Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Buenos Aires

We rented two different apartments in BA for a total of three weeks in 2011 at the end of our long motorcycle ride with Jean and Ross Copas. We were busy then getting more pages put in our passport at the US Embassy, obtaining a visa for Brazil, getting the bikes serviced, arranging flights for ourselves and the bikes, and finally, riding the bikes to the airport and watching the handlers build pallets for each bike, tie them down, and then shrink wrap them. It was a busy time!

We did have some time for sightseeing and after riding around on the city tour bus had a good idea of what BA had to offer. We spent several day hoofing around various parts of the city taking in the parks, sculptures, and beautiful buildings. We toured a tall ship that had served as a training vessel for the Argentine Navy, walked across a sleek Calatrava bridge, visited the San Telmo market, and spent a day in Colonia, Uruguay.

After the all night bus ride from Cordoba, we took a taxi to the apartment we had rented in the quiet suburb of Palermo. The owners, Marily and Pedro, met us at the door, showed us around, had us sign a few papers, and then left us to settle in to our new digs. To our joy and amazement the wifi signal was strong and we had a fast connect to the internet. Up to this time we had been struggling with weak wifi signals that made downloading pictures a laborious task and telephoning with Skype virtually impossible. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm knocked out the internet within 10 hours of our arrival!

So, we were back "on vacation" and content to stay in pleasant Palermo and not battle the traffic and heat of downtown BA. We were only a few blocks away from one of the place we rented in 2011, so went on a short walk to see what the old neighborhood looked like. There was a big for sale sign on the building we had stayed in, the empanada shop we frequented was boarded up, the fruit stand was closed, and the great ice cream place was also out of business. The economy is Argentina is not in good condition and this short reconnaissance mission seemed to bear that out. We also felt that the infrastructure was not working well--more unrepaired broken pavement and sidewalk tiles, trees cut down and not replaced, lots of garbage waiting at the curb for eventual pick up. A second visit to a place often reveals more than the first, but to us things seemed to be on a bit of downhill slide.

We did play tourist one day when we walked to the Recoleta Cemetery to revisit Evita Peron's burial place. The cemetery is comprised of what seems like endless streets lined with mausoleums that make statements about who is entombed there. Much of it is over-the-top and entertaining in strange way.

Evita's tomb
Plaque on Evita's tomb

The Porteños love thier dogs and take them everywhere. Professional dog walkers are a common sight. In Heras Park near the apartment we saw one with at least fourteen dogs of varying sizes. The one pictured here only had ten!

We found a great empanada shop about a block from the apartment; as you can see they offer 23 different types of empanadas! We ordered five of different varieties and then waited about ten minutes while they were baked in the pizza oven. Yummy!!

When the wifi died we had to find another place to get on line--fortunately, most restaurants had wifi, but sometimes that was even marginal. We found the most reliable source of internet access to be the McDonalds about three blocks from the apartment. We had several "café con leche" breaks that lasted at least two hours each!

We never left Palermo other than the short visit to the Recoleta Cemetery. It was just too peaceful and relaxing away from the busy downtown area.

When the internet stopped working in the apartment, Pedro brough us a cell phone to use because the digital phone was also inop. He and Marily were very gracious hosts arranging our 0400 taxi to the airport, printing our boarding passes and both coming to see us off. Marily is an artist and author and gave us three of her books as a farewell gift!


1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed seeing your photos of Evita's tomb since we have the balcony dedicated to her.