Oh how we will miss Buenos Aires! Our days have mostly been spent walking miles and miles around the city to different parks each day. We find a sunny spot in some soft grass and read. Then we typically find a cute cafe and settle in to do some more reading. Then off to buy groceries and home to make dinner, likely with a skype session to connect with friends or family. It’s been pretty darn lovely here.
The architecture is unique and whimsical, some streets look as if they’re straight out of Italy. Palm trees dot the parks and parakeets hop around as numerous as squirrels in the far off land of the US. Tiny local grocers and butchers are on every block.
And dogs. Everywhere dogs. Porteños love their dogs.
We loved visiting La Recoleta Cemetery. It’s the resting place of many a famous (rich) Argentine (presidents of Argentina, Nobel Prize winners, the founder of the Argentine Navy and a granddaughter of Napoleon, to name a few). And we, like everyone else, hunted around to find the hidden and unremarkable tomb of Eva (Evita) Perón. But mainly, we just loved wandering through the endless maze of tombs. Some recent and ornate, some towering but forgotten. This place made me think lots of thoughts: How much of the money to build these could have been invested in schools and other social services? Why maintain these elaborate tombs instead of carrying on these people’s memories in more sustainable ways? Stubborn weeds and vines pop out of ancient, cracked stone, reminding us of new life in a quiet, peaceful place that’s determined to hold onto the dead. [ More photos from Nate ]
We also spent a lot of time sitting in parks and reading. We download Boston Public Library books to our Kindles and we just can’t get enough of reading good books in the sunshine.
We enjoyed some incredible food in Buenos Aires, too. Though there isn’t much exotic food here besides asado, which is grilled meat. Lots of it. Including glands and boiled pig’s blood. We ate these with friends who weren’t always forthcoming about what they were exactly (but we love them anyway). We also had the best hot dogs of our lives. Sorry, Spikes. The best burgers at Burger Joint (second only to Salt in Ipswich, MA). And some incredible tapas with friends among the hipsters of Palermo.
We also loved the company of our AirBnB host’s cat, Fernandez. He reminded us of our sweet Prudence only a lot more feisty.
We also took a lovely and personalized tour of the National Library from our dear friend who works there! It was built in a similar design to Boston’s City Hall so it felt strangely familiar. And it’s a library. So I was in love.
After three weeks in BsAs, we’ve also noticed some interesting tidbits we thought we’d share:
- Pomelo gaseosa is a thing. Grapefruit soda. Available everywhere and punch-you-in-the-mouth delicious. Actually, they just really love their grapefruit on everything. Grapefruit and chicken in a salad? Done.
- Voting is mandatory. When 17 year olds vote for the first time, the whole polling center cheers. When I said to our host, “Wow, that makes me wish the US had as much respect for democracy.” Her response: “Yeah. Well, you know, dictatorship. So we’re pretty pumped about elections here”.
- Boludos (meaning, essentially, “big balls”) can be a term of endearment. Or not.
- Kisses and hugs are standard. Even if you don’t know the person, you will be getting them and expected to give them back.
- Midnight coffee with friends is a thing. It’s a cozy, wonderful time to get philosophical before bed.
- A submarino is a thing. A giant glass of hot milk with a chocolate bar on the side for the purpose of throwing it in said hot milk and consuming with joy.
- Kids in white lab coats. Everywhere. At first they looked like a ton of little doctors that got out of school around 4pm. Still don’t get it.
- BsAs is said to be a “city that turns it’s face from the river”, which is interesting as Boston is exactly the opposite. The river is kind of “just there” near most parts of the city. It’s not built up, people aren’t drawn to it. We ate at a food truck one night there and listened to the frogs but that’s about as crazy and us-and-the-river ever got.
- News programs are interpreted into sign language! I loved watching the interpreter in the bottom corner box as we tried to figure out what’s happening in the local news.
- Speaking of sign language, we came to know there’s some universal gestures most Argentines use. Such as “be careful” (touch below your right eye and tilt head down) and “I have no idea” (flicking your fingers out from under your chin. Typically known as a much more crude gesture in many places).
And finally, travel tip for fellow frizzy-haired friends: when you have olive oil to use up, put it on your dry hair for a few hours and use a blow dryer to help your hair gulp it up. Then shampoo and condition as usual. Turns that thirsty, tired, frizz into some happy, healthy curls until the next time you need to finish a bottle of olive oil before getting on a bus/plane/train/donkey.
In a few hours we’re off on an 18 hour bus ride. Then another 7 hours on a different bus. Then we cross the border into Bolivia. Then another 7 hours on a train. But this is where we’re heading next, so we think it will be worth it.