chile! The fries were pretty bad ... the lettuce and tomato served with the sandwich were a welcome sight - I need some veggies in my diet!
I have forgotten, is an accountant working for the government in London. He and I ended up on the same shuttle back to central BA. We were told that the shuttle lets off at Plaza San Martin, but they drove past it without stopping, and ended up at their private bus terminal.
We sat there for a while, but nobody said anything and nobody got off, so we figured that they would loop back and drop us off at the plaza. When boarding the shuttle, they checked our tickets and asked where we were getting off, so they knew exactly where we were going. They even scanned our tickets upon arrival at the terminal, but said nothing to us.
More people got on and then we were headed way past the port - something wasn't right! I asked the driver and it turns out that we should have gotten off at the terminal, after all. They really should work on their communication at Manuel Tienda Leon, the shuttle company - you guys suck!
The Scottish dude was headed to San Telmo, so he didn't mind, because the shuttle ended up taking him much closer to his final destination. But for
Recoleta's cemetery - taking all these photos is probably morbid, but it was an impressive place.
me - I ended up about twice the distance away from my hostel, than had I gotten off at the bus terminal. What should have been a 10-15 minute walk ended up being almost 25. I haven't been having much luck with buses and shuttles on this trip, have I?
I checked back into Hostel Florida, ending back up in the same room I had the first time I was here. There was a nice, but very annoying, older American guy there - I made some small talk for a bit but then snuck away. Back to the Galerias Pacifico food court - though it was close to 15:00, it was still packed with people. I guess it's the normal BA lunch hour. They've got a fairly decent selection of fast food joints, most of them being BBQ places - Las Brasitas looked good, so I grabbed a chicken sandwich.
Off to Recoleta, and its famous cemetery, one of the most popular attractions in BA. On my way in, there was a guy selling little religious cards to make some money - he wasn't the arrogant prick type of panhandler that I've encountered more often than I would have liked so
far in Chile and Argentina, so I took pity. However, I didn't give him any money, as you never know if that will go to food or alcohol, but instead gave a granola bar, which he graciously accepted.
I've visited some pretty nice cemeteries before, like the Pere Lechaise in Paris and the Aereslunden in Oslo - while all of them are different but stunning in their own way, the one in Recoleta is by far the most impressive. I hope the pictures turn out, because it was an amazing collection of mausoleums and sculptures, and many of them were worthy of being displayed in some of the top museums in the world.
Over to the Museum of Fine Arts - it was getting hot in BA, once again, so I needed to stop in Plaza Francia to chug some water and cram down a granola bar, before I passed out. The museum wasn't bad, but I was so exhausted from the heat that I started to tune out much of it. The highlights were a copy of "The Kiss", one of my favourite pieces by Rodin (of course, I have about 10 favourite Rodin pieces), and some neat glass
"paintings" by Jacques Bedel.
It was a bit strange - Bedel's works were modern works and I appreciated them more than most of the classic works on display. Usually it's the opposite for me, as most modern art just seems to be a random assortment of crap that somebody collected from a landfill.
I was pretty exhausted by the time I reached the top floor, but my interest was reawakened with an interesting photo exhibit - many important events in BA's history were on display. The sculpture terrace outside was pretty disappointing - it was tiny, with only five or six crappy pieces of sculpture on display.
The final stop for today was in nearby Palermo, the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, or MALBA, for short. I had only 40 minutes to tour it, but with my attention span waning, it was more than enough. Overall, there wasn't much of interest, except for a few pieces like Antonio Berni's "La Gran Tentacion" (The Great Temptation). One of the more bizarre works was basically a bunch of hydroponically-grown plants ... perhaps the artist found all this stuff at a landfill?
I wasn't all that excited to visit MALBA, since I knew of
its reputation for showcasing contemporary art - but I had another reason for visiting, and that's the cafe inside the museum. It was highly rated by the same food critic whose advice we took when deciding to go to Tomo I in BA, and Puerto Fuy in Santiago. If it was anything like those two, it would be an incredible experience, and perhaps there would even be a hostess as lovely as Puerto Fuy's Andrea 😊
The cafe wasn't serving dinner yet even though it was 20:00, so I nursed a mediocre glass of chardonnay for 30 minutes, until the kitchen finally opened. Though it was a hot and muggy day, it was quite pleasant out on the shaded patio. Chilling on the patio, I could see the appeal of living in a neighbourhood like Recoleta or Palermo.
I haven't found BA to be that great of a tourist town, but it would be a great place to live if you had a good enough job to afford a neighbourhood like this. Or even better, to be sent here on a temporary assignment, and live large on North American wages. Top-end restaurants, beautiful parks, beautiful women ... though I suppose, I've
only been teased with the promise of beautiful women, as most of them seem to be away on vacation.
As I scanned the menu, I wondered about my budget for the trip - I was certain that I was WAY over, but didn't know by exactly how much. Since I was nearing the end of the trip, I said "Budget be damned!" and ordered what I felt like. Saving a few bucks during my last couple of nights in BA wouldn't amount to any real savings, so instead of merely exceeding my budget, I might as well annihilate it!
It was a long walk back to the hostel, about 65-70 minutes - I walked pretty slowly as I was feeling pretty worn out. It was breezy and cool in some areas, but hot and stuffy in others. Back to central BA, past the high-end shops of Boulevard Alvear, and past a number of parks. I saw a bunch of locals playing in a pick-up soccer game. My guidebook warned not to join a game, unless you were VERY confident in your soccer skills.
It was pretty eventful as I got closer to the hostel, coming across an accident between a motorbike
and a car, and two arrests. Back at the hostel, I noticed an ad for a day trip to Mar del Plata, for a soccer game between the junior squads of Boca and another team. 390 pesos for transportation and the game ... unfortunately, it's scheduled for the day I leave, and I doubt that I'd get back in time for my flight home. If only I had the time ...
There were a bunch of Brazilians hanging out in my room - nice guys, but I was glad when they left, so that I could finally get some sleep.
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