18.12.2009 - 18.12.2009 31 °C
The anticipated Tango City – Buenos Aires. Dwayne you were correct we would love this city. Darwin and I cannot wait to spend another four days in this area of Argentina. Even though we only had a few hours to catch the sights, we immediately fell in love with it. Our guide (Mattias) tour took us to Playa del Mayo the main square that allows for protests and the home of the pink palace (presidential offices). We saw the infamous balconies. One where Eva Peron stood and the other balcony where Madonna stood while filming the movie Evita. We toured various neighbourhoods including La Boca to see the beautiful coloured buildings and the home to the Boca Juniors football club. Unfortunately the season is over, so no chance to see a game when we return in January. While touring La Boca Darwin found an outdoor soccer field with kids playing. He found an older adult standing there so went up and chatted to him. He runs a soccer school for homeless kids. Darwin donated some money to the cause and started to chat about our time in Africa with the soccer balls. He was impressed with our social attitude and exchanged emails.
We ended our tour on Florida Avenue which is the hub of tourist shopping. We found the Marriott Hotel we will be staying at when we return and it is on Florida Avenue as well, so we will be in the heart of leather shopping heaven. We don’t have much room in our backpacks so won’t be bringing much back, but it will be fun to shop around this area.
Mattias dropped us off at a local restaurant but you could not smoke inside, so Kim asked if we could find another spot outside. We walked around a few blocks and then found this little cafe on a side street. What a find. It was one of the Argentina bar-b-que style restaurants and was very quaint inside. Then the menu arrived and we could not understand a thing. As we were trying to figure out what beef/chicken meant, food was delivered to the table next to us. The guy had what looked like a rib eye steak, so I asked him to point on the menu what he ordered. Well, he spoke English which was great, so he helped us out with our choice of food and then the waiter realized we were tourists and gave us English menus. The man beside us was from Dallas and now lives in Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, the next table over hears us talking English and they ask where we are from. When we replied Alberta, the one guy informs us that he used to be a park ranger at Waterton Park. So we had a good chat with him (Ray) and Eduardo, a local business man who owns an antique store around the corner.
Our food arrived and it was delicious. Sausage sandwiches and chicken breast grilled to perfection. Our bill for 6 beer, 2 glasses of wine and food was $40USD. When we got up to leave, the waiter brought over shot glasses and served us Limongellico (a great liqueur). It was a very nice gesture. As we got up to leave the second time, we noticed the rain and decided we had to remain inside for awhile. We were in the middle of a major rain storm that lasted 1 ½ hours. The waiters were at the front door ready to brush the water away as it came into the restaurant. Within ½ hour the water filled the gutters and spilled onto the sidewalks another 6-7”. The rain fell so hard the cruise ship had to bring up the gangways and put on the thrusters to avoid pushing the ship onto the dock. Calgary would have been a disaster if we had this kind of rain that quickly. According to the locals, they get this kind of weather 6 days a year and we lucked out to see it (i know we still have our disaster management eyes on).
So we did not get to do any shopping but had a great time in the cafe. We talked further with Ray and Eduardo and discovered that Ray is now an artist specializing in sculptures and lives four months a year in Buenos Aires. He has a one bedroom apartment in a great area of the city for $800/month everything included. He claims it is very cheap to live in the city and really enjoys the people. Eduardo has some of Ray’s works on display at his antique shop, so Darwin and I promised to return in January. Eduardo agreed to have a map ready for us of places to visit, so that should be fun.
We finally made it back to the ship and everyone had stories to share about the rains that afternoon.
We finished the trip with two days at sea. It was nice to relax and get prepared for the next part of our journey. The last day of the cruise was a gorgeous sunny afternoon, so we had a balcony party and drank up the last of the booze we smuggled (cruise ship s confiscate any booze you bring on so they can charge you) on the ship and packed up for the next day. When we went to dinner for our final meal with attended to by Ignacio and Mabel (our favourite waiting staff in the dining room). We talked more about our extended travels and discovered that Ignacio will be returning to Chile on January 17th. That is the same time we will be back in Chile, so we agreed to meet up. It will be great if we can make this happen as he would be alot of fun to meet his family.