Saturday, February 16, 2008

First Days, Buenos Aires, Spanish blunders, etc.

Mara and I arrived in Buenos Aires on Tuesday morning after flying through the night from Philly via Chicago. Once we landed we hopped on a public bus. The great part was that it only cost 1 Argentinian Peso ($1 USD = 3 Pesos) and we were able to see a lot of the city. The downside was that it took almost three hours but all the same a great introduction to Buenos Aires. We had booked a hostel in Palermo which is the Italian section of the city, it is full of pizza places, beautiful parks and fashionable shopping areas (we had no idea at the time). We spent the rest of the day wandering around the city looking at the architecture and taking everthing in.
We then spent both Wednesday and Thursday walking around as well, almost magically landing upon great sites.

On Thursday and Friday night we stayed with a couch surfer, Florencia. It was a great experience to be able to talk to an Argentine and see what life is like. She lived in a typical middle class neighborhood just blocks from her parents, spending her days working for an engineering company as assistant. On Thursday night I was able to go out to dinner with her and her friends it was a great glimpse into Argentine life seeing their interactions and social customs. We ate dinner at 12 am and stayed up until 4 am, they all had to work the next day too! She was great guide and we hope to be able to meet up with her again. (Couch surfing for those who don´t know is when people allow travellers to sleep at their homes, meet up for a coffee or even get a tour of a city for free, check it out by going to www.couchsurfing.com)

Buenos Aires in my firs four days is unlike any other city I have travelled to. It has such a sense of Spanish and Italian culture and architecture at times while also maintaining a feeling of latin America. For example in Buenos Aires, dinner is normally eaten after 10 p.m. most nights for young people it is not until 11 or even 12. The architecture is unique in South America, I literally cannot believe I am not in Rome many times. While at the same time there are many things Latin American such as the prices and many of the foods such as Empanadas.

Below is a street in the section of Buenos Aires called La Boca, it is famous for brightly colored buildings. Originally settled by Italians from Geneo, it is a traditional middle class neighborhood.
Casa Rosada is the building which houses the executive branch of the Argentine government. There are almost always protests outside in the Plaza directly infront of it making for an exciting site. It is also a central public transit location which we found great for people watching.
A church that Mara and I found nearby our hostel, it is definitly not the ornate nor the most famous we have seen just one that caught my eye, maybe it was because it was our first day or light. At any rate I liked it.
Correo Central is below and it is another government building, it is one of the original. I have been told by some that Evita Peron used to give speeches off one of the balconies but I am not totally sure.
This is the subway or the subte. I found it to be the best way to get around B.A. It was cheap, fast and a great way to see the non-tourist side of the city. This train took us out to Florencia"s (i cannot find the apostrophe on this keyboard). The train cars on her line were still wooden with great bech seats also made out of wood, nothing like the orange line for all you SEPTA goers, sorry!
A street corner near the Plaza de Mayo in the center of the city.
Mara, myself and Florencia out to dinner in Palermo at an Italian restaurant, many of the dishes had the same names but were prepared and served differently than at home. It was still a great meal.

Next up on the adventures of Pia and Mara is Uruguay. We are staying for the week and then heading back to Buenos Aires for some more Argentine adventures, stay tuned!

2 comments:

susan said...

Pia! Great to hear from you! Sounds as if you and Mara are "doing SA" the right way--go local! Not sure but I thought Eva Peron gave speeches from Casa Rosada but knowing her, she probably gave speeches at both, plus more.....we stayed at La Posada del Faro in José Ignacio, in Uruguay. VERY small hotel..very laid back looking...but used for models and photo shoots. we ate every day at La Huella, a parador (beachfront.GOOD food...not cheap cheap ...like Martha's vineyard or Hamptons crowd. As you probably know, it is their high season and the nite clubs are more in punta de esta.

In BA, don't forget Eva's grave, it is interesting to hear the history. If you go to the museums you will see different /specific paintings that we don't have here /frieda kahlo/diego/matta and other artists that you might not know but are famous there. Calafate in Patagonia is a tourist dump but not much else you can do except get a good recommendation from a local for a camp area. I shot Bono Feb 14 at Sotheby's, where he sang acapella (sp). Michael and I had a great time looking at the paparrazzi zoo. Hey Mara! I finshed the tree ("The Giant") www.susangrayart.com...be safe travel well xxsg

Marcy said...

You are excellent at this blogging thing, friend! It's so nice to see pics and hear stories already. Maybe if I really use my imagination, I'll be able to live vicariously through you and your travels. You are so brave, and I'm so proud of you. Love, love, love! xoxoxo, Marcy