BA First Impression
After a much needed night of rest we were out and about to see what San Telmo had to offer. Dog shit and run down buildings aside this old neighborhood has its charm. We lucked out and found a huge Sunday market that stretched out for blocks. Antiqued out we headed for the Palmero area, getting taken for a “tour” by our cab driver on the way. Not a great BA first Impression.
We browsed the shops for women’s sweaters as the previous night proved we were unprepared for the weather. Lunch and a bottle of vino later we made our way to a mutual friends bar. Sarah, a Vancouverite, is living the dream. Her and her brother own a cool little bar in one of the most trendiest places in BA. We chatted over drinks and then questioned her on where to eat Argentina beef and she pointed us in the right direction. After a few drinks we said we would meet up with her after diner and headed to La Cabrera, one of Buenos Aries best places for “asado.”
We were told it was expensive but worth the experience. This experience started with the hostess coldly saying that “Justin is my dogs name.” She followed this up by giving us champagne while we waited outside so the comment was quickly lost. After 30 minutes or so of waiting we found ourselves at a near by pub finishing off a couple bottles of vino. We would later find that this was not normal in BA. Sure they eat late and party until 7:00 am, it just doesn’t mean they drink until 7:00 am. Our having drinks before drinks before drinks before diner was a mistake. By the time we were seated we were all half (if not all the way) in the bag. Diner was still good and plentiful. Fried mozzarella, although tasty, was probably not necessary. The beef and the numerous side sauces and condiments that it came with was. It was all delicious but we were honestly not blown away. Alberta has spoiled us perhaps.
Bellies extremely full we headed back to Sarah’s bar for a few more drinks. We were treated to Fernet and coke, Argentina’s national drink of choice. This potent drink tastes like jagermister and leaves your mouth fuzzy. Sarahhad gone home to take a nap before meeting up with us, something necessary to stay alive in BA’s social scene. Alison and Justin had to tap out and I probably should have too but rallied and ended up hanging out at an exclusive bar (more like a house party) until 4:00 am. It was good times but couldn’t shake the fact that over half the people in the place did not have a drink in hand. I had one in each and clearly looked out of place. I remember looking at a couch with 4 hipster looking guys just sitting there looking bored yet still there. They were probably still there long after I left. I asked Sarah how does that work being a bar owner if no one drinks? “Its very, very hard. I rely mainly on ex-pats to pay my bills.” Full up on beef and boring hipsters we called it a night.
The next morning (afternoon) was rough. I had a food hangover while the rest were victims of the drink. We were not at our best.
Determined to see more than just empty wine bottles, we set out on a Justin led walking tour of BA. We strolled the streets taking in the interesting and amazing graffiti along the way. The sun decided to show up in what felt like months so we found ourselves recharging in its glow.
We continued to the centro of town and took in street side tango in front of the European influenced architecture. The tour ended with a ride on the oldest subway car in South America. This open window wooden ride would be the highlight of the day. Empanadas, wine and Fernet and coke followed.
The next day we were rested and organized enough to join a free walking tour of the Recoleta area. All of us had, at one time or another, taken a free walking tour in Europe and all enjoyed them. This one not so much. “This here is an old building. Someone owns it but I don’t know who. I like it though” was actually said by our guide. To be fair she was super nice and ended up helping us book our ferry for the following day to Uruguay, something we put off a little too long. She took us past things like the Israel embassy that was bombed in 92 and the Recoleta grave yard. Perhaps graveyard-ed out from NOLA we quickly paid our respects to Evita and moved on.
The tour with our guide ended at the giant metal flower that once opened and closed with teh sun but now sits motionless. Still neat though. After that the real walking began. We covered a lot of ground that day and made our way to the new area of Puerto Madero. It is to BA what Yaletown is to Vancouver, complete with Starbucks and plastic surgery. This recovered shipping yard now houses fancy condos, shops and restaurants. We sat and enjoyed the sun and took in a surprisingly popular BA pass time, rollerblading. Numerous guys were strutting their stuff. A lot of spinning and twirling was going on, all the while Jamiroquai “Canned heat” played in my head.
Back at the hostel for pre-dinner empanadas and vino. Clearly we had learned nothing. We met up with Sarah for diner at an all you can eat asado. It was a meat buffet. A table of Aussies next to us told us to pace ourselves. They had been there for 4 hours and were not done yet even though they all looked like they could pass out at the table. We feasted while listening to a take on BA life from a Canadians view. We played musical chairs with our dessert before calling it a night. We said our thanks and good byes to Sarah and tried to get a solid 2 hour sleep in before getting up for our ferry to Montevideo Uruguay. Justin’s night cap of straight fernet would later prove to be a very poor choice.