My love affair with South America has started. First stop: Buenos Aires, Argentina. At first I totally didn’t buy into the “paris of south america” hype at all. The streets around my hotel were dirty and there was graffiti on the walls. Yet there was atmosphere and the restaurants were adorable. I could eat late in a parrillada and walk home without too many worries. But, the paris of South America? No way. Luckily, this impression was wrong but more on that later. Here are my favorite memories of Buenos Aires…
Dinner and Dancing
My second night in Buenos Aires, I decided to take a tango class. I am not sure about most people, but it takes me a while to adjust to the 24-hour clock…so I got confused and showed up 2 hours early for my class. No problem. I reserved my table for dinner..at 1 a.m. (!) and realized that a salsa class was about to begin. It was as the class began that I realized that I would be taking a Cuban salsa class (or Son), not NY or LA style. It was going to be an adventure. The class was great and at the end we formed a circle and danced La Rueda. It was super fun.
After the salsa class there was a short tango show or demonstration by the teachers of the different levels of classes. Tango is a fun and sensual dance. You dance close to your partner, so that, as a woman, you can feel the man guiding you with his chest or arm. The beginner class was good. We learned the basic steps and practiced with different partners for about 30-40 minutes. Dinner at 1 a.m. was quite the experience, too. I sat at a table above the dance floor with a great view of the dancers swaying to the music. The only problem was that jet lag hit me and hit me hard. It did not help that the waitress seemed to disappear. It took forever for my food to come. It took so long that although I ordered the pre fix meal, I told the waitress to enjoy my dessert or give it to someone else. At this point it was 2:30 and I was ready to walk back to my hostel.
Walking Tour and Date
During my time in Argentina, I decided to go up to Iguazu Falls (see next blog!). Upon my arrival back in Buenos Aires, I had a few more days to enjoy the city. On my last day, I decided to go on a free walking tour. It was in English and lasted 2 hours. The guide was great! She was a hoot. What I appreciated about the tour was that it was as much about culture as history and architecture. On the tour we walked through the ritzy neighborhood, La Recoleta, and saw the buildings that were actually built with French stone during the Belle Epoch. It was gorgeous. This was the Paris of the South people talk about! The final stop was outside the cemetery where Eva Peron is buried. On the tour I met a couple of people including a guy from Amsterdam. We chatted a little bit because my friend is going to be traveling there so I asked him some questions about Holland. At the end of the tour, he asked me if I wanted to grab dinner at a parrillada with him. I said yes and we started our long journey to the restaurant. This journey involved stopping at his hostel so that he could change, my hostel so that I could change, and randomly drinking beer with three strangers on the street. We almost missed dinner! We got there right before the kitchen closed and they were kind enough to seat us. We had a fabulous waiter who recommended a delicious bottle of wine. He took good care of us. At the end of the night, I even got a kiss goodnight. Paris, indeed.