Friday, May 21, 2010

Our life in Buenos Aires...and our little jaunt to Uruguay

So I began writing this in the peaceful calm of Colonia, Uruguay about a week ago trying to reminisce about what it was like living in BA for a month. No need since, ironically, we're back in BA. Long story short, after a week in Uruguay we were suppose to make it to Cordoba - But, there is ALWAYS some sort of funny situation with us and after lugging all our stuff to the bus station from the port we never got our tickets despite there being like 6 different options...something about a bus strike/fog/sold out/nothing till 9 am - not quite sure what the real reason is - our Spanish classes never covered that and there are always multiple truths depending on who you ask.

No worries, we're pretty happy and getting a free night from our hostel to stay longer just means BArgentina Round 2 is well under way. We have completely fallen in love with BA. In fact, we can actually imagine ourselves living there... And for the past month, it really felt like home. We made some amazing friends and really had a great time.

Tally of BA:

The touristy stuff:
  • Tigre - We took a day trip to the Tigre, which is the largest river delta in the world. It's only about 15 km away and it's ridiculously accessible by train (which costs 15 cents)! Once there, you need to take a boat to get anywhere (and by anywhere, I mean, the little plots of land that can hold resorts, restaurants, beautiful summer homes that are all seperated by lots of water. There is an icecream/grocery/flower/local taxi boat for everything. The houses are built on stilts and it seems that everyone owns either a jetski/boat/canoe/kayak or some sort of thing that floats to get you from point A to B. I wish we had more time to go around there. Oh and we had the most amazing chocolate dipped waffles on sticks there!
  • Recoleta Cemetery - It's one of the must see tourist attractions and was only about 3km away from our apartment. It's eeriely beautiful with it's maze like rows and rows of beautiful crypts, caskets and sculptures. I suppose seeing Evita Peron's was pretty cool but we ended up freaking ourselves out a bit after a while and had to get out of there as the sun started to set. We're no Buffy.
  • Palermo - Our neighbourhood had some of the coolest looking restau-lounges everywhere. I need to take some pictures of them!
  • San Telmo - Grander architecture, antique fairs everywhere but what made us love the area the most - was our favorite coffee shop - La Poesia - with the best cappuccino in town and Bar Seddon - which, surprisingly enough, had the best pasta for Yuko and the most amazing steak for me!
  • La Boca - Glad we finally made it's colourful and really only spans 2 blocks but it's lively and beautiful. It's pretty darn touristy but ya, people are attracted to brightly painted houses, funny statues of Maradona, Eva Peron and pretty people dancing for you at restaurants. Total kitch but a great way to spend an afternoon. Just don't go down on the wrong corner.
  • Feria de Mataderos - It's a great fair with local artisans. The cool thing is that people walk around in costumes not for tourists but cause I think they just really like looking like gauchos. The locals just get in on the action and start dancing to the live music. Had some yummy Humitas, empanadas and choripans.
Noteworthy acknowledgements:
  • People - Hands down, some of the best looking men and women in the world! Oh and they were unbelievably nice too.
  • Nightlife - Legendary. Actually epic. Admittedly, I have not gone out that much ever! But if you're going to do it, apparently BA is the place to discover every single type of bar/lounge/pub/club possible - which, I think we did a great job on. By the way, props to my girl Priya :) Go to a gay club in BA for their shows - I still have New York, New York and other Broadway tunes running in my head! As an aside, I'm still not over how many men tried to pick me up and follow me around at a gay random, I really don't understand. I understand why people laughed when we said that we were going to Buenos Aires for R&R - they're right, this is not the city for it. I've had more energy drinks in the last 2 weeks than I ever have in my life. The drink of choice here is apparently Speed (their version of RedBull) y Vodka.
  • Public transportation - Impressive. Between the Subte, 24 Hour bus/colectivo system, the trains and the taxis that are everywhere, I've never been to a more accessible megacity in the world. The grid like urban planning of the city, means that you can literally walk everywhere. I can't begin to tell you how impressive Buenos Aires is.

Uruguay - It seems almost a shame to write about Uruguay in the same blog entry after raving about BA. So, the Lonely Planet describes Uruguay as a "Great hidden secret" - We've decided not to believe everything they say... As a prelude, yes, perhaps it's because it was off season and it is winter. Maybe it was because we only went to a total of 3 cities. But honestly, the best way that we can describe Uruguay is Unremarkable. I feel unbelievably bad saying that, but honestly, we were there for 6 days and it was ridiculously expensive for what we got out of it.
  • Colonia - Cute little UNESCO heritage city. It's tiny but worth the day trip. Only go a day! We love walking tours and took some cool pictures of old city with its rich history of what 16th century brothels were like, what the differences between Portuguese and Spanish roofs were and rented a fun triciclo to get around. We drove every road twice in 3 hours...
  • Montevideo - Yuko has a really dramatic quote describing it as a city with it's soul dying. But ya, it kinda was. You could tell that it had a hayday at one point, only to have it crumble. I suppose it didn't help that it was apparently a long weekend and can you believe it, everything and we mean everything actually closes during the weekend!! It is apparently, a time of rest...great concept, but honestly, I have no idea how an economy can run that way. It completely wierded us out.
  • Punta Del Este - We took a day trip to this cute beach resort town about 2 hours east... It was pretty in a non-descript in the sense that the city could have been in Europe, Cancun, Florida - really odd.
We met some really cool people in the hostels that we stayed at...the Chivito (Uruguayian Steak sandwich was great) and I think that's pretty much that...
Punta Del Este - Lighthouse

We were obsessed with this hand sculpture on the beach.

Our little Triciclo. 200ccs of good times...yup, I drove ;)

Training for Buffy at the Recoleta Cemetery

Tigre and their boats (surprisingly they follow passenger capacity - something has to be safe - at least on water)