Steaks and Drums in BA

Trip Start Apr 06, 2010
1
86
89
Trip End Ongoing


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Argentina  ,
Monday, November 29, 2010

We woke up to the 6am alarm feeling worse for wear after way too much cheap red wine last night. We had to pack up and check out of our room before we left for the airport, so that was fun as well, but a cold shower later we set off to find the elusive public bus to Ezeiza international airport 40km out of town. Despite being told by the hostel staff that there was no public bus to the airport and you could only get there by a pre-arranged shuttle, we were soon standing at the number 8 bus stop and being escorted by some very friendly locals onto the bus that would take us directly there. Admittedly it did take over 2 hours (and we did get on the wrong bus first time round), but we had plenty of time and sat back watching the people of BA get on and off at what seemed like hundreds of stops across the city. We arrived in the arrivals lounge bang on time and discovered that Chris' flight was an hour late...just right for a quick visit to McCafe and a coffee. We'd been on a mission for the last couple of days trying to collect as many coins as possible for the bus (something surprisingly hard to come by in Argentina) and even though we'd succeeded in getting enough to secure our journey to and from the airport, we discovered in McCafe that we'd left all our other money hidden away in my wash bag back at the hostel. Dan found an emergency $20 note in his belt, but of course we didn't have our passports with us so the helpful lady at the Cambio wouldn't cambio it for us. Luckily the good people of McDonald's came to our rescue, let us pay in dollars, gave us change in pesos, and made us a coffee...it's really not that difficult to be helpful people.

Coffee'd up and feeling a bit more with it after a bumpy start to the day, we set about making a sign for Chris so that we could stand in arrivals with the business men with a certain air of importance, and it wasn't long until Monkey walked through the blind date style sliding doors and into Mitchell's open arms. Beautiful. The 2 hour journey back to the city centre seemed to go a lot quicker than the ride there, and even though the bus was packed and like an oven we caught up on all the goss from blighty and started making some awesome plans for the next few weeks. Back at the hostel a very happy Dan kicked back with his VW Camper and Bus magazine and six pack of Tesco Value hula hoops and I got stuck into Heat and a packet of extremely melted chocolate buttons...simple things.

We headed out in the afternoon to the huge and lively San Telmo sunday market. There were hundreds of people around, stalls selling everything imaginable and street artists and performers doing anything from tango to the man with no head. We bought pints of freshly squeezed orange juice for a couple of pesos to keep us going in the scorching heat and battled through the crowds for long enough to build up an appetite for tonight's visit to Palermo Viejo and supposedly one of the the best steak houses in Buenos Aires. We had a booking at La Cabrera for 8pm that evening so made our way over on the subway and had time for a quick quilmes (beer) in a reggae bar before going to the restaurant. Dan and Chris went to town ordering 800 gram steaks each and I went for the 400 gram but this was still by far the biggest steak I've ever seen. With eyes bigger than our bellies we also ordered side dishes that we definitely didn't need and a bottle of red wine, but we all prioritised and managed to finish the meat! It was an amazing meal and we reckon it should take about 9 years to digest... 

We awoke the next morning to the loudest traffic we had ever heard. It was as if the queue of buses, cars, and motorbikes stacked up directly outside our bedroom window were actually in our room and the pollution wasn't good either. After a quick breakfast in the hostel we headed out and caught a bus over to La Boca. In contrast to Recoleta where we'd been a couple of days previously, La Boca is a vibrant, working-class neighbourhood, built at the port by italian immigrants. It's not the safest neighbourhood to go wandering around in and we didn't venture too far from Caminito - a pedestrianised street lined with brightly coloured houses and artists selling their work. We did take a quick walk in search of the mighty La Bombonera - the La Boca Juniors stadium. Unfortunately there weren't any games on during our time in BA but it was cool to see the stadium and the Maradona memorabilia everywhere. It was also unfortunate that both the art museums I really wanted to go to are closed on Mondays, so we settled instead for an empanada and a quilmes in a street cafe and watched a tango show coming from the swanky cafe over the road. When it came to catching the bus back to the hostel we emptied our pockets but didn't have enough coins for the fare. We were short by 5c and some kind of breakdown in communication between me and Dan resulted in him trying to sell our empty coke bottle back to a shop for 5c...very, very funny, the woman behind the counter was not impressed but slammed 5c on the counter which is all we needed. On the way back to the bus stop I found a 10c coin on the floor!

Monday nights in Buenos Aires mean only one thing...La Bomba del Tiempo. La Bomba is a 17 piece percussion gig that takes place at a venue called Ciudad Cultural Konex, an old oil factory. The gig is completely free-style and all based on improvisation. Nearly every musician has a different kind of percussion instrument and they stand in a semi-circle facing their conductor who does all sorts of elaborate hand movements and facial expressions. The result, combined with 1 litre plastic cups of beer, is a truly awesome night out, energetic sounds, lots of crazy dancing and we loved it! Have a look on YouTube to see what all the fuss is about. After the show we caught the subway back across town and hit the hammocks on our hostel roof terrace for a few more beers and shooting stars.

Tuesday was our last full day in BA and we went on a marathon walking tour of the city to make sure we packed it all in. We made it back to Recoleta and the cemetery, and Dan and Chris made it back up to the top of the nice hotel for some more snaps. We wandered around the japanese gardens for a bit and had a nose over the fence into the city zoo. Fueled only by a choripan from a street stall (chorizo sausage in a bun - yum) we began to flag by late afternoon and opted for the subway to take us back to the hostel for tonight's BBQ. During the 10 minutes that we were on the underground torrential rain had started to fall up above. By the time we tried to get out of the subway a waterfall had formed and was running down the steps into the station, and people coming in off the street looked as if they'd climbed out of a swimming pool. We took shelter in the station for a while, realised we could change lines and get to a stop closer to our place, and by the time we'd got as close as we could to the hostel the rain had nearly stopped. I am not going to waste my time writing about the hostel BBQ that night, other than to say it was rubbish and resulted in diving back into the stash of tesco value hula hoops and short-bread. That night we settled down once again to the soothing aroma of bus fumes and the quiet hum of ambulance sirens and mopeds ready for our ferry ride to Uruguay in the morning.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Post your own travel photos for friends and family More Pictures

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: