Now that absolutely no one cares anymore about my Argentina trip — which, after all, took place way back in June — I'm going to finally update this blog with another post about it.
You can see why I never made it as a reporter. Not that I ever tried. Bleah.
But I just can't leave everyone with the impression that all I did during the entire time I spent in "the Paris of the South" was eat. I mean, it felt kind of like I ate all the time, but I also went and saw stuff and did things. Here are some highlights, in no particular order:
1) The Recoleta Cemetery.
This place is a true city of the dead. I mean, it even has streets with street signs:
OK, so the street signs aren't in that picture, but they really are there.
The Recoleta Cemetery is one of, if not the, most popular tourist destinations in Buenos Aires. Someone in our group asked the question, "What does it say about a city that its most popular spot is its cemetery?" I leave it to you to ponder the no doubt many possible answers to that question; it is way too early in the morning right now for me to start being philosophical.
2) El Ateneo Bookstore.
Built in 1919, El Ateneo
started out as a theatre house called Teatro Gran Splendid, or Grand Splendid Theatre. Today, it's a totally awesome-looking bookstore. Check it out:
As you can see, El Ateneo has retained the features of the old theatre: the box seats, where you can kick back with a book for a while; the stage, which is now a cafe; the domed, muraled ceiling, which you can't see in that picture because it's in this one (or at least part of it is):
By the way, I bought a book at El Ateneo, by an Argentine writer named Poldy Bird. An Argentine friend recommended her. Of course, the book is in Spanish, but in a fit of misguided belief in my self-motivational, not to mention linguistic, abilities, I thought, "Hey, I'll practice my Spanish by translating it!" Given how good my Spanish isn't, this was, to say the least, not my finest hour in the department of Great Ideas, but oh well.
3) Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.
When I heard that Uruguay was only an hour away by ferry, I decided to pop over there for a day trip because a) it was an easy way to get another stamp in my passport, and b) by that time I'd been in Buenos Aires for over a week and the city was starting to jangle my suburban nerves a bit. I needed a change of scene, and that's exactly what I got as I wandered the cobblestoned streets of Colonia, the oldest town in Uruguay (founded in 1680 by the Portuguese; thanks, Wikipedia). A few pics:
Here's the spot where my friend and I had lunch:
As we were leaving, another customer came along:
And finally, here's a pic of me under a shop sign that reminded me there's no place like home:
4) The World Cup.
Yes, my trip coincided with the epic soccer series, and it was quite interesting to observe how seriously Argentines take the game. Let's just say that if you are going to have a life-threatening emergency during the World Cup, try not to have it when Argentina is playing, because whoever would have come to your aid is probably glued to a TV screen watching the match, like every other human being in the country.
I watched the Argentina-Mexico game in a cafe with a group of friends, and afterward we went down to the Obelisk to celebrate Argentina's win with everyone in Buenos Aires (not much of an exaggeration):
Good times, although I will say that the mosh pit got a little alarming. But I survived, as you can see. Also, I believe my group got on Argentine TV at some point. No doubt the crazy Americans singing "Vamos Argentina" into the camera provided a great deal of amusement to whoever saw the clip.
I don't have a picture of this bar, but if you ever go to Buenos Aires, definitely check out it out, located on the second floor of what was once an old mansion. It's not well-marked from the street, so if you don't pay attention you could walk right past it. But if you find it, it's a really cool spot for reasonably priced drinks.
Speaking of drinks, I'll finish off this post with
6) The Pisco Sour.
A classic South American cocktail, it tastes even better when mixed by a hot South American man. I don't know why that should be, but hey, I didn't make the rules.
Hmm, now that I've come to the end of this post, I'm suddenly remembering all the other things I haven't mentioned — touring the colorful La Boca neighborhood; visiting the estate of Victoria Ocampo, an important figure in Argentina's cultural history; having lunch at Cafe Tortoni, the oldest cafe in Argentina; exploring the city's many art galleries on Gallery Night; taking tango lessons and then watching a stunning tango show while enjoying dinner at El Querandi. And there's even more... the list could go on and on. But, no doubt to your great relief, it won't. Because I'm done. Whew!
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