What happened in Buenos Aires...

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Our flight into Argentina left Lima, Peru at 01:30.  The flight was only just under 4hrs and then the clocks went on 2hours, so we arrived here feeling a wee bit tired.  It’s their winter here at this time, so we were glad to see some sun, even if cold.


We booked a place to stay at the airport, got a cab and then crashed out for a couple of hours.  Later after a shower, we were ready to face the city.


First impressions:  Definitely less poverty than Peru, and it had a real city feel to the place in a way, it felt like coming back to civilisation!  It’s a café culture made up of people from all over the world so we didn’t feel out of place and the city felt safe at night.


Vegetarians don’t read!  Read most books and Argentina is known for its beef (used to even import it to the UK) and meat eating.  So there are lots of leather shops around, but the best bit is eating it.  Wow, melt in your mouth steaks and no fat.


With the sun shining the next day we thought we would do the bike tour we had seen advertised.  It was a great trip with a great guide and good way to see parts of the city you would take ages to walk to and probably wouldn’t even bother to go to and get some fresh air.  It was about 4hrs long on comfy cruiser bikes.


We saw some interesting neighbourhoods and monuments.  One in particular was the Italian quarter (Caminito) with all the multicoloured buildings.  We found out that feelings still run deep about the Falklands, and many Argentineans still see the Falklands as theirs, they have a war memorial protected by guards and since the war they have changed various monuments names, dropping the word “English”.


The little fat boy, drug snorting hand of god Maradonna is a national hero and still treated like a god to this day.  But apart from that the city has a bit of a New York bustle even with yellow topped cabs and a Spanish twist of Madrid with lots of grand colonial buildings around.


From Buenos Aires you can also go to Uruguay on a day trip which we did, so click on that link to see what we thought.  The location for our hostel was in a great location.  We didn’t need to catch a taxi or take the metro anywhere.  We just walked miles.  Good job with all the cake we ate!  Also the main 9th July Avenue that runs through the middle is so so wide.  You don’t want to cross unless the light is green as the road in parts was 12 lanes wide!


There sure is a mix of classes and a very big class divide.  So many cafes and restaurants and they are all busy and filled with lots of waiters.  The rich eat out all the time.  Even old ladies that if in the UK would be wrapped up drinking coco, over here they are all dressed up eating with their friends until late.


Another noticeable thing is the dog walkers.  Even though the rich all live in apartments in the city they still like to have their status symbol pedigree dogs.  It’s not strange to see dog walkers having both arms full with about 10 dogs on leads on each arm, from Jack Russells to Dalmatians.


We went to see a great Tango show on the Friday night at the famous Café Tortoni.  We even managed to get front row seats in the small audience.  We had visions of being kicked a few times.  We also visited Evita’s grave, what a bizarre cemetery.  The tombs are huge, it was almost like a small housing estate the family tombs were that big!  Also a pretty creepy place as you could see many of the old coffins in the tombs and there were lots of alley cats wandering around…




















President's girlie pink palace!

City view from Reserva Ecologica

































































Tallest building in Argentina

Plaza San Martin



Caminito painted houses

Caminito painted houses



Weekends in most places are known for their markets and we had been given some good ones to visit from various people and in the hostel.  So we decided to do a bit of hike about to various markets on a Sunday.  We visited this huge street market in another neighbourhood called San Telmo.  We had been there some time looking around and called into a very small café for a drink.  Not many people in there and a very tight squeeze.  We had been vigilant with our bags etc all the time on our trip, only taking out with us what’s needed.  For once there wasn’t any room to sit opposite each other so we sat side by side.  We put our bag on the table where we could see it.  Then when our drinks came we put it between us with a jumper over the top.


Then I noticed this older gent come in.  True BA older gent fashion, shirt and cravat.  I thought he was out of place!  Well he sat at the only table behind us.  I saw him get a menu but 5 minutes later he just walked out without ordering anything.


We only noticed the bag gone when we went to pay.  Small little bag, but it had our digital camera, a wallet with a wedge of cash we had just got out to pay our hostel and our 2 debit cards.  Just our luck the cards usually stay locked up in the room.  We told the waiter who found the local tourist police and brought them to the café.  The café owner couldn’t believe it.  The waiter remembered the gent who didn’t order. 


Well the café were really good to us, the owner took us to the police station for what it was worth to submit a crime report.  Even she said the police were no good!  It took ages to fill out this report as the copper seemed more interested in being interrupted by others than helping us.  Anyway, the café owner gave us some money for the phone to call the hostel to let them know the bag had their room key in it.


Next day we went to the UK embassy just let them know.  They told us we were the third person in that morning who had been robbed from the UK on the Sunday and it was only 10am on Monday.


The real fun and games started when we called Barclays (we both bank with them).  They were all very nice about us telling them about the lost cards and that the new ones will be in the post.  But we tried telling them we wouldn’t be home to collect our cards until Christmas and they didn’t have a system for that!  Well after a number of calls, being cut off, talking to managers, being told different things by different people, even being asked to write a letter and post to their head office and that email isn’t acceptable, we finally found some one in the bank who understood we didn’t have any money, we were in a foreign country, lucky to have a tri-band phone and a laptop with us in a hostel with wireless internet to get as far as we had got to get things sorted and even luckier to have an old not really used debit card that expired end of July with us, so after a quick transfer of funds over the internet we had money…


Barclays were quite happy to just send the cards to our home address and put the phone down.  But this one person who had travelled in Barclays said he would get the new cards to the place we asked, being the Rio UK Embassy.  Fingers crossed for that one.  Read Rio info to see if all went to plan!!!


So our last real day in BA before flying up to the falls was spent buying the bits taken, mainly a new camera.  Just glad we had been downloading the memory stick on a regular basis so we didn’t loose too many pictures.


We decided to visit the world’s largest waterfalls (Iguazu) from Argentina instead of doing it in Brazil, as the flight is direct and cheaper.  See separate link for that one!  We meet a lovely couple from Chester who were coming to the end of their 2 year trip.  After the trip to the falls we met up with them in BA for a slap up leaving BA meal.  Another great steak and red wine…  Also congrats on your engagement again Andy and Claire. :o)


More tales:

Flight out of Buenos Aires was a long one even if only to Brazil, Rio.  Being on a One World ticket, South America seems to be sewn up by Lan Chile.  So with Lan Chile we were planning to fly from BA into Chile, Santiago, then connect onto another flight to Rio via Sao Paulo in Brazil. 


Well getting near the time to board it said the first flight was delayed!  It was going to leave us with no time to make our connecting flight.  So they said they would put us on a direct flight with another airline, a great idea or so we thought...  Sounded good, but NOT with our bags, they would meet us later as they hadn’t been able to retrieve them off our original flight!  More of what happened next in the Brazil, Rio link!



Puente Calatrava in the distance

Puerto Madero

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