January 14, 2019
Something I’ve noticed about people in Buenos Aires. When you are walking and people approach from the other direction, particularly on a collision course, they always turn their heads or look away with their eyes so they can pretend they do not see you. I suspect it is because that if they can’t see you its up to you to step aside. Perhaps they are like that in all big cities, but I prefer the way I am familiar with. You acknowledge one another and in an instant negotiate who is to adjust their path. I’m thinking of doing the same sometime and walk into someone just for the heck of heck of it and then offer profuse apologies.
I’m like that in cities. It seems there are always jerks in front of me who are walking too slow and assholes behind me that are always trying to get around me. Don’t they know I’m walking here? Paula asks me sometimes, why it is I think I want to go to India?
We had a good walk today. We decided on some errands to address some shortcomings at our apartment, the most pressing of which is that there is no equipment for making coffee. We thought it would be a fairly easy thing to get a relatively inexpensive French press, but could not find one anywhere. We finally found a small strainer that will let us make cowboy coffee at least. It will go in our travel drawer and make many future trips with us.
The guide book says that during the summer people flee the “sweltering heat” of Buenos Aires. I must say I was a little concerned about that, but if today is an indication of what is meant by “sweltering” I just have to say “bring it on.” It was a sunny day with intermittent clouds and a nice cooling breeze. Nothing at all like a summer day in Albuquerque.
Our initial objective was to walk in the Reserva Ecologico, which ended up being closed on Monday. It was on that walk that we recognized that many businesses are closed on Monday, including banks, which be extension means that ATM machines are not refilled, so finding cash is a bit tough. We ran across a Hilton hotel, and figuring they have the clientele that expect to have proper service and would have an ATM freshly stocked with Argentine pesos. We were right, which was a relief since we were down to about ten bucks equivalent.
I finally figured out a heuristic to convert pesos to dollars. Since the exchange is normally 36 – 37 pesos per dollar, I figure divide the peso price by 40 and add ten percent of the quotient. That seems to get us close enough.
Paula tells me she heard that Buenos Aires is the Paris of South America. We came into a few neighborhoods that might resemble that analogy, provided there are portions of Paris with torn up sidewalks and trash strewn on the street. I would not say our experience is anything close to Paris, but there is a charm to BsAs that makes the experience enjoyable.
We have had a few really good craft beers and met an elderly gentlemen who enthusiastically explained the history of BA, along with map references and construction information on the basilica and convent we stopped in by chance. We are beginning to get our bearings.
For dinner we went to El Federal Bar that is in the guide book as a relatively inexpensive place to eat. We encountered a waiter who is quite adept as upselling the menu. I tend to approach those attempts cynically, thinking that he/she is only trying to spend more money, but in this case I decided to believe he wanted us to have a great dining experience. We paid more than we had planned but had a fabulous dinner at a fraction of what it would cost in the US.
Following are a few photos for the day.
I don’t know what this is, but i liked the image of a smith (of sorts) on top of the building. This was taken while we were having a craft beer in our neighborhood.
Inside the Basilica Nuestra de la Merced. This is a very old cathedral, founded near the time of the founding of Buenos Aires.
This is the entrance to the convent attached to the Basilica. Paula and I are in dispute about which building is older, but since I am older, and thence more enlightened, I am right by default.
The courtyard of the Convento is not really well maintained, but it is a pleasant and peaceful spot.
On the way back into the city from the locked entrance to the Ecological Preserve we walked along a shaded sidewalk next to the lake.
A view of the Puerto Madero skyline.
Here is another view of the Puerto Madero skyline. This was taken while we enjoyed a cool IPA at a craft brewery near the canal.
Your guess is a good as mine. Perhaps a protector of the Coast Guard? Not having a lot of luck researching this.
Another nice path in a park near the Ecological preserve.
January 13, 2019
I am coming to the conclusion that I really don’t like to travel. I do enjoy being in different places and experiencing new things, but the whole deal about getting there is not a lot of fun. The first day in a new place is frequently characterized by crankiness and short temper. I would like to encourage our famous science and engineering establishment to actually invent teleportation and not just talk about it.
The flight from Houston to Buenos Aires was non-eventful but long and filled with turbulence.
We arrived in BsAs under overcast skies with light rain. The temperature was very comfortable and the rain stopped by the time we got to our apartment.
We have a well located BandB apartment that is definitely worth the price. I think, though, perhaps we should have spent more. Since we generally do not spend a lot of time in our accomodations, we tend to skimp on that and focus our budget on experiences. This will definitely be a good spot to settle in for two weeks.
This afternoon we walked, or perhaps better said “inched”, our way through the Sunday market, which was very large and filled with a lot of local handicraft. We basically spent the time appreciating the wares and trying to come up with a quick method to convert pesos to dollars in my head.
Our trip to the market was highlighted by an attempted scam that is common here. The scam is that someone sprays some gunk on you and then tries to help you clean it off while picking your pockets. We were wise to it immediately, but still ended up with a bunch of slime on our clothes. In a sense being a target of a scam that you’ve read about is a lot like seeing scenes from your home town in a major movie. At least I think so, though the only thing my home town was know for was being the center of population distribution in the US in 1980. Oh, yes, also being listed as the number one city in Missouri for having the most uneducated population.
We ate a modest lunch at the market, though we ignored the siren call of the many parrailleda offerings. We did have another unique experience where a man passing by determined we had finished eating and grabbed some of the food in Paula’s plate.
We called it quits shortly thereafter, went to the grocery store and went home to fall asleep in the living room by mid afternoon.
No photos today. Tomorrow we will explore the city.
January 11, 2019
Well, we are at it again. Another long trip to exotic lands begins tomorrow. It seems a bit strange that we can just go about our daily lives and then suddenly show up at in a foreign country with no permission needed other than a treaty negotiated by people we have never met.
Tomorrow we begin our first visit to the southern hemisphere. Our itinerary will include Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. Weather forecast for Buenos Aires indicates we will be successful in escaping winter this year.
Watch this space for updates.
Have a wonderful time! We look forward to following you.