Our last day in Buenos Aires and the last Spanish conversation for now... (must get back into when I return, I am just beginning to remember so much of it!) It rained for the first time this trip... and we escaped 2 attempts at having our pockets picked. One in busy Florida when I felt my backpack being touched and whipped round with a plastic bag in hand, knocking the person behind who feigned surprise and then disappeared. Now I know you shouldn't wear backpacks in busy shopping malls so I have been mostly wearing it on my front in this situation... thank goodness I was on my guard this time. The next time was on the Subte (the underground train) which we caught because of the rain. A group of business looking types in their 40s were standing near us and when my partner and I didn't get on the first crowded train neither did they. When we got on the second train they pushed and shoved - even though there were only half a dozen people getting on. My partner had his hand on his wallet as he had just decided not to get it out and I had my backpack on my front... they didn't succeed, though another passenger asked if we had been robbed when the potential thieves jumped off the train before it left the station!!
Last time we were in B.A. 2 friends were robbed... we are glad that this time we were not robbed twice!!
Our last meal was at Brasserie Petanque, in San Telmo. A delightful French brasserie serving French food, including Boeuf Bourgignon, Creme Caramel and French Onion Soup. You'll find it on Defensa - which still has the farole lights and cobblestones.
Next morning was a horribly early start to catch the plane to Lima, then onto Cusco. Most of the day was spent travelling - and we arrived at Yucay and the extremely comfortable and well-appointed Sonestas Posadas Del Inca in time for a rest, a Pisco sour and an early dinner. Most of us were feeling so tired we weren't sure whether we were suffering altitude sickness or just in need of a good night's sleep.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The weather in Buenos Aires just keeps coming up warm and sunny and Sunday was no exception. After a late start we headed off to the San Telmo markets passing the Pink Palace - place of famous balcony where Evita addressed the crowd. (We 'forgot' it was open to the public only on Sundays and passed by... if you get a chance don't miss it!).
Markets are big business around the world these days and if like me you occasionally visit one of those in your home town you will be used to seeing many stalls selling the same stuff. Same here. Table after table selling the same tango souvenirs, scarves, useless knicknacks, hats and much more...
We found a great little restaurant - Brasserie Petanque - and stopped for a plate of Canard de Confit (what else in the middle of the day? it was delicious). Then after buy a picture we took a side street and before long found ourselves at the Museum of the Tunnels. Fascinating piece of Buenos Aires' history that the authorities seem to know little about having discovered this network of tunnels probably built 200 years earlier under the city, in the 1840s.
We walked too much to dance that night, so had coffee with El Kangaru and went to bed!
Monday it was Spanish lesson... I'm getting there, but it will take the rest of my life I think to be able to hold a conversation with the man or woman in the street! Still I continue to work on it - and have made resolution to continue conversation when I return home.
In the afternoon took a trip out to Palermo then a nap! Enjoyed Al Carbon in Reconquista so much last time that 3 of us headed off there for a superb meal of steak, lamb, risotto and a delicately light and delicious lemon foam with raspberry coulis - all washed down with a Malbec...and a free glass of champers! The taxi driver knew Club Gricel - which was quite a hike - and we arrived about 10. The joint was jumping - we found our new friend, and our old - and a table. It is great returning to these milongas after almost 7 years absence. This one is in another superb venue with a great floor, though it was very crowded. Just by chance a Sydney milonguero who moved overseas 4 years ago passed our table - and it was wonderful to catch up, dance again and reconnect. Home after midnight - I just can't stay up till 4 am! I need to fill my days as well as my night - and today Tuesday is our last full day in BA this trip!
Monday, April 12, 2010
Our private bus takes us out past the domestic airport, Aeroparque Jorge Newbery and the brick, wire and cardboards slums known as the villas miserias (literally miserable towns) and into the Argentinian countryside. It is a wide green and flat landscape, with businesses and houses beside the main road - the better neighbourhoods, as in any city, are away from the highway. An hour and a half outside Buenos Aires we arrive at our Estancia. Here some of us will ride horses, some will experience a ride in a buckboard - not for the first time is it a reminder of how much padding one needs and how uncomfortable was this form of travel when it was all one had. This visit is on our itinerary and we are all looking forward to a day in the country, lunch and learning something about life on the properties of the gauchos.
Lunch is an asado (bbq) - of course! The Argentinian barbecue is a big production - sausages, beef and chicken are spread across the racks above the coals and the meal is also big.
This Estancia has a farmhouse set up as a museum of the 19th and early twentieth century with all the domestic aids and household goods as they would have been. For the cooks among us the kitchen is a fascinating record of the times.
After lunch the gauchos show off their skills rounding up the horses, racing for a ring for the lady of their choice and displaying their skills as horsemen.
We head home in the middle of the afternoon - in time for a quick nap and to get ready for tonight's milonga which is Milonga de los Consagrados. This milonga is held in another of the beautiful dance halls on the first floor of an old building. Packed with dancers, mixed tables and women and men lining each side of the floor, this is another ideal milonga for those who love the music of the Golden Age, dancing with the milongueros and enjoying their company. It runs from mid afternoon officially until
10 pm but we are still there and dancing after 11. A taxi ride back to the hotel (grand sum of about $4, a coffee in the hotel cafe (which is open all night!) and welcome sleep!
On the way home in the taxi I think about the friend who decided not to come with us partly because she was told she would not get any dances! This comes to mind because another friend, El Kanguru, told me as I was leaving that he never goes to the late night milongas because the chicas (young women) do not dance with men of his age. The women in our group have all danced with the local milongueros - and generally, we are getting just as many dances as we would at the milongas in Sydney. Which makes me think that it is the milongas that you go to that dicate whether you dance, not the fact that you are an unknown tourist dancer.