Thursday, June 26, 2008

5 Days in Beautiful Buenos Aires

Our 11-day vacation to Argentina and Chile was




Incredibly Awesome.

Seriously. We really had a great trip.

Here's a little from Buenos Aires. Chile will be featured tomorrow.
We stayed at The Four B&B in San Telmo, Buenos Aires. It was a nice, quiet, historic place. We had reserved the El Convento Room, but our hosts upgraded us to the La Manzana. It was a two-level room with the main bedroom upstairs and the bathroom and a smaller bedroom downstairs.

The foyer of The Four B&B. Our room entrance was the second door on the left.

The sitting room where we had our breakfast served each morning.

Out in the streets of San Telmo on Sunday. There were markets, music, and tango everywhere!

We were left wondering how exactly they get pianos out into the streets. Where do they bring them from?
And oh, the tango! It was everywhere. And it was wonderful.

There was even a tango show at the place we had lunch Sunday.
A little alley with lots of shops.
Tons of parks and beautiful old buildings were everywhere in Buenos Aires.

This is a really interesting piece of art (flower) the follows the sun through the day, opens each morning, and closes each night.
And also we found that we have acclimatized quite nicely to Belo Horizonte's fabulous year-round weather. 50 degrees Fahrenheit didn't sound very cold to us. I mean, Eric is from Iowa, and I did manage to survive a winter there too. I've seen -18 F, for goodness sakes! (And that was before factoring in the wind chill!) There was that three week span of time when the temperature never got above 14 degrees. We can certainly handle temps in the 50's! (Or um, at least so long as we have our heavy winter coats.)
Visiting the planetarium sounded like a good idea. But then I learned how much Portuguese doesn't help you with Spanish. It was still neat, but I had no idea what they were talking about most of the time. It was the first time I've been to a planetarium though since Pluto was declared not a planet. That really messed with me. And about the Big Dipper, the only constellation I can pick out of the night sky, is it not visible from the southern hemisphere this time of year? I mean, I spent the entire hour in there trying to locate it and I swear it wasn't there. What's up with that?
More parks and monuments and old buildings. (And, by the way, have you noticed how fabulous the weather was while we were there?)

There was a huge nationwide protest and demonstration one night while we were in Argentina. They were starting to set up for it in this square while we were there.

Trying to perfect my self-portrait skills.
Head back too far.

Chin pulled in too close.

Ahhh, much better. Well, it would have been.

Dressed up for a fancy supper and Tango Show. We saw El Viejo Almacen. It was a good show. Pricey, since all the tango shows are tourists attractions, but we enjoyed it.

Our first day in Buenos Aires, Eric read about a place close to our B&B that rented bikes. All I heard about for the next few days was how much fun it would be to ride bikes for a day. So on Tuesday, our last full day in BA, I gave in to my husbands desire and we went to rent bikes. And then he learned they had tandem bikes and so we had to have one of those.

It might have been a good idea. Maybe. But you see, I have this strict policy about not riding bikes in Metropolitan areas. Especially on weekdays. Especially on major roads. Eric got a map with recommended bike rides and decided we should go down to La Boca, a working class port neighborhood. La Boca itself was an alright place to ride (see pictures above and below), but sometime while making a U-turn across 8 lanes of morning traffic and onto a one way street going the wrong way with a city bus coming at us and a parked car with the door opening into the narrow path that we had between said car and bus while riding on the back of a tandem bike that my sometimes too fearless husband was steering, I was reminded of why I have a no-big-city-street-bike-riding policy. And then I started reviewing our vows taken 10 months ago and try to see if there was anything in there that made the agreement null and void in instances such as these. And then about that time Eric looks back at me and asks with a grin, "Do you still love me? You've been sort of silent this whole time." I informed him that I did indeed still love him . . . but I didn't like him too much at the moment. Have I mentioned that when they offered us bike helmets he said, "no, gracias"? (The whole thing sort of goes into the category of the desert mountain hike my husband, back when he was just a boyfriend, took me on with just one bottle of water. Or that same hike when I had been out of water for almost two hours, it was 106 degrees outside, and instead of walking the path back to the car he decided we should just "zig-zag" our way down the steep cactus covered mountainside since it would be a whole lot shorter distance. He didn't factor in how much slower I moved scootching along on my behind as to not fall down the rocky cliff and all the while dodging the spiny cacti. One day I might learn not to follow his lead on these types of adventures. Which brings us to the obvious question, what the heck was I thinking when I agreed to a tandem bike?)

La Boca was a quite colorful and very neat area though.

Once off the death trap of a bike, we went for a walk through the Botanical Gardens and I decided I liked him again. A lot.

On Tuesday, our last night in Buenos Aires, we decided to go out to a milonga, a place where people go to dance tango. We took ballroom dancing classes back in early 2007 and we had both really loved the tango. We put on our dancing shoes, grabbed a bite to eat and headed out.

The thing is, Tuesday nights don't really bring out the novice dancers. We went to a fabulous place with beautiful wooden floors calling our name to come out and dance. And then we took a look around at all the other people dancing. Good thing we wore our dancing shoes, since we spent 3 hours sitting at a table watching all the well-seasoned tango-ers do their thing. Given that it wasn't crowded and everyone's eyes were on the dance floor, we never worked up the courage to go out there and do our gringo tango. Sad, because we like to dance. But seriously, we would have looked funny out there among everyone else that night.


AcesHigh said...

Ah, Buenos Aires, the PARIS of the Americas.

You only got 50s F when you were there? Cuz here in and around Porto Alegre, we got 20-30F quite a few days in these past weeks.

Btw, you once mentioned Brazilians thought Eric was an argie. Any more info on that now that he HAS been among argies? :)

Jeremy Sarber said...

Great photos, as usual. I'm beginning to get the impression that all ya'll do down there is go on vacation. (That's the jealousy talking.)

Eric said...

First off, I would like to add a little more to the scene and reasoning for our bike trip...

La Boca, the neighborhood we visited while on our tandem bicycle, was not accessible by the metro, would have been a long taxi ride during busy working day traffic, and it was too far to walk there. Therefore, the biking idea sounded like a very logical solution to our problem. And to add to that, the bike rental place had biking tours that had a specific route that left at 9:00 every morning that went through this neighborhood and passed by the soccer stadium, etc. that I wanted to see. Since we were on vacation, we did not happen to make it there for the 9:00 tour, and I thought since they had a published bike route for the tour, it had to be down decent bike paths, and would not be very hard to follow. I mean, I had a well marked map with arrows, street names, and all details necessary.

Since I had my wife talked into the great idea, all I had left to do was execute it. However, I really would like to take the bike tour and see how it goes since their bike route did not seem to be fit for cyclists!

Now, the only reason I did not make the left hand turn across the 4 lanes of moving traffic was so my wife would not have gotten rear ended as I was waiting for traffic to clear up, since there obviously was not a turning lane since the road I was supposed to turn down was a one way, coming at us. However, I had no other options, so I only made a U-turn, and went the wrong way down the one way, when the traffic was clear, and my wife was obviously in very safe hands. Did I forget to mention, that tandem bicycles work very well for these situations? I was controlling the steering and the brakes. If she did not want to follow, she had no choice, and if she wanted to stop, she had no choice, (Well, more or less, the tandem bike is not quite long enough and I can still hear her sigh, grimice, and am still within arms reach!) and lastly nobody could abduct my wife on her bicycle without getting me too!

But, I just hope you all now understand that I did not set out on this biking adventure with any crazy or absurd ideas, I simply followed the rental companies published route the entire time. And, by the way, we got to see what we wanted to see, got some exercise, and gave Emily some lifelong memories!

Lori - Blondie in Brazil said...

Thanks for the great photos. I can't wait to go there! Looking forward to your report on Chile.

DRL said...

So jealous - looks like a great trip.

Eric, don't feel bad because seeing a new city by bike is a wonderful way to get around... my husband arranged for the same thing for my first day in Rio and it was amazing (though we steered clear of any traffic and stuck to the bike paths).

Vacation looks good on you two!

Gloria said...

Eric, sounds and looks like you had tons of fun, Kelly and I should own a tandem bike sure looks like fun.
Your dad and Kelly said that you definitely have some Latino on you, going the other direction is something I would have done!!!