As we flew into Buenos Aires, the horizon was red with dawn. A beautiful end to a 14 hour flight.
I was slightly worried going through immigration as I had been given a form to complete on the plane (at 2am). I managed the name and address bits but when it started asking about the make and series of my mobile, I gave up – ‘iPhone, very old’, was the best I could manage. Husband assured me that we only needed one per household and he had done one. No one ever asked for it anyway, so was an unnecessary worry.
On the way to the hotel, we passed a demonstration. They had blocked two lanes of the road (the roads here are really wide) and they had banners (which were in Spanish, so I couldn’t read them.) People had just abandoned their cars in the road and gone to join them. Our driver said this happens a lot.
The hotel, Park Tower, is right next to The English Tower. Our taxi driver said this was because it was a gift from the English. The guidebook said it was because it looks like Big Ben. It doesn’t.
Opposite is the war memorial for the Falklands War (interesting choice of position.) The politics are complicated, the fact that so many young men died is heartbreaking, whatever your nationality.
We looked around Galerias Pacifico, which used to be an art gallery but is now a shopping mall. The walls were beautifully decorated. The shops were just shops, so didn’t spend long in there.
We ate empanachas for supper. They are like mini fried pasties. Go well with beer.
The night wasn’t terrible and I want to keep to UK time as it’s such a short trip. We ordered room service coffee at 4am. The coffee here is very dark, the milk tastes like evaporated milk, so you don’t want much. The room service menu has a separate price list. I’m guessing this is because inflation is currently 25%, so it saves them reprinting the whole menu every time prices go up. It was quite a challenge to get Argentinian currency before we came, and no one will buy it back from us when we go home. Most places accept credit cards or US dollars.
We walked to Casa Rosada, where Evita made her impassioned speeches from the balcony. I can’t tell you how much it was enhanced by Husband singing all the Lloyd Webber songs in my ear, very loudly and slightly off-key. The palace is pink – according to the guide book this is because it’s painted in cow’s blood. I wish I hadn’t known that, think I will stop reading guide book and make up my own reasons for things.
Crossed several major roads (multi-lane roads are a feature of Argentina. They do have lights to help you cross though.) Saw a bridge which is meant to resemble Tango dancers. Husband suggested we could strike a Tango pose and take selfies. We didn’t.
Walked along a river. Even in quite expensive areas, there are people sleeping rough under blankets. They didn’t ask for money, they were just bundled up under shop awnings. Sad.
We got a taxi to La Boca region. We were told in the hotel that it wasn’t safe for us to wander around, but there was one street, Caminito, which was full of tourists. We saw lots of painted houses, cafes with Tango dancers and singers, lots of street art. It was nice and interesting, though not very ‘real’.
I bought a cushion cover for my collection and a fridge magnet for Mum (I’m sure she’ll be delighted, you can never have too many fridge magnets and this one has a bottle opener attached.)
We got a taxi back to the hotel. We were told to only take taxis that had writing on the doors. If they had writing on both front and back doors, it means they’re owned by a company, so they are the best ones. They have a light at the front which tells you when they’re free. There are loads of taxis, so it was easy.
Went back and showered. The hotel’s bathroom products are called ‘Wine and Beauty’. They smell of wine. It’s not unpleasant, but I do feel a bit like I’ve washed my hair in a bottle of Chardonnay. It reminds me of when, as a teenager, I used to rinse my hair in vinegar because someone told me it would give me ginger highlights, and when it rained I smelt like a chip shop.
Went to bed at 6:30 (10:30 UK time.) Husband has muttered about my time plan very little. I will write again tomorrow and let you know what else we see.
Love, Anne x
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