(What is the time now: 21:40 on Monday 5th Oct,
What am I listening to: Borges y Paraguay, from Bajofondo – a great electro-tango group)
This Sunday was quite special I have to say, I saw a slightly different Buenos Aires, I saw the pushier, more tourist part which I admit I had missed a bit. Couchsurefrs and “underground culture” aside, I am still a fan of stylish cafés, nice restaurants and above all good-looking, presentable women. And that was missing the past week. Jungle/Iguazu aside, where my expectations were non-existent, I kept looking in vain for the “amazing looking women of Buenos Aires”… Until yesterday (Sunday) that is, where I finally realized that this city lives and breathes two very different types of air, dresses in different styles and for sure goes to different places.
I met Aliki the week before, she came to visit Menelaos, she’s a very interesting, friendly 30-year old Greek, living in BA for a few months now, working for a Greek company that…I can’t tell you more. She’s planning on staying here for about 2 years and is enjoying the city. Her good Spanish and previous experience of living in Barcelona also help. Her expat salary does too, but she doesn’t flaunt it and that’s the cool part. She does however like her food and drinks and that’s exactly what I was looking for. Ultimately, it’s crazy not to go out enjoy some top quality eating and drinking spots in a place which in any case is so cheap.
We met in Plaza de Mayo (that’s downtown) around 17:00 on a Sunday afternoon that was simply wonderful. Perfect weather, light clothing and people out walking around. We walked Defensa road which turns into a Sunday flea market/music street. Packed with people, “watch your stuff” she warned me, after going through the unpleasant experience of having her bag stolen a few weeks ago. Facts of a big city...
Place was bustling with people of all kinds, old, young, locals, tourists anybody and everybody was there. So much music and stuff on sale – I’ve just added a few photos/videos to show you what I mean.
Defensa is a long street full of little shops, street vendors and musical bands.
A perfect place to be on a Saturday afternoon. At some point Aliki saw a sign: Tango lessons.
“Come, you want to take a lesson?”
“Forget it, no way”.
We went in and that’s when I saw it. It was just 3 couples, dancing the contrast was amazing, there was an old man of more than 70 years old dancing with a beautiful, young & tall woman (the instructor), the man moving slowly but with so much elegance, leading, following, turning… Respect man, I can’t do that and you are double my age. See below what I mean, although these videos never do real justice to the occasion.
Walking to the end of Defensa, we took a bus to La Boca. For those familiar with football, Boca Juniors is te big BA team and guess what it was Sunday afternoon – right after the end of the game. Locals warned us: you better take a bus, you don’t want to get caught in a street with “fans”… Interesting.
We got off the bus near Caminito, which is a super famous part of Boca (also dodgy) with magnificent, beautifully painted old houses. Sunset did not allow me to take the photos I really wanted but you “get the picture” below. We took more photos and walked around. Suddenly, people started leaving, street vendors started packing up, stands disappearing. “Hm, this is strange” Aliki said. Two blocks down we took a turn into a police barricade (double line & barrier). In the background, the Boca stadium…
“Ok let’s get out of here!”,she said.
And that was the end of discovering La Boca. But not before we stopped at a place and looked at some people dancing tango, chatting with one of the dancers who actually spoke basic Greek (of all languages), having lived in Volos (of all places) for a few months…
Another bus (and I promise you I have a whole posting on buses coming up) and we went close to Aliki’s neighborhood, Palermo. Finally, a truly wonderful place. Palermo is a lovely neighborhood, full of restaurants, trendy bars and boutique hotels. Sundown already behind us, the place was full of people out for drinks, early dinner or just walking around window-shopping. And yes, Buenos Aires women are truly exceptional, stylish and very good looking. I finally had the proof… (meeting some of them is a different story with my overgrown beard and trekking shoes – but who cares?)
Aliki took me to one of her favorite places (“I am bringing my mom for dinner here next month when she visits”, is a statement convincing enough for any Greek…). It was a “parilla” place (Parillas are BBQ places and that means heavenly meat when you factor in the Argentina factor) Damn it, it’s great and I am not the biggest meat fan (BarbaraM: “Kostas, you are AB blood type” – that’s a separate story). Potrions were HUGE, meat was exceptional, service was great and it was so reasonably priced. At the end we simply couldn‘t move. But we had to…
We walked around; spot-checked some bars and I thought to myself, “I am definitely having a night out bar crawling in this neighborhood”. I dropped “Alice” at the edge of Wonderland, near her apartment, took a taxi and headed back to the other side…