After spending weeks in dusty and broken Argentinian towns this place is like a breath of fresh air. If nothing else the streets aren't paved in dog shite and you can walk on the footpath without fear of dropping down a hole left by some sloppy worker. I'm staying in Recoleta, one of THE suburbs in the central city so the streets are lined with trees and flowers and expensive cars. There are tons of restaurants and high end "high street" shops. I seems to be the in thing to have your signs in English so you see the likes of 'London Shop', 'Gracious Living', 'Kitchen and Bathroom'. In the evenings the polite society walk their dogs. There is still the seedy aspect too. Last night I got lost coming home and walked past a couple and a small child bedding down for the night on the pavement. Least they won't be cold - overnight lows are currently 22 degrees.
I've parked the bike for the 5 nights I'm here so I just took tour packages of the city and surrounds. So with no stress on my part I got to see all the important places (buildings, squares, monuments and the like). A couple of things stand out: they still revere Ava Peron and her likeness appears everywhere, Papa Francisco rates highly and his former parish Cathedral is a must see and on a Sunday there is a 'market'. It's eight blocks of artisan ware and if there is a group of people and products I cannot identify with, here it was - all eight blocks of it. There was a group of guys banging on drums and making a hua of a racket - I think they were football hooligans with no game to go to. At another place there was an elderly chap (see photo) standing on a box, guitar in hand, singing songs of a lost era. I thought he was quite nice actually. And the highlight, in a city renowned for its Tango (which incidentally is pretty much confined to pay for entry establishments/shows), was a couple demonstrating their skill to an appreciative audience.
No city tour would be complete without a visit to Caminito, the old port area where the houses are painted in garish colours. The tour guide was a fan of La Boca fut bol (soccer) club so I'm not sure whether it was the stadium he took us to or Caminito. I had my photo taken with a mannequin of some soccer dude. I almost had to line up, he was so important, and I haven't a clue as to who he is. There were wall to wall tourists and with good reason; the place is quite special.
Done with the city, the next item on the agenda was to tour the 'islands', as they are called, on the river Parana. The bus took us out to Tigre where we caught the boat. The high points of land in the river delta have houses built on them. They have no services such as electricity, water etc but every thing they need comes by boat. So there is a supermarket boat, a rubbish boat, a doctor boat and so forth. It all looks quite idyllic but the day was hot and humid and I bet the mosquito's at sunset would be hellish. Judging by the number of houses for sale and those abandoned I gather the novelty soon wears off. However there were huge numbers of day trippers picnicking at every vantage point along the rivers edge. It was a splendid afternoon.
So ended a few days of rest in Buenos Aires - a really nice city.
|The petals open and close at the beginning and ending of each day|
|Papa Francisco was plucked from here to be the Pope|
|Who is this dude?|
|Rio Parana, Tigre.|
|8 blocks of 'stuff'|
|"I was popular once you know".|
|Tango in the park|
|Not to be out done. No I don't know who the girl is.|