Buenos Aires is one of my favorite cities in the world. Hands down. I’m fairly picky when it comes to cities I really dig and the list is a short one: Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Santiago. All for different reasons.
The only reason I haven’t packed up everything and moved to Buenos Aires is because I have an unfortunate habit of getting robbed every time I step foot in the city – sometimes dramatically, sometimes discreetly. Yet, not to detract from the intended message of this post, I still <;;3 BA. The food is delectable. The shopping is amazing. The architecture is enviable. While not being outright "friendly", I'd dare to say that Porteños are friendlier than Santiaguinos.
Originally, we debated different trip itineraries and different cities in Latin America to avoid the new reciprocity, “not a visa”, charged to all U.S. citizens when they enter the city by air. In the end, we were loyal to Argentina and purchased two tickets to Buenos Aires.
We found a nice (read: clean, well-located, and safe) hotel in the San Telmo neighborhood.
San Telmo, in my opinion, is a bohemian (should I say hipster?) neighborhood, that is a wonderful maze of unique cafes and boutique shops in the daytime. It’s probably not the safest neighborhood at night, as I experienced once. That story deserves its own post someday. This time I took my chances that walking with a street-smart Chilean would act as a talisman…and it did.
I would liken the Mafalda statues to the Snoopy statues in St. Paul, the Bears of Berlin, or the Pianos in Denver. Think of her as the Charlie Brown of Latin America – a little ironic, a little depressing, and sometimes gives you a chuckle or two.
We stayed at Moreno Hotel and loved the modern decor and spacious lofts. Plus, the price was amazing for what we got. It would have cost at least triple in the U.S. Of course, we aren’t hard to please. Everywhere we go now, we compare it to the dump we spent a fortune on in New Orleans.
Light fixture or torture device? You decide.
Can you understand now why I wanted to move in?
We spent a lot of time walking. We only took a taxi twice, and rarely stepped on the Subte. Instead, we walked until we hurt. Then, we filled up on steak or pasta and Malbec and kept walking.
Up for a little controversy anyone? Ever heard of the Islas Malvinas, Falkland Islands in English?
Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has brought forth the old point of contention with Britain by claiming that the Malvinas are, indeed, Argentine territory and should be restored. Nothing like a good ‘wag the dog’ situation to get people focused on an international injustice instead of domestic issues, am I right?
One morning, we went to the famous cemetery in the Recoleta neighborhood. The cemetery is known for its enormous mausoleums that developed into a labyrinth devoted to the dead. When the cemetery opened, affluent families tried to outdo each other with opulent displays of wealth – even in the afterlife. Many of the mausoleums are open-glass and you can peer inside to the coffins. *shudder* I’m fascinated by death the same way a deer is fascinated by headlights. I fear it, and yet, I can’t look away.
The next day, we went to the Botanical Gardens. I put the Gardens on our to-do list because it is full of cats! You heard me: CATS! Yes, I go out of my way to see cats on my travels because that’s just how I roll. The Botanical Gardens in Buenos Aires are an unfortunate dumping grounds for the city’s unwanted felines. They tried, to various levels of success, to control the problem, but new cats show up all the time. On this trip there were fewer cats than my trips in 2006 and 2008, when there was probably one cat for every statue or bench. The good part is that the cats are tame and used to human interaction. Needless to say, I annoyed many a cat that day.
We left the Botanical Gardens and found ourselves at the entrance of the city zoo. I remembered from my first trip to BA that they allow some animals to run free without cages. Since I was already on a furry animal high from all the kittehs I had raced around trying to
assault pet, we decided to go to the zoo.
And the zoo did not disappoint, from the creatures that looks like large muskrats, to the small love child of a deer/rabbit, to the baby duckies, we had out work cut out for us snapping pictures of all the action.
If you know the name of these next animals, you get a cookie, deal?
What about these weirdly hinged beasts?
I wish we had had another day, but it wasn’t to be! Another time!
I have so many more photos (close to 300!) that I would have liked to share, but I wanted to give you all a taste. I’d definitely recommend BA to anyone looking for a getaway to a cosmopolitan Latin American destination, or an express honeymoon, as in our case ;)