Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Today we had a flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina to catch but we were able to squeeze in one last early Chilean adventure beforehand. Brandon was too slow getting out of bed and we had to leave him behind for this one. As the hotel room door closed I whispered to him "I will remember you, will you remember me?"

I'm going to be sad when we leave here.

Mailboxes and fire hydrants are always wildly different country to country. It's like a rule.

Our mission's main objective was only available in the mornings so we couldn't have taken care of it earlier. Locally known as "café con piernas", or coffee with legs, it's pretty much a coffee Hooters that you go to before work. The ones we read about were so seedy that they black out the windows like a strip club. The one we chose, Cafe Haiti, was much classier but had a definite Trump faux glitzy style to it. The place was covered in mirrors which I assume was for the purpose of creeping on the poor waitresses. Luckily they had hot cocoa so I didn't have to stand there empty handed. I still don't really do coffee. Zoe's drink came with cream in it which just ruined her vegan morning.

It was a pretty damn fancy hot cocoa, I'll give them that. I was eating thick whipped cream for a while before I could take my first sip.

By the time we made it to the Central Market we were out of time so it was good that there wasn't anything there that we wanted to buy.

We then headed to the airport to be catapulted through time and space to Argentina in a ritual that is still pretty disorienting even after all that practice.

I've burnt my last free night of Ritz-Carlton splendor. Time for someone to sign up for another credit card!

At the airport I treated my crew to some lounging, as is my custom.

Seems like a good opportunity for an Indiana Jones air travel montage.

Buenos Aires is really a gem of a place. It's not really fair to compare it to other cities in South America because it feels so European. I hope that the reason I like it isn't because I'm boring and it's just more culturally similar to what I'm used to.

In any case it's a place of variety. Many buildings were sporting those French domes on top. There were cool statues and landmarks scattered all over the place. Buildings situated on street corners also sometimes had cool rounded edges which I thought was fun. It was already clear that this was not the rice and beans for every meal Latin America I've been enduring thus far.

I was amused to see this giant Stranger Things 2 billboard. I can already tell I'm going to like these people.

Lydia's dad Evan booked us an Airbnb in the Recoleta neighborhood, like a block away from the famous cemetery where Evita now rests. I'm a rotten, lazy person so I'm going to borrow a description of the neighborhood from Wikipedia:

Recoleta is a strollable, affluent area known for Paris-style townhouses, lavish former palaces and posh boutiques. A main attraction is Recoleta Cemetery, where national icons like Eva Perón rest in extravagant tombs. The National Museum of Fine Arts exhibits Argentine masterpieces, while the Recoleta Cultural Center offers cutting-edge temporary shows. Grassy Plaza Francia hosts a weekend handicrafts market.

The Airbnb was in an apartment building that had awesome old school elevators with the gates you have to pull closed.

The walled corner of Recoleta Cemetery was only like a block from the apartment and there was a little mall right across the street. I was impressed with the location. Only the top echelons of Argentinian society have the privilege of being buried so close to a TGI Friday's.

We quickly hit the supermarket which is just my favorite thing to do. I'd been itching for a good supermarket throughout Chile but my poor little wish had never come true. There were 4 of us and we'd be in Buenos Aires almost a week so it made sense to stock up on essentials anyway.

The most awesome thing at the supermarket were these whole, frozen, skinless goats that had each been sawed in half lengthwise. I was tempted to buy one then put it in one of my apartment-mates' beds while they were sleeping. Woulda been a real hoot I think.

All the food groups.

We snacked a bit at the apartment on a fruit cake sort of thing.

We wandered around a bit in a cool kid neighborhood to find some dinner.

Later in the night we went to the Esquina Carlos Gardel Tango Show touristy extravaganza. Lydia had wanted to see a flamenco show in Spain but it never worked out, so I supported the tango suggestion even though I wouldn't have chosen it myself.

Tango was born in Argentina and one origin story I heard was that Argentina was flooded with European immigrants but they were predominantly male. So the huge gender imbalance led to men dancing with each other while waiting their turn at brothels. I feel like that legend has some major plot holes but there you have it.

The show was really cool. One memorable part was all the close quarters spastic leg kicking going on. It seemed like this would be a painful artform to practice. The live band was on a lit up balcony above and behind the stage. When a band only segment of the show was happening the balcony would move forward to give you a better view of the musicians. The two accordions occasionally gave the music a German polka quality which was pretty amusing when contrasted with the sensual dancing it was accompanying.

There were some singing segments.

The janitor was even dancing with some brooms while waiting his turn for... a mop? He did shatter my long held belief that it takes two to tango.

I thought this place must be a tourist trap but the guy started singing a song that the audience seemed to know the words to, so maybe they are at least domestic tourists?

I'd say I've pretty much now mastered the tango through osmosis.

Fun was had.

I thought it was fun that the currency had Evita! on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment