Back to the big smoke

4th March – 12th March 2013

After 10 days of relaxation and yoga bliss, it was time to make my way back into the big smoke. I was ready to head back into the madness of Buenos Aires and meet up with Corey after 2 and half months apart. We met up at the hostel and caught up on all of our adventures over the past couple of weeks. I was craving a big fat steak after my vegan diet stint so it was out to dinner to taste one of Argentina’s famous steaks! And this country definitely lives up to its steak reputation! So much that we woke up at 5.30am with stomach pains from our meat overload.

The next few days which followed entailed us wandering San Telmo’s cobbled stones streets, capturing some of the most beautiful afternoon light leaking through the city. Drinking coffee, eating steak, catching up with new friends from my Eco park adventures for picnics, playing ping-pong and Tango lessons. Also taking in some of Latin America’s art culture, visiting Malba Latin American Art Gallery and seeing Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s work, two of most favourite artist’s I studied in high school.

We stayed with a friend of Corey’s Jose who lived in a beautiful apartment in San Isidro, a leafy suburb about 40 minutes from the heart of Buenos Aires. After only one day of staying at Jose’s, I managed to flood the upstairs bathroom, which leaked through the floorboards and walls down to the next floor. It even leaked through the light socket. Corey wasn’t very impressed! But then again he had only done it a few hours earlier; only I had managed to flood 3 rooms and two levels instead of just the bathroom like Corey. Jose’s apartment was loaded with heaps of cool art décor and despite the flooding, felt very homely staying at his place for the week. Jose is one of Corey’s mates he met when he was traveling through Costa Rica 3 years ago. He is very chilled guy who shares a love of surfing. It was nice to stay with a local and get some insight to BA.

Whilst on our Buenos Aires adventures, we spent a lovely day in Tigre. A town amongst the rivers just outside of Buenos Aires. This beautiful green and leafy town was full of colourful old school fishing boats that cruised along the intertwining rivers of Tigre. As soon as we hopped off the train I fell in love with the cute little suburb. We wandered down the waterfront markets and checked out all the old boat dock feeling like we were back in time especially when I spotted this amazing 1950’s style delivery truck. I stopped to take photo of the truck and the old Argentinian man pulled over in the middle of the road and asked me if I wanted to jump up in the driver’s seat for a photo, hell yes! So I jumped up in the driver’s seat with the biggest, cheesiest grin ever! We continued on meandering the streets of Tigre, heading back to the wharf to have a coffee and catch a boat ride up along the rivers. The rivers were lined with beautiful Argentinian mansions where everyone commutes via boat waiting on their jetty’s to jump aboard the many boats zooming up and down the river. We jumped off the boat at Tres bocas (translating into English ‘Three mouths’), where the 3 river mouths met and we walked along the waterfront through beautiful dangling willows before making our way back to San Isidro. After finally getting home and getting ready, it was time to jump back on the train into the city for a night of Tango. In true Corey and Emy style, we were running late again! We finally got to ‘La Cathedral’ only an hour late to find we were just in time for the last Tango lesson of the night. So we spotted the girls Erin, Jeanne, Sahel and Jo and joined in on the tango fun. Corey and I picked it up pretty nicely regardless of us constantly being trodden on or taking out the other numerous gringos testing out their tango. Poor Corey, for some reason I took the role as the leader. I think my eagerness got the better of me! After an hour or so of Tango we were absolutely starving not having eaten since 2 that afternoon and it was now nearly midnight. The vodka’s were hitting my empty stomach a little too hard. So we downed three meals between the two of us and we were happy little vegemite’s once again. We decided the night wasn’t over yet, someone had an awesome idea to continue drinking and hit the Buenos Aires nightlight. Someone else had the not so brilliant idea to walk to the bars and clubs which happened to be at least 10 blocks away! After nearly two hours of walking it was time to give up on the drinking idea and jump in a taxi home.

Our next adventure which followed, was the sunny Sunday markets in San Telmo. For endless blocks, the streets of San Telmo on a Sunday are lined with stalls, Captain Jack Sparrows, delicious Argentinian treats, musicians and tantalising Tango performances. The vibe of the markets are a definite must with the streets lined with local Art, photography, fashion and antiques, a market with a artisan influence. After wandering the markets for hours, it was out to dinner with Jose and his mate Edu. When we stopped at the toll booth, the line up of cars were all honking their horns repetitively, to the point were it was extremely annoying. When Corey asked Jose why they were all honking their horns, he told us that if they honk for long enough because the queue is too long, the boom gates open and everyone gets to go through the toll for free! Sure enough 5 minutes later all the boom gates opened and about 8 lanes of traffic poured through the tolls for free. Mind you it’s a saving of 2 pesos equivalent to 40c Aussie.

Jose wanted to take us to an authentic Argentina BBQ restaurant for dinner run by Italians. But it was shut, so he took us the another one but it was shut also. By this time it was midnight so everyone was starving. As we drove around in circles, we drove past the Casino which was this extravagant building with a cruise liner docked at the back of the building. Apparently it’s illegal to gamble in Argentina (or maybe just in the providence of Buenos Aires) so the Argentinian’s have come up with the brilliant idea to have the entrance to the casino on land and the actual casino on the boat! Problem solved! We eventually found a wonderful steak restaurant after getting a Buenos Aires by night tour. Jose and Edu ordered the meat dishes for us, showcasing some of Argentina’s finest meats and red wine. Was delicious. Chorizo, blood sausage, veal and a shit load of other meat. Very delicious!! After dinner, Corey wanted to check out Alvear Palace which is listed as a must see in 1000 places before you die. So Jose took us to this extremely fancy place where the drinks prices reflected the impressive building. It was like something out of a movie with marble sculptures and columns, very European inspired architecture. As we sat down to enjoy a coffee, Jose confessed to us this wasn’t the palace Corey wanted to see. He had got it confused with another palace. According to Jose this palace was better! Of course it was, his uncle had owned it previously about 6 years ago. Secretly, I think Jose just wanted to show off his Uncle’s old palace.

In our last couple of days in Buenos Aires we squeezed in some more meat and a power tourist session of Recoleta Cemetery as we had half an hour to share before we had to catch the bus to Bariloche. Recoleta Cemetery is one of the most amazing cemetery’s I’ve ever been to and I’ve now had the opportunity to visit this place twice. The cemetery is smack, bang in the middle of Buenos Aires with all the graves of many notable Argentinians dating back to the 1732. All the vaults are above ground and housed by beautifully designed architectural Mausoleums. Absolutely stunning. After our quick tour of the cemetery, we collected our bags from where we had left them at Jose’s sister’s design studio. This design studio was so cool that it inspired me to open my own one day. Monica was a textile designer and she shared the studio with a friend who was a fashion designer. The decked out studio was amazing, my design studio dream. After drooling over Monica’s design studio, it was back to the bus station and off on our next adventure, Bariloche Patagonia, Argentina!!

Picnics in the park
Picnics in the park
Malba Art Museum – Antonio Berni ‘Demonstration’
Tarsila Do Amaral ‘Abaporu’
Diego Rivera ‘Portrait of Ramon Gomez de la Serna’
Frida Kahlo ‘Self-portrait with monkey and parrot’
San Telmo
Afternoon delights – streets of San Telmo
Cruising the rivers of Tigre
Tres Bocas – wandering through willows
Eco park crew at Tango night
Flamenco show
Cello performance
Cello performance
San Telmo markets
Maté cups
Maté cups
Seeing angels
Seeing angels
Recoleta cemetery

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