Country #14 means the beginning of the end. Less than a month left to go. So much more to see! Not enough time!!!
We arrived in Buenos Aires early in the morning. First impressions of the country not so good as a man who rolled one bag of ours about 20 feet while we carried our backpacks to the taxi asked L for a tip!
The city itself (population 13 million) is yet another big city so nothing much to write about. We checked the Sheraton Park Towers for 2 nights (on points yet again), where we had a lovely bottle of champagne welcoming us to a glorious big room. The room overlooked the entire city and a Big Ben replica.
To keep a boring story short, I will share the highlights of our 4 days there:
* We took a city tour on arrival. This lasted about 3 hours and we felt like we got a good sense of the city.
*We walked all around the city, through a crafts market and then to the cemetery where Evita is buried. I thought New Orleans was the only place that buried their dead above ground. These graves were obviously built for the very wealthy and their families. They were colossal, even bigger than the ones in N.O. and had glass fronts so you could actually see the coffins inside. Evita is buried with her family in one of the more modest grottos. They were quite impressive.
* We walked down the main shopping street. Pedestrian only, the buskers are tango dancers who are anxious to show off their impressive moves for a bit of cash. There are about 200 leather factory stores along the street, each of them having someone outside putting a card in your face, urging you to come in their store to have a look around. WE went into one but the guy was a bit too aggressive so we left. The jackets didn't seem to be of the best quality anyway.
* We had our first meat feast! Went to a restaurant for lunch. L ordered pig, I ordered steak. We got almost the entire pig and cow. The portions were HUGE! And served only with some bread. The meat was a bit fatty but delicious all the same. And so cheap! We were absolutely stuffed but looked forward to more meat feats to follow...
We went to watch a football match! We were lucky to be there on a Sunday and got tickets to see River Plate (one of the best national teams) play a smaller league team. The stadium was about 60% full. Have never seen anything like Argentinian sports fans. They stood the entire game and jumped so much it looked like the upper tier would cave in! They also sang the entire game which made the atmosphere that much more fun. Now can't get the song out of my head "Hey. Amo River Plate..." They won 2-0.
* We spent an entire day trying to get me a Visa for Brazil. Turned up at the Brazilian Embassy and they sent us to another location which we couldn't find. Had to make a phone call to get an address and we finally found it. The lady at the counter was not friendly and the process took more then an hour. Then we had to pay for the visa at a bank on the other side of town and return the next day to pick it up. Good news is I got the visa.
* We went to a backpackers travel agency to plan the rest of our tour through Argentina. They booked everything for us on the spot including buses, hostiles, meals, etc.
* We spent the first 2 nights ordering room service and watching a Seinfeld marathon. We had to check into a new hotel the last night there = budget hotel, cheap and tiny rooms. As we wanted to spend as little time as possible there, we went to a pub for a few drinks. Happy hour special was til 10:00pm. 2 bottles of beer for 7 pesos ($2.50). It had been more than a week since our last binge. We were long overdue...