ARGENTINA
March & April, 2005
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
March 19 - 23 2005

This obviously happens to us a lot, but Buenos aires is our new favorite city.  They definitely call it the Europe of South America for a reason.  Plus, while it used to be one of the most expensive cities on earth, an unfortunate financial crisis a few years ago has made the city imminently affordable.  Getting there sucked, as Mike pretty much vomited every half hour for 16 hours on an overnight bus, but it was worth it in the end.

We stayed in the San Telmo neighborhood, which is a young artsy type of cobblestone street area, filled with antique shops, great cafes and restaurants, and lots of diverse fashion.  If Buenos Aires had a Venice Beach type of neighborhood, this would be it.  Plus, on Sundays the streets close and people tango in the streets.  Of course, we arrived on Sunday, which made it the perfect introduction.

Our next neighborhood discovery was Palermo, which is seperated into several sub hoods which all seem to have a variation of super hip fashion botiques (which serve cocktails), and excellent restaurants.  Amazingly, for such a huge city, the people seemed to get friendlier everywhere we went. Also, if you like to shop, hit Florida street.  Kind of like the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, with a lot more going on, and a lot cheaper.

Luckily we had great weather, which is apparently the norm, because we were able to take advantage of waliking most of the city, and enjoying a lot of the outdoor cafes.  Although Buenos Aires is a large city in terms of population, you can experience almost every interesting neighborhood in two or three days of walking.  And, if you don't want to walk, the subway system is pretty good.

Another must experience area is Recoletta, and all of the museums, and the National Cemetary which are in the vicinity.  The Cemetary is like a minature city, with crypts which more closely resemble small buildings.  We had seen similar cemetaries around Central and South America, for example the one in Antigua, Guatemala is pretty impressive, but this was on a different level.  If you are into political-pop culture, Eva Peron is buried here as well.

Another bright spot for the city is the old shipping docks, which were converted to beautiful high end shops, offices, and restaurants in the 1990s.  Instead of out of date, unused and dilapitated docks, the area is a pleasant attraction, sort of like what Portland, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore have done on their water fronts. 

After 5 days we left to Patagonia, with every intention to get back to Buenos Aires for a few more days afterward.  Problem was, Patagonia was so incredible that we never got back.  So, we missed the Opera, the Japanese Gradens, and the ferry to Uruguay, among other attractions.  Anyway, we will for sure be back . . . soon.
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