The Paris of the Americas

Trip Start Mar 19, 2005
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Trip End Apr 04, 2005


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Saturday, March 19, 2005

After several months of anticipation, Brenda and I finally arrived in Buenos Aires to kick off our tour de South America! We were tired but more than anything, excited! After going through customs, collecting our baggage and exchanging currency (2.46 Argentinean pesos per $1 US), we solicited a taxi to take us to our hotel. On our way to our Hotel, our taxi driver Daniel Lambré eagerly shared his life experience as well as his intense desire to go to the United States. Brenda and I didn't read too much into the conversation but as he helped us take our luggage out, he politely insinuated that he would offer some kind of monetary compensation if we married him! Imagine that! While Brenda and I were flattered, we concurred that it would definitely be an offer to refuse.

Brenda and I spent our first day on the South American continent enamored by its pleasant weather. We also took notice of how polite people were (need we mention how gorgeous the men were?). We also observed how men relinquished their seats, like second nature, on the bus. When we asked for directions, we frequently received them with a warm smile. Everywhere we went it seemed as if people were more than willing to supply us with information and directions as needed. What was most impressive to los Argentinos was that Brenda and I spoke Spanish. They frequently asked how we knew Spanish if we came from the U.S. Our first day's highlights in Buenos Aires consisted of: walking around the city and exploring its historical sights, lunch @ Hard Rock Café (Brenda was nice enough to allow me to indulge on this silly tradition I have of searching for this restaurant wherever I travel), Bohemian" style Flea market and the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires...some exciting and racy exhibits mostly developed by French artists. By the time our expedition was nearing its end, we decided to seal the day with a visit to The famous Cafe Tortoni...by this time it was already 3a.m! Brenda and I realized early on that the night life in Argentina was surprisingly different than the U.S. We went out at 11p.m. only to discover that the streets were bear. Upon returning to our hotel, we were informed that the nightlife didn't get started until after midnight! Brenda and I couldnt believe the lenghts to which the stencil vandals went for a good laugh!

Sunday March 20, 2005 Buenos Aires, Argentina
After waking up at noon, Brenda and I walked to the Confiteria Ideal to get the 411 on tango lessons for the dancing queen. We then had breakfast at Café Parisienne. Not feeing too energized, we decided to vegetate at the hotel for a few hours. Later on, we began our walking tour. We wandered and explored for several hours. Our stops included: La Casa Rosada, Puerto Madero, Tocorro Restaurant (for Salsa), and we ended at a local bar named Radio Set. At Radio Set, Brenda and I had an intriguing conversation with Pamela, a local tango singer. Diego, our bartender recommended that for dancing we head to Arco de Palermo. A few hours later, Brenda and I went on a wild goose chase to locate the club and were only able to find a local club, boy did we stand out! At the club there dancing of an exotic blend. I would describe it as a lightning quick version of salsa and tango with the women whipping their long hair in the direction of their on looking admirers. While we didn't manage to get our dancing fix on, we did have quite an adventure! Getting ready for another night on the town...

Monday March 21, 2005 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Brenda and I were quite roasted by our previous night's ventures. Even still, we managed to crawl out of bed mid day and have a jam packed day. First off, Brenda went to Café Confiteria to indulge on some tango lessons while I called my aunt to wish her a happy birthday! Not too long thereafter, we got on a bus to venture to La Boca. La Boca is considered the most colorful barrio in Buenos Aires, original home of football legend Diego Maradonna and the tango. There are an assortment of brightly painted low houses made of wood and metal line the streets, including the famed main street Caminito. The area abounds with artisans, painters, street performers, cantinas and open-air tango shows. The neighborhood was originally settled by Italian immigrants, most of whom came to work in the docks. While we wandered around La Boca we met Frank from Germany and ended up having a drink with him right before we made our way back. Brenda and I rushed back to our hotel to prepare for our group meeting at 6:30p.m. As has typically been the case, meeting a new group is always a bit awkward. However, in the following 17 our lives would be enhanced by the memorable interactions that were about to take place. After some logistical matters, we made our way to our first destination as a group to Siga la Vaca, a restaurant with some insight into Argentina´s world renowned beef. We all enjoyed our incredible meal and of course I couldn't help but indulge on several desserts. From Siga la Vaca, we headed to a local pub called Kilkenny. While we enjoyed our time at the pub, Brenda and I were itching to go dancing. Accompanied by Nicollai (and his friend) and Frank (who we had met earlier at La Boca), we all crammed into a taxi and requested that he take us to the club district. Once there we were sadly informed by Juan and his friend (who we ran to as they had just been interrogated for a public offense) that the clubs were not open late because a few months prior, numerous people had died in a club. We ended up chatting with Juan and his friend for a few minutes and then decided to go back to Killkenny. I ended up going to bed at 6a.m. only to wake up and hour and a half later to hop onboard our ferry to Montevideo.
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