Buenos Aires Tres – The Christmasing
Started with a week in Palermo Hollywood barrio, adjacent to Palermo Soho, where we stayed our first couple visits. Cool neighborhood, lots of places to eat, ranging from just neighborhood joints to some chic restaurants. Oh, and multiple craft beer bars to try some of BA’s, er “best”.
On a particularly hot day, we got to enjoy an 8 hour controlled black-out, starting at 2pm. Wandered around the neighborhood looking for a coffee joint to plug in and wifi up, but no luck. After a nap we headed out around 8pm, was like World War II Air Raid Black Out dark in our immediate neighborhood, but a couple blocks away places had power. We found a great Fish & Chips place and enjoyed, well, you guessed it, fish & chips. With curry sauce. Yippee! When we returned home at 10, lo and behold we had power. Hooray.
We took advantage of the Christmas Eve Day holiday to enjoy a bicycle tour of part of the city. We enjoyed it. Even if we had already been most the places the tour went, our guide Facu had some great historical facts and tidbits to pass along. One is the meaning of the Evita Peron building. As he explained it, the rich lived to one side while the poor the other. One the side facing the rich section of the city is an angry Evita pontificating into a microphone (or possibly eating a cheeseburger), while facing the south is a loving Evita.
My fave tidbit was a story of new money, old money, social standing and a woman scorned. An extremely rich ‘old money’. An old money family had a swell mansion on a hill, which they built to show off a marvelous view of their favorite church when hosting company. A woman of new money wanted to marry their son. The son was entranced with this woman… but Moms said “No.” New money wasn’t good enough to marry old money. You’ve heard what they say about women scorned. Women with money exponentially so. The scorned woman used her family money to build SA’s first sky scraper… coincidentally between Old Money’s mansion and their favorite church, thus destroying the view. Oh, and you might find he shape of said building vaguely familiar. (Hint, as our guide pointed out the gesture means is close to what his name sounds like.) One of my favorite buildings in SA after hearing that story.
It was also enjoyable to cruise the normal busy streets of Buenos Aires, many of which largely empty due to the holiday.
Also amusing was on the way to the meet-up point to the tour we passed a bakery that was baking some Christmas Argentine bread the equivalent of fruit cake. People were lined up down the street. WAY down the street. Hundreds. Looked like a Star Wars Force Awakens premier line, only longer.
Initially worried about where to eat for Christmas Eve, we needn’t have been. Katie and I enjoyed a wonderful steak dinner (top 10 steak for me) chicken for her dinner on a patio… with a complimentary slice of some of the aforementioned Argentine fruit cake bread for desert.
On Christmas day our gift was the arrival of our friends George & Jennifer from the U S of A. We welcomed them to Buenos Aires with gifts of Malbec and Cuban Cigars, which we enjoyed along with the rising full moon on the rooftop pool of their airBNB apartment before going out to score some excellent ramen noodles.
We spent the following day on the Hop-on, hop-off bus tour, making a point at showing off the colorful La Boca. Enjoyed a tango show for lunch Ordered a lomito for lunch, wondering why it was so expensive compared to the Paraguayan version… and found out why. It’s not a hamburger sized cut of steak, it’s the whole freaking steak on a bun.
I had to wuss out during the latter half the bus trip. The sun was blazing and with traffic at a near standstill, no shade sent me scurrying for the lower deck lest I fry.
Was great seeing friends again, particularly those who have made the trek to South America. Always fun to show off the cool places down here, even if George had already seen a lot of the Continent. They continued exploring northern Argentina for their vacations, while Katie and I went Further South to El Calafate.