Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 5 - Buenos Aires

We woke up at 4 am to catch our plane with a beef hangover from the night before. If I never have to see a piece of meat again in my life I will be happy. The beach kiosk across the street was still open and we could see people there. They were getting their coconut delivery too. Luckily our flight got off the ground okay. Aerolineas Argentinas is known for striking and not having enough planes for the amount of flights they schedule so I'd been a little apprehensive.
We are staying at the Hotel Intercontinental which is the nicest hotel I've ever stayed at. The guy at the curb wears tails, a top hat, and white gloves. I wish I would have gotten a picture. We went off for lunch and ate at the Gran Victoria Cafe. The first not so good meal of our trip.

We spent the afternoon shopping in the market and exploring the Plaza de Mayo area including the Casa Rosada, which is famous for the balcony Evita was on. It's also where the Argentine president works although she doesn't live there. We went back to the hotel to take a nap and had a message from our tour guide that he would be downstairs at 3 and oops it was 3:15. He'd sent an email saying we'd be meeting on Friday (today was Thursday) but with Thursday's date which I didn't catch and I'd thought we'd be meeting on Friday.
So we raced downstairs to meet him. We found him through a recommendation on trip advisor. Joaquin is a Cicerones which is an organization that provides free tour guides for Buenos Aires, intended to promote tourism for the city. Many cities have these type of organizations such as London, NYC, and Chicago. Definitely look into something like this if you're visiting a major city. We'd requested a guide to tell us about the history and architecture of the city. You can request different things such as if you were interested in a specific neighborhood or tango or football. He was a fantastic guide, telling us about the history and then going on an architecture walk of the city. He really knew his stuff and was passionate about it. What I found interesting is that most people from Buenos Aires are from European descent because of a lenient immigration policy. Our guide was Polish. There are a lot of Italians. This makes the city very different from other South American cities. Most of the city was rebuilt in the early 20th century in anticipation of their centenial celebration. The buildings are very old (most are 100 years old) and the city looks very much like Paris. I thought it showed how well lasting the building techniques were from when they were built and I loved how intricately detailed everything was.

For dinner that night we were doing a tango show. Beforehand there was a free tango lesson. That's right, I dragged The Husband to dance class. The tango show itself was rather touristy but that's what we wanted - a flashy Vegas style show. I thought it was hilarious how the dancers outfits got skimpier and skimpier as the night went on. The best part of the show was when the dancers plucked The Husband out of the audience and made him participate. They were all dancing with members of the audience then they pulled him backstage in a fake scuffle. He came out with a fedora on his head dancing with the lead female. I was almost peeing my pants during this I thought it was so funny. I'm not sure if I'll ever be forgiven for this, especially as I told him the show had no crowd participation.

Our fancy bathtub

Our hotel room

View from our hotel room

Old city hall

Church in Plaza de Mayo

Casa Rosada

Subway station

Intricate detailing

Old buildings

Original wooden subway car that still runs

More old buildings

Intricately detailed door

Tango show

Tango show

Tango show

The Husband dancing

The Husband and his fedora

1 comment:

WeezerMonkey said...

Psst. The president of Argentina is a woman -- Cristina Fernandez. ;)