Today we went on a City tour of Buenos Aries as organised by the company that we booked a lot of our South America component with.The city is quite large with real distinct areas as defined by those that live here. Streets can be wide such as the 11 lane street we drove on and most tend to be one way; trying to get traffic in and then out of the city.
It was a small group tour ; only 7 people, conducted in both Spanish and English by a “leggy” girl called Diana. Having said that most of the girls here are “leggy” and add to this length by wearing shoes with heels that are taller than Claire! (Now that’s how you tell a real local girl)
We went and saw things such as the Pink palace where the president works, the main Soccer stadium where Maradona played, the central church where the current Pope conducted mass and went to La Boca. At la Boca we saw the Soccer Stadium where Maradona played and home to one of the most famous clubs in Argentina. It was ok but we have some great stadiums in Melbourne so it was just the significance of who played there rather than the stadium itself.
La Boca also has an area where the houses are brightly coloured. This apparently happened when the fishermen of the time gave the leftover boat paint to their families to save money. This paint was then used to paint the houses. Given that it was leftover it never completely covered the house and so they are all different colours depending on the amount of paint that was left in the can. There are also amazing statues of people… I’d love them at school. They hang out of windows, are near doors and are really cool to look at.
After La Boca we headed back to the hotel and decided to use some of the afternoon to hang out at the pool – seemed bizarre to put bathers on, go swimming and sunbake but that’s what we did. A model was also having a photo shoot at the pool area so Claire and I watched and got a few tips about how to “work it for the camera” – basically fluff
your hair up, put on a fake smile and push something forward towards the camera – you can guess what things.
After the pool it was time to for our dinner and tango show. Around here, the locals don’t tend to eat until 9pm and so it was that we were picked up at 8:30 pm for our tango show and dinner. The place where we were going was renowned for his show and although the reviews about the food were very ordinary, people commented that the actual Tango performance was outstanding. With it still being warm, Claire put on a short sleeve top, whereas Philip and I used what we had in the suitcase. This decision by Claire would come back to bite her later in the evening, when the air conditioner was turned up so high that others around Claire moved due to the freezing cold and Claire had to use whatever piece of fabric was available “on the table” to supply some warmth.
The food came before the show – three courses. There was a pastie type object, Thyme and Corn soup and a couple of cold starters. Then for the main we all selected steak. When the steak came out it was huge and whilst the cooking instructions had all been different, it appeared there was one choice…medium rare. With the size of the steak so big, Claire and I could only eat about half, leaving Philip to eat two steaks or about 700 – 800 grams worth of meat. This on top of a steak that he had at lunchtime almost left him “mooing” more than the object he’d just eaten. The meat was cooked well though, still being quite moist and tender. As it didn’t come with a sauce, it was just the way Philip liked it…”Straight with no extras” although we did get a potato mash with it. For dessert there was a bread and butter pudding or a mousse which was our selection… quite rich but enjoyable.
Finally it was time for the show to start. There were a range of different performers taking Tango from the early years up to today. There were also a multitude of ages participating in the show and also an eight piece orchestra and singers. We enjoyed it and found it interesting but the people on the table next to us who could understand Spanish, oohed and aahed and videoed all throughout the show. There were numerous calls of Bravo and hand clapping that probably indicated that they were a little more into it than a group of three Aussies who had come to see the Tango done in Argentina (or in Philip’s case come for a good perve).
At midnight the show finished and we were picked up and taken back to the hotel. Claire stating that she would be that good if only Philip was willing to pick her up and throw her over his head. Given Claire’s dancing skills and sense of beat and Philip’s dodgy back and dancing ability I’m not sure if this is possible on both accounts.
What else have we noticed about Buenos Aries
* the women are far more attractive than the men who on the whole seem
to be punching above their weight (and let me tell you some of them are carrying some weight)
* putting blonde tips in dark hair is the way to go and you must carry a Gucci style handbag with you wherever you go even if it’s to the swimming pool.
* the city isn’t the most attractive one we’ve visited. It has a multitude of styles of architecture brought together from the Spanish, Italian and Latin cultures. These seem to mash together rather than blend together and what you have is a city that on the whole is lacking in coherence, colour and style.
* there are some beautiful parks in BA that dot across the landscapes. Like our Botanic gardens these appear to be well kept and seen as a sanctuary from city life
* Evita is everywhere. Buildings, museums, cemeteries, statues. Seems
that she is still seen as the advocate for the poor and revered in Argentine history.
* there seems to be a lot of jobs for people that involve “hanging around”.
Even the police patrolling the “beat” seem to just stand at street corners and watch the world go by. This is possibly due to the fact that there are 3 million people living in BA and another three million who come to work here.
Therefore there needs to be enough employment for them even if that means people aren’t paid highly.
* The push is also on for the US dollar to be used by tourists as the inflation rate is quite high and the locals feel that they lose money when working with Argentinian pesos. We didn’t bring American money but now wish that we had brought some as there is much better bargaining power (much as there was when travelling in Bali). One
would think that the US dollar is only going to become more desirable given the 30% inflation in the country.