Friday, December 29, 2017

Buenos Aires: A Jesus Theme Park, the Ballet, and an Expensive Boat

Today was just jam packed with Argentine hoots. ¡Hoots!

Our apartment building had two antique elevators that you had to manually open and then close both the door and a gate before they would transport you. I haven't seen many like that since riding in the old little elevator that the elderly nuns used at the convent connected to my Catholic high school. It was a little creepy because you could see the doors and floors pass by the gate as you traveled. It made falling or getting stuck seem much more possible.

The hot fashion for women in Buenos Aires seems to be wearing really tall ugly sandals. Some of them are covered in metal studs like a punk rock affianados leather jacket. They are like if a geisha met Mad Max.

I was frequently sprinkled with water while walking along the streets of Buenos Aires. I hoped it was just condensation from air conditioners and not pee.

Our first Uber driver of the day was out of it. Swerved around, got honked at at several stoplights for not paying attention when it turned green, and incessantly fiddled with the AC the whole ride.

We picked a classy local place to wait outside of for Lydia's dad. Evan wanted to show us the Puerto Madero waterfront district. He's been to Buenos Aires a few times for like months each so we figured he'd know all the fun spots.

It was yet again hot as sin so we started off with some ice cream from Guapaletas.

The little ice cream bars came in tiny little carrying cases. Tee hee. It was actually pretty useful because once that ice cream hit the outside air it was dripping all over the place.

There was an old wooden warship docked there that I wanted to check out but as we neared the plank we saw a sign that read that the admission fee was $10. My inner cheapskate wasn't having any of that and we all agreed that that was too much for a look around on a boat. Later I read more about it in my guidebook and it turned out the price was 10 Argentinian pesos which is only like 50 cents. Blew it. Get your own damn currency symbol, Argentina!

The ARA Presidente Sarmiento

The experience reminded me a lot of strolling around the newly renovated grounds surrounding the St. Louis Arch: waterfront, skyscrapers, new landscaping, old ships. It's practically the same place.

Dear Saint Aloysius, bless my Powerade.

We strolled along the canal a bit but we started to melt and so we headed back towards the city center.

A giant Lionel Messi statue

In the US we have the White House, here they have the Pink House, or la Casa Rosada.

The pope is Argentine so unsurprisingly he's a pretty big deal here at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral. 

So far whenever I see these ceremonial soldiers I know they must be guarding something awesome. This time they were guarding the Mausoleum of General San Martín, liberator of Argentina. Wikipedia:

In 1880, the remains of General José de San Martín were brought from France and placed in a mausoleum, reachable from the right aisle of the church. The mausoleum was specially designed by French sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, with marble of various colours. The black sarcophagus is guarded by three life-size female figures that represent Argentina, Chile and Peru, three of the regions freed by the General. The mausoleum also has the remains of Generals Juan Gregorio de las Heras and Tomás Guido, as well as those of the Unknown Soldier of the Independence.

I turned to the wisdom of the guidebook to find a good place for lunch in that part of town. I felt kind of bad when there was a seriously long line at my choice, Cafe Tortini. I think everyone in our crew would agree it was worth the wait though.

I got the tostado especial Tortini which the menu described as "Tortini special toasted sandwich, ham, cheese, and tomato". I have an obscure mental illness where if I'm at a restaurant and there's something on the menu with that restaurant's name attached then I have to order it.

They're working on a cure but I'm not optimistic.

Hillary Clinton digs some Tortini too it looks like.

I'd been excited about visiting Tierra Santa, Argentina's Holy Land theme park since I read about it months ago. Well I was forced to stew in excitement a little bit longer as during this season the park didn't even open until 4 and we had arrived around 3.

I knew exactly how this guy felt.

We strolled around a bit to waste time but the hot sun was beating down on us. It was similar to when Jesus was tested by the Devil in the desert. The only small difference being that in my story Satan was like "bro it's kinda hot out, why don't we stop at that bar and have a craft beer?" and I was like "bro thou art a damn genius". And the devil's name was Brandon.

We be up in this roadside gym just workin on our fitness. He's my witness.

It was a really hot day which lended even more realism to a park full of animatronic jesus mannequins which really brought the Bible to life.

Not really. The figures were usually hilarious, with really dramatic faces or performing odd actions. 

There was a Jesusy-time dentist ripping a tooth with pliers out of the face of some dude tied to a chair. Why? I do not know.

One of the shepards present at the birth of sweet baby Jesus was body builder muscle bound. We posited that a nearby professional wrestling theme park must have closed and auctioned off their mannequins. Slate has a little article about the place and they also noticed the muscley goat herder.

In the olden days everyone hit the gym everyday.

Abracadabra hombres!

I will say I think they had the finest stick your head in a funny cutout hole signs that I've ever seen.

If accounting doesn't work out I think Brandon has a rewarding career as a water-wench ahead of him.

The sun was enough of a problem that we stuck to the shade as much as possible.

It was confusing because when we went to see the animatronic Last Supper we sat next to this woman baking bread in a massive oven which said "hot", but this was also where the AC units were which said "cool".

Some of the indoor exhibits were sort of like shows with lots of jerky robots saying discipley type stuff in dramatic Spanish.

Brandon would often get confused and real emotional and try to save the mannequin Jesuses (Jesi?) and I had to remind him that the scenes depicted events that happened thousands of years ago.

Nice try ark of the covenant, my face will stay unmelted today!

The Mount of Calvary had a giant animatronic Jesus rise out of it every half hour starting after we had to leave. Lame! Luckily we got an English brochure so I could use my vivid imagination:

No matter where you are. In Tierra Santa you will always witness the appearance of an impressive 18 meter tall Jesus with 36 mechanical movements. The music, the special effects and Jesus blessing everybody create the ideal atmosphere to live a magical experience in the Park.

Sam experiencing the ideal atmosphere. He didn't wear sunblock and the hot sun of Argentine Jerusalem took its toll. Surprisingly they weren't selling sunscreen anywhere in the park.

Requisite pictures of the Pope were near the exit.

We swung by and picked up this fabulous picture on our way out the door.

There was no time to spare. We had a date with the Nutcracker at the Teatro Colon.

We bought standing room only tickets but I still think we got a solid view. 

There was a funny amount of shushing at the theatre. Some random old man with a stick up his butt was trying to tell Lydia some rule about her cellphone and he got shushed up as well which I enjoyed.

I feel like I could tell it was an expensive/quality performance based on the large number on ballerinas on stage at the same time.

Them sugarplum fairies know how to party.

The first Argentine steak I ordered was a travesty so I was anxious to try another one. Plus although that restaurant sold steaks it was not a "steak restaurant", known as parrillas in this part of the world. So we went to Parrilla Peña. Hurray!

It's funny I've heard like 8,000 "waiter in another country was rude" stories but they're always nice to me. Sucks to suck.

Argentina's restaurants have an unfortunate habit which I learned to hate during my days in Japan: when you sit down they'll set some food in front of you that you didn't order then add it to your bill as a "table charge". This time it was delicious empanadas though so I didn't complain. I think they were so good that one of us ordered more of them as their meal.

We hit the streets for a little nightlife.

When we found a bar called Milion with a large portrait of a man with a steak knife in his chest I knew we'd found a keeper.

The bartenders were spending a lot of time on each cocktail. It took forever to get one but once you did it was good times. For this Manhattan the guy painstakingly swished a sugary mixture around until it coated the glass.

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