Finally on the road again, open end for now.. The flight was booked rather short notice. Preparations basically non-existent. Now I know that it would’ve been good to bring large quantities of cash into Argentina because they’re nice enough to charge you 100 peso for each 1000 peso that you retrieve. I also didn’t know how hot it would be in Buenos Aires.. My optimistic guestimate of 28 degrees turned out to only be off by 10 degrees. But this seems to be unusual. I’ve had Argentinians confirm that this heat is not normal and that noone can tolerate it.
Nevertheless I set out to discover my environment right away.. Meaning with only five hours delay, as that is the delay the plane ended up having due to fog. Instead of arriving at 8am, we arrived at 1pm… By the time I was checked in in my hotel it was past 3pm and not much time was left. I walked around and already stumbled one of the top must-see sights in Buenos Aires: The casa rosada, residence of the president.. or at least where he works. The building is from the end of the 19th century and probably the most interesting fact is that the color is achieved by mixing chalk with ox blood.
I was not very impressed. This is a theme that’ll be recurring in Buenos Aires. A large city, partially a beautiful city.. but there isn’t really anything that sparked my curiosity or wowed me. But maybe that’s because I’m a country girl at heart. I ended up walking quite far, down to Puerto Madero the formerly very bad, now very expensive quarter full of luxury penthouses and expensive restaurants.. And I must say that I found the skyscrapers there to be the most appealing part of Buenos Aires. The Design is new and versatile and not just a copy of what might’ve been seen in Europe. Behind the Puerto Madero starts an ecological reserve. The insects there make so much noise that three steps in, you could already no longer hear the city. Since it was the end of the dry season the march was dry, the lake at best a swamp. But everything is green, so green. If you walk further you actually reach a point where you can see the rio de la plata. To be honest, the color didn’t really look silver to me.. More like mud. It didn’t smell like silver either.. However it is HUGE, From most view points I could not see the other border even though the sky was clear.
The next day, I decided to check out the other top sights of Buenos aires, el caminito in La Boca. La Boca has a reputation of being dangerous, so I went with a Spanish girl I’d met the day before. It turns out she’s a Spanish teacher, so my Spanish has been improving drastically. We went to La Boca and visited the street, which was a couple of houses painted in varying colors. Again the most appealing part, to me, was the Art displayed at the bus station, rather than the actual “top sight”. The day went on and we checked a few more of the top sights, el teatro colon, el congreso.. All built around roughly the same time about 150 years ago. All in a style I don’t find particularly appealing.
What I did notice though is that Buenos Aires feels like hipster central. Most tourist maps indicate if a restaurant serves gluten-free meals and most do. In addition about 30% of the food stores are taken up by protein shakes, powders and other meal substitutes. In addition I’ve seen more joggers here running in the scathing sun, than I see on a nice spring day at home (also hipster capital). Does that mean that everybody is incredibly fit and pretty? Definitely not. Unfortunately, as everywhere else, those most inclined to undress are those least pleasant to look up. I have, however learned that the tattoo of your mum’s face on your right breast is a real thing for Argentinians.. I did not dare to ask how his wife might feel about this.