After spending 6 weeks sleeping in dorm rooms, miniscule private rooms with shared bath, party hostels, some nice hostels, uncomfortable bus seats and a tent, it was time to treat ourselves. First of all, we opted to fly from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires instead of spending over 40 hrs on yet another bus. Second, we burned some of the Marriott points that we earned while w-w-working in the States last year and spent 4 heavenly nights in the downtown hotel. They greeted us as if we were royalty even though it must have appeared, and smelled, like we were stall muckers for the royal pony brigade.
Buenos, Aires Marriott
This is the sitting area in our room. The bedroom, bathroom, dressing area and office were also ample. Just a bit different from the hostels we have been telling you about. We took our breakfasts and evening snacks in the Executive Lounge (you get to use that after spending 6 months in a Marriott) and looked forward to the chocolates on the pillows every night. On the first evening we were greeted with a bottle of wine and hors d’ vours in the room. Nice!
The balcony of our room at the Marriott wrapped all the way around a corner of the building. Us getting great balconies with our rooms is a running joke with Carrie’s Dad. So next time you see him, tell him how wonderful our balcony in Buenos Aires looked. Well… WE think it’s a joke anyway!
We took a stroll down the walking street called Florida Street. If you are a shopper at heart this is the place for you. There were greeters all along the way eager to make your wildest leather fantasies come true (for a handsome commission no doubt). What I meant by ‘wildest leather fantasies’ was jackets, shoes, purses and the like. Gee, what were you thinking?!
What great knockers! Wonder what lurks behind this impressive door, maybe Neptune himself?
Click on the photo to get a better look.
The frigata Sarmiento was converted into a museum and moored outside the fancy restaurants that moved into the restored warehouses along the waterfront. This was one of the best museums for the price, less than a buck apiece. Don’t miss it if you are in BsAs (that’s short for Buenos Aires).
These must be the largest dorades in the world!
The safety is on … right?
Puente de la Mujer is a landmark in BsAs and an interesting bit of engineering. It pivots on the larger of the two supports and swings the long, suspended end, of the bridge toward the buildings behind.
One of our favorite things to do in a port city is to scout out the local yacht club, walk in like we belong there and enjoy a drink, the view and rub elbows with the local yachties. Well, it must have been off-season or something because not much was happening at the old yacht club. We decided to take our refreshment at a nearby establishment with a little more life and look at the boats instead.
The great flan tasting continued. Carrie’s parents joined us for a couple of weeks in South America. Pat and Dad are on a quest to locate the finest flan in the world. This one did not pass muster, but it wasn’t bad either. You can tell by the smiles. Actually, their favorite flan can be found in Nogales, Mexico at an excellent restaurant named ‘La Roca’.
Green, leafy parks with impressive statues were all over Buenos Aires. This shot was hurridly taken in Parque San Martin while Pat was busily fending off a tour pusher who was more persistent than a starved mosquito in a blood bank. We eventually ran from the area screaming ‘No!’ and ‘No molesta me!’ (‘Don’t bother me’ in English).
San Telmo is a hip little section of Buenos Aires with sidewalk cafes, a shaded plaza, tango dancers and artisans displaying their wares. One artisan crafted pendants out of coins from around the world. Carrie’s Dad bought one for Mom with a Lithuanian (Mom’s heritage) coin in it. What are the odds?!
Here is a South American hippie setting up for the work day. Carrie’s Mom kept threatening Pat that if he should ever grow his hair like this guy, she’d cut it off with rusty scissors while he slept.
This woman was using the stone tiles in the park as a workbench for her jewelry making.
Tango: the sexy, seductive dance of South America. These dancers performed in the Plaza at San Telmo and were great to watch from a nearby table in the shade of the trees.
Meet our new friends Jenny and her Mom. Jenny’s family owns a Chinese restaurant in Buenos Aires. We stopped in several times for great meals and let Jenny do the translating. She would speak English to us, Chinese to her parents and Spanish to her friends. How does she keep it all straight?
Boca! Boca! Boca! Soccer is obviously what most Argentines live and die for. If you live in Argentina, you are either a Boca fan or a River fan. Our friend Roxi in Bariloche is a Boca fan so we are too. These are the hallowed halls of Boca Stadium. A moment of silence please….
Visitors to the left, home team to the right. Barbed wire and steel bars separate the Boca fans from the visiting fans. Notice how the Boca fans get seats to sit on and the visitors get cement steps with peeling paint. We heard that after the conclusion of a game, the visitors are given a 30 minute head start before the Boca fans are allowed to leave the stadium. Sounds rougher than a Browns-Steelers game!
There is always some form of demonstration going on in the Plaza de Mayo. From what we saw on television the night before, there was quite the rowdy and disgruntled crowd. The point of contention had something to do with beef and vegetables coming into the city from the rural areas. There were road blocks and snarled traffic just north of the city.
Caminito Street in the La Boca section of Buenos Aires was a colorful and eclectic place. The tradition of the wild colors came from the time when La Boca was the main port for the city and the neighborhood was very poor. The people would ask the visiting ships for leftover paint and use it to paint as much of their house as they could. These days, Caminito Street is a tourist attraction with many artists selling all things tango.
Caminito Street was full of artisits like this one. Some painted. Some sculpted. Others tangoed or stood completely motionless hoping for a drop in the hat. Thankfully there was a distinct lack of the ever-present ‘friendship bracelets’!
Sometimes horticultural experimants go terribly awry. This US$1M bloom was donated by an architect and actually closes at night and opens during the day. Obviously this is a schmancy part of town.