A friend and I had signed up to help with a research project on penguin feeding in the Patagonia region of Argentina last fall but it fell through because the activity level was too rigorous for me. We were really disappointed for a few minutes, until we decided to go anyway (everything was paid for) and take a couple of tours on our own. How great it turned out to be because it allowed us free time to explore Buenos Aries, both on foot and on a bus tour.
I’m not a city type of gal, so I was intrigued by how people live – both because the culture is so different than my North American culture and because they are city dwellers. I have always been fascinated by doors. At my dot on the map, I have photographed doors but most look “common” and because my professional background is in mental health I pretty much understand the full range of human experiences that go on behind those closed doors.
But when visiting a different culture, I can’t make those assumptions. Yes, there are probably more similarities than differences in how we live, but I have a hard time getting my mind around that. The doors look so different, so life behind them must also be different. Right?
Here are some doors to stimulate your imagination – especially if you don’t live in Buenos Aries.
Here is a link to see more posts about doors.
I am not going to attempt a long essay on Argentinian politics. I wouldn’t even attempt to do so on US politics. But we did have the opportunity to experience some of the political excitement first
I first found out that there was a presidential election when I was having a late lunch on Saturday (because it is less shameful than having an early supper at 5:00 in a country that eats dinner after 8:00). The woman at the front desk at the small hotel where I was staying in the neighborhood of Palermo directed me to this wonderful bar and restaurant because of the good food and they would accept US dollars, giving a very good (she called it a Black Market rate) exchange. This was my first day in Buenos Aries and I hadn’t exchanged any money.
As I was finishing up a very good meal, the waiter who spoke English came to my table and apologized that I wouldn’t be able to get more wine (or any alcohol) after 8:00 because of the Presidential election on Sunday.
Sunday I moved to a different hotel where I met up with my friend. Our hotel was next door to the Intercontinental Hotel, a couple stars up from the one we were staying in. On Monday, while we were waiting for a tour bus to go on a tour of Buenos Aries, we noticed strange things “going-on” next door. Some people were being allowed to enter the parking area and others were being turned around. There were important-looking people milling around – or at least people who had been given the job of determining who was “in” and who was “out.” We were told that one of the presidential candidates had booked his after-the-ballots-are-counted party at the hotel.
The tour bus let us off on a major street close to our hotel, which gave us the opportunity for a little walk-about and a light meal. As we were walking towards our hotel, we noticed a crowd gathering with banners flying. Drums were being beat (something like Scottish drums calling armies to battle) and people were singing. It was a peaceful crowd with people of all ages, including some children. They were singing their songs in Spanish (or maybe it was just one song all night long) so I didn’t understand the words – but they were words of patriotism and success. The meaning was deeply felt.
We were tired from our overnight flights, so we retired to our room that overlooked the street that ran in front of both hotels, with the party being held between the buildings. This was the “out” party of the supporters who weren’t invited “in.” But they had lots of energy and even more enthusiasm. They pounded and sang well into the
night early morning hours. They were celebrating that their candidate had tied another candidate and there would be a run-off election. Maybe I’ll get an invitation to that party, too.
As we were walking around Buenos Aries, we stepped inside this church for some quiet reflection.
Yes, we had yet another change in plans. We thought we had changed the new hotel room for tonight instead of tomorrow so we could go to Iguazu Falls for an extra night. When we arrived this morning at the new hotel they didn’t have the change and were full for the night. We were without a room – so we put our heads together to do some problem solving. We ended up checking if the first hotel I stayed in before Lynn got here had a vacant room.
They did and we are now staying in Palarmo Place in the Palarmo neighborhood. Lynn loves this family-centered neighborhood and we had a delicious lunch that went on forever. And the unexpected continues to happen. The manager and the day clerk are going to a folk ballet (free!) put on for local residents and they asked us if we wanted to go along. The manager of the hotel had been a professional dancer as her last job so she knows some of the dancers. Can you believe the chances of that happening all in one day?
I am getting a backlog of photographs of this beautify city so here is another gallery. I wish I could also send you the Spanish words and bird songs that float past as I walk the streets.
Motorcycles and cars seem to share the road.
No caption needed.
Waiting at the curb.
Blending of modern and historic.
Pure bliss as he washed his back with his t-shirt.
And another mural.
I have really enjoyed my time in Buenos Aries. Because of a drastic change in plans (originally Lynn and I were going to help with penguin research near Trelew, Argentina) we have had extra days in Buenos Aries. I stayed in two different hotels in very different neighborhoods and we took a city bus tour in addition to doing some walking.
But I don’t know how to tell you about Buenos Aries – probably because there isn’t just one city, there are multiple neighborhoods that make up the city and each has its own personality. I am also not a city type of person so the descriptive words don’t come naturally to me, not like they do when I am describing rural areas. So here is the visual that helped me fall in love with Buenos Aries.
In US we know Kentucky fried chicken and Chicago or NY pizza.
Lots of murals.
A national hero.
Have to love the balconies.
And more murals?
Oops, this could be anywhere in the world.
Professional dog walkers, but only in wealthiest neighborhoods.