Don´t cry for me...
Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
11Trip End May 24, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
On the first evening in this city that never sleeps, we took a stroll around the centre. There was a Mothers' March that we had been recommended to go to where the mothers if those that disappeared during the Dirty War remembered their lost. We saw the obelisk which is apparently a famous image of Argentina, not that I knew that before I read it in the Lonely Planet (tsk!)! We also saw the Casa Rosada and its famous balcony from which Evita Peron waved to her adoring fans. Obviously did a rendition of 'Donīt cry for me Argentina' :) so original, Iīm sure. We then walked down to the port. This one was no longer operational althogh export is still massive in Argentina (more arable than beef nowadays though). All the lovely old warehouses have been regenerated for new apartments and high end restaurants. Though massively out of our budget, it was a really nice place to wander around.
We went on a really interesting 'free' tour of the city where you pay a tip at the end only. Our guide was excellent and really worked hard for his money. He explained so much about the history of the country and the attitude of the Argentines. We made our way from one of the many statues of San Martin, liberator of Argentina, Peru and Chile (he features in a statue or road name in every town!) to a memorial of the Falklands War. The conflict was massively unpopular with the Argentines because of how many young and poorly trained soldiers were sent to a war which was a publicity stunt pulled by an oppressive military government over islands that had been occupied by the British over 20 years earlier. We walked through the most expensive area in the city called Recoleta, the opposite end of town from our hostel!! We learnt that on their private healthcare system, which on average amounts to 80 dollars US a month, Argentines can get laser eye surgery, teeth whitening and, every 2 years, a plastic surgery procedure....now donīt all rush to get your plane tickets at once! So many of the buildings look like theyīve come straight from France, often because thatīs precisely the case; they used blueprints of French buildings and shipped the materials over from Europe when they had to bring something back on the huge ships which exported beef to Europe to act as ballast. There was a lot of European immigration here which killed off the indigenous people; now only 1% left in the far north. There are British red letter boxes and phone boxes dotted all over the city since the British were in charge of communications. So in short, they look like Italians, take naps in the afternoon like the Spanish, live in Paris and play rugby and polo and drink copious amounts of tea (mate) like the English!
Of course we had to have a steak dinner which is a must in BA and I spent some time shopping in the city (heavenly!!!) while Steve went and sat in a park which he was more than happy to do apparently! We went to a very well known antiques market in Palermo on the Sunday where they were selling lovely retro sunglasses and old jewellery amongst other things. Not the usual tat you get at the boot fairs on St Marys field of a summer Sunday morning I have to say. Did make me wonder about how many frames youīve passed on Dad, they could have been resold in this market to pay for our steak dinner!!! Unfortunately we came away from the market empty handed; surprisingly nothing was in our budget! But we did enjoy the numerous music groups that entertained the crowds, from classical guitar with tango dancers, to an Argentinian folk group and a drumming group.
We headed back over to Recoleta that afternoon to visit the cemetery where Evita was buried. Some of the mausoleums are adorned with gold leaf and semi-precious stones and have beautiful sculptures. Apparently when she died, her husbandīs second wife was none too keen on the shadow Evitaīs popularity cast over her and there were no special efforts made to get Evita one of the spectacular mausoleums like the others displayed in this cemetery. Instead, she shares her familyīs one which has a plaque on the outside with her name on it. Despite the inferior size compared to all the others, hers is the only mausoleum which has a queue of people lining up to see it. We also managed to make it our for a few drinks that same night. No one goes out until at least 10.00pm, and thereīs a massive night life, particularly when there are clubs like Pacha to go to. We opted for a few drinks in the Plaza in Palermo which was only going to be a quiet one but still managed to stay out till the early hours...we`re just trying to do as the locals do!! Though despite the hours they keep, they certainly dont have the same type of drinking culture we do at home! Even at 4.00am there wasnīt a pisshead in sight!