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". . . and that type of bravery will take you places." -Evan Sanders

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Buenos Aires 'The Paris of Latin America'

July 18, 2016

 

Hola amigos.

 

I’m here to tell you all about my trip to Buenos Aires. Since we’re on Winter break at school, I decided to take a trip to the beautiful Argentinian city. Coincidentally, my good friend and co-worker Berní was going to be visiting her sister in BA at the same time. I felt relieved I didn’t have to take the gigantic city by myself!

Rather than give you a play-by-play, I’ll just fill y’all in the highlights. Here are some of my favorite parts from the trip, in no particular order:

  • El Ateneo Libería –I’d seen this spectacular site on Pinterest and was determined to find it. It’s an old theater turned into a library. It’s just as beautiful in person as it is in photos. The bookstore had a small English section which I found to consist almost entirely of erotic novelas. So the only purchase I made was a nice bookmark.

  • La Casa Rosada –Known as ‘The Pink House’, this is where the President works. There are a few theories as to why it was painted pink. The blue/purple glowing thing in the middle was put there temporarily to celebrate the bicentennial, which Argentina just recently celebrated on July 9th.

  • The Architecture –The architecture in BA is very unique in that it’s this gigantic mix of different styles. You can find an old colonial building right next to a Spanish style building next to a gothic  cathedral. The mix is what makes BA so charming. They call the city ‘The Paris of Latin America’. I’d have to agree in terms of the tiny cobblestone streets, the old buildings and the tiny cafés scattered about. I think one of the reasons why I loved this city so much was because it has such a European-vibe. We all know how obsessed with Europe I am…

  • La Recoleta Cemetery –I’ve never been to a cemetery quite like this. For starters, the place is ginormous. You don’t want to get lost here around sundown. The graves are vaults placed above ground. It felt like a each vault was in competition with the next to be the fanciest and most expensive. Some of the most notable and famous people of Argentina are resting here. The vaults are owned by wealthy families, where the entire family is laid to rest. You could see inside many of the graves and even see the caskets. It was pretty eerie, and occasionally you’d see a tiny casket containing an infant. Perhaps the most famous person buried here is Eva Perón, an incredible woman with an interesting story.

  • El Tigre –we took a train to a little town outside of the city where we could take a boat ride on the delta. We rode on El Río de la Plata, known as the widest river in the world which is a sub river to The Amazon River. We rode the boat from El Tigre back to Buenos Aires. The water was pretty choppy, and not so beautiful.

  • The Japanese Gardens –Who knew Japan was so close to Buenos Aires? This little area was it’s own world within Buenos Aires. It sort of felt like we were walking around a miniature golf course. They sold Japanese food, the place was run entirely by Japanese people and they sold all sorts of Japanese gifts and products.

  • The Tango Show in Café Tortoni -I had a night free since Berní had to meet her sister for dinner so I was able to get last minute tickets to a famous tango show at a very well-known café. The café is one of the oldest buildings in Buenos Aires, built in 1858 and is known as one of the top 10 most beautiful cafés in the world. Famous writers and musicians were known to go here in their time for a coffee. Under the café, is a small dinner theater. I was seated with the nicest Brazilian family. The show was about an hour and a half and consisted of 4 tango dancers and 1 singer. I was a little disappointed in that after every dance, the dancers would go back stage and change while the singer came and sang 1 or two songs. It started to be a lot of singing and just a little tango. The talent was incredible though, I just wish I got to see more dancing!

  • The secret bars of Buenos Aires -since Barcelona, I've become addicted to visiting secret bars. Why go to a normal bar when you can go to a secret bar? The majority of secret bars date back to the prohibition period when alcohol was illegal.

    • The first bar we went looked like a flower shop on the outside. It smelled amazing!! We asked the girl if we could enter and she opened what looked like a refrigerator door which had stairs we had to follow. The bar was dark and long, we had such a great time there. It was ranked 1 of the 50 best bars in the world!

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    • The second bar we went to was hidden behind a brick wall. The girl slid the wall back to reveal a beautiful old bar with a 1920's type feel to it.

  • The third bar was perhaps the coolest one of all. It's called the Nicky Harrison Speakeasy but hides behind the name Nicky's NY sushi. You have to make a reservation at the restaurant and eat upstairs first. Afterwards, you ask the waitress "to see the cellar". She takes you to a back room and tells you the story of Nicky Harrison. He was the son of a famous fish distributor and a bit of a rebel. He decided to create a secret bar in the back of his father's factory. The waitress had us step through a wardrobe just like Narnia and we were all of a sudden in the 1920's. It was amazing!! The waiters and waitresses were in 1920's attire, swing music was playing and the place looked exactly like the time period. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures since it was a "secret bar". But I'm sure if you google Nicky Harrison Speakeasy, you'll find some.

I found the people of Buenos Aires to be very kind and welcoming, more so than the Chileans. The difficult part for me was their accent. People from Argentina have a very distinct accent in that they pronounce the ‘y’ and ‘ll’ letters as a soft ‘sh’ sound or a ‘j ‘. So ‘yo’ becomes ‘jo’ and calle becomes ‘cayje ‘.

 

The food was pretty good but I didn’t find it anything special. They really love pastries and have many bakeries scattered about the streets.The medialuna which is like a sweet croissant is the most well-known sweet. As well as the milanesa which can be a huge slab of breaded chicken or meat.

Laughable Moments:

  • On my first night, I was alone so I went and had a great dinner. I ordered a beer for myself and was shocked when the waiter brought me a bucket of ice, a HUGE beer (like a liter), a basket or assorted breads and a plate of finger sandwiches. Apparently this is the norm there.

  • One of the most prominent things I noticed when I first landed was there are no mountains. I’m used to the mountains being in the foreground of my vision everywhere I go. It was so strange to be in Latin America without mountains.

  • I also loved that there were almost no stray dogs!! Chile has a huge stray dog problem which breaks my heart every time I see one. I also noticed many dog-walkers in BA. They wore these belts and walked like 20 dogs at a time!!

  • When you buy a water bottle at the store, they give you straws. Apparently it’s a tradition over there.

  • I was in a taxi and the cab driver said, “I know one thing about America… Obama is black”. Just like that. I almost choked on my water. In Latin America, they don’t understand the sensitivity surrounding race because there are very small amounts of black people here. People still think it’s weird to see someone of color walking the streets, while they’re not necessarily racist, they’re just not used to it.

  • Berní thought that a “rain-check” was another word for brainstorm. She thought when we take a rain-check we have a “storm of ideas”.

  • My hotel gave me a towel and a bar of soap a day. By the end of the trip I had a stock pile of soap. 

  • The entire trip I did not take one nap. Somebody check my pulse!!

^^ This is Evita Porón, originally I thought she was eating a cheeseburger, then I thought she was singing. Apparently she's giving a speech. 

 ^^The world's richest pigeons

 ^^This is what Heaven must look like

 ^^I really enjoyed the geese

 ^^ This tree looks like its made of Hershey Kisses!

 ^^ When no one is around to take a pic for you...

 

Random pics:

 ^^ I bought so many pots here....

 ^^ Although I had the best time, I'm happy to be back with my little man!

 

 ^^Also, shoutout to this lovely lady for being the best travel partner!! 

 

Now back in Santiago for a few days before the next adventure.

 

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