Sunday 17 December 2017

Buenos Aires, somewhat blurred

Fair warning (and I know there's a more you know fancy name for that but I'm blowed if I can think of it): I've just consumed half of a big bottle of beer and - entirely on my own - a small bottle of Malbec and a very strong (though on good authority not as strong as possible) shot of limoncello. The backspacing will be (already is) epic. All thanks to Las Navarenas, about which more anon.

So. (As they everyone now begins a story these days) (Thanks, Graham Norton.) Today began with a most uncharacteristic eschewing of the pancakes with dulce con leche at the breakfast buffet here at the Park Tower Hotel in Buenos Aires (in favour of a most un-oaty Bircher muesli, and fruit. I know!) and continued with a taxi ride to the Sunday market at San Telmo. (Which isn't how it sounds it should be spelt, amiright?)

It was just lovely. I got there fairly soon after it was meant to be open, ten-ish, so it wasn't crowded, and I was able to poke and browse and mooch to my heart's content along the kilometre or so of stalls selling art, jewellery, clothes, shoes, an astonishing quantity of fur coats, toys, glassware, antiques, books, mate bowls and straws, named knicknackery, food, belts, bags, BA souvenirs, knitted goods, and pretty much anything else you could imagine, down to and including feather dusters and assorted saddlery - bolero, anybody? I ambled along the ankle-threatening cobbles, past some distinguished-but-today-just-background buildings and churches, having a lovely time just looking - and, for once (and yes! regular readers [ie Queen] prepare to be astonished) actually buying something. I know! It was a cut-out coin pendant - not, surprisingly, the 5c tuatara I unexpectedly found, but a capybara coin from Uruguay where I've never been (but it's just across the harbour from here, more or less, and I've been here twice now - plus I got sniffed by a capybara up the Amazon (so to speak) in Peru, and I've known forever that it's the biggest rodent in the world - so all that counts for something, eh).

I eventually got to the Plaza de Mayo where the Pink House stands (the President's office) and where Madonna gave the "Don't cry etc" speech that Evita actually gave elsewhere in the city, and where the faithful grandmothers of the disappeared children still circle the monument at 3.30pm every Thursday, keeping the faith. Then I headed, vaguely, back to the hotel, taking a number of detours, intended and not, and eventually got back there, somewhat fatigued but otherwise very happy with the morning, in time to join a city tour visiting all the places I went last time. Never mind. It was a Signature Tour, and was well done: our guide, Daniela, was especially good, helpful, informative and friendly. 

So we did all the usual stuff: the Pink House (again) with the Madonna/Evita balcony; blue and yellow La Boca; Evita's mausoleum at Ricoleta cemetery (only one of three like it in the world, according to Daniela - that's Paris and Italy, and not New Orleans) and lots of interesting stuff in between, like free university education and a recycled-aircraft shiny metal flower that closes at sunset. Amongst all of which: there's going to be a protest tomorrow, against the Government's proposed pension/tax cuts, which apparently will be something to be avoided. Buenos Aires, it seems, continues to be a bit edgy, politics-wise (it was kind of reassuring to hear that the Falklands War did good to Argentina, in leading to the removal of the junta military government. Seems a small price to pay for some pretty bleak scenery populated by stroppy Brits...). 

The day finished at Las Navarenas, a restaurant just across the road from the Park Tower Hotel (a pretty elegant edifice with quantities of glass and marble, our room being very spacious and comfortable but with an erratic supply of bedside bathmat and a complete absence of pillow chocolate). Of course, Argentina is all about the meat, and in the window of the restaurant was a campfire cooking suspended ribs and joints - so we girded our loins, and prepared to eat some. Well, a rib-eye steak, anyway, chosen as much for its only (only!) being 250g compared to the 400g of the other offerings. Of course turned it out to be immense, and the side dishes ditto (rendering the complimentary starter of empanada and meatballs, and then the accompanying chimichurro, entirely superfluous). Sadly, we were unable to confirm the presence of a large, fat dog in the kitchen taking care of the leftovers. There was, also sadly, no chance whatsoever of indulging in any sort of dulche de leche afterwards. Opportunity missed.

On traversing the lobby back at the hotel, we discovered, to our muted horror, that tomorrow morning has been brought forward in that our 5.30am departure will now be 4.45am  Odd. I was sure this was a Silversea expedition, and not Intrepid Basix? Sigh.

[And if you're disappointed not to see any photos here, well, get over yourself will you? You have NO IDEA how much effort it's taken just to supply coherent sentences. Photos will come. In time. Go and do something else while I sober up, download and upload (as well as sleep, and get transferred to Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the world). You're getting this all for free, remember?]

1 comment:

the queen said...

Your words paint the pictures. And thank you for the detour to Wikipedia to learn about the disappeared grown children. (I read half the information not realizing these were grown children and horrified that a government would torture and kill little five to ten year old children.) be safe on the passage over, since I understand it is very bouncy.


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