Thursday, March 12, 2009

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Hello Everyone,
Sorry we haven´t posted anything in a while - computer access has been scarce and even when we have had access the computers aren´t always been capable of uploading photos.

We had a super first day is Buenos Aires. We headed over to downtown, the microcentre, by Subte (subway). We spent the day wandering the two major pedestrian streets, Florida and Lavalle. They are jam-packed with business people on power lunches, tourists, and other portenos (people of BA). We found another book store (we are now carrying a small library of extremely exciting reads) and managed to buy BA´s daily english newspaper, the Buenos Aires Herald. Amazing how out of touch with world news and pop culture we seem to get while we are traveling. We strolled and perused some shops and spent some time in one outdoor store called Montagne. It´s like a mini-MEC, Argentina style. All the clothes and gear are made here and we each had a little splurge. From the pedestrian streets we made a quick stop at the post office and ended up having a lively conversation (him excitied talk, us smiles and nodds) with the security guard about the prides of his country: futeball (soccer) and Evita. He took us over to some framed stamps to show us pictures of these. He was so animated and hilarious- just trying to make us feel welcome in Argentina.

From there we headed over to the Plaza de Mayo, home of BA´s main cathedral Cabildo and the main parliament for the country, Casa Rosada. There is a lot of history of protest and civil unrest in this plaza, and protesteres still come every Thursday to march for whatever is on their minds. We rested in the shade on the grass for a while taking in the huge old buildings around us.

In true Argentinian style we finished our day with a late night steak dinner and a bottle (or two) of red wine. DELICIOUS. An excellent cut of beef grilled to perfection will cost you approximately 7-10 Canadian Dollars, while an average bottle of good wine costs you about $3 Canadian Dollars in the grocery store.

Day 2 in BA was just not as great. The theme for the day was booking our flights south to Ushuaia. It ended up alright (as things always do) but not without a bit of a struggle that entailed at least dozen calls to the airline of which all but 3 we were disconnected, hours spent online and on the phone, and one trip to the airport- frusterating! But we got it and we leave for Ushuaia on Monday. We hope. It seems most businesses shut down on weekends completely making for some challenging planning techniques. We know the reward of having to work for getting where we want to be will pay off by the beauty of the place so we are not discouraged, just cranky :)

On our 3rd day in Brzil we decided to try and catch a glipmse into an Argentinian past-time and passion. A group of us from the hostel enlisted the services of a guide(strongly recommended for gringoes) and made our way to the stadium in BA to take in a finals match between the Boca Juniors and the Argentinos Juniors. On our way into the stadium, one of the people we were with recognized a famous player, Maradona, making his way into the stadium. We got our picture taken with Maradona but it is on a disposable camera left over from Carnaval that we haven´t gotten processed yet. Maradona played for the Boca Juniors, and has a box seat directly across from the section we were sitting. As for the match - WOW, what an experience! We were in a section with the rowdy locals. There were no seats, and it was squished standing room only. Throughout the entire match, everyone around us was singing and chanting songs to the sounds of drums and trumpets. Luckily for us, the local and favoured team (Boca Juniors) won the match 3-0. At the end of the game, the riot police went on the field and the police helicopter hovered overhead. We had to stay in our section for more than 30 minutes while the fans from the opposing team were escorted out of the stadium. Taking in a soccer (futebol) match in Argentina can most accurately be described as a relegious experience- and it was Sunday!

We have both enjoyed our time in Buenos Aires, and have agreed that it probably the coolest city we have visited so far.

Argentina Fun Fact numero uno:Unlike Brazil, there is stiff competition amongst bus companies (our usual means of travels) which has resulted in competive rates among companies but more interestingly different classes that you can travel in. From what we can tell, there are about 6 different classes you can travel beginning with the most luxurious or Super Cama, Exectivo, Cama, Semi-Cama, and Commun. From Iguazu falls we travelled on in in Cama class, and enjoyed wide leather seats that almost completely folded flat (similar to first class on a plane), meals, movies, etc.

Empanadas are our new favourite food and we are keeping track of how many we eat.
Empanada Count:
Chris 17
Rebecca 16

1 comment:

  1. so fun that you go to see a soccer game!! daddy says you're lucky you made it out ok from the sounds of it. he wishes he could have seen it too!