In Buenos Aires
Well, we’ve disembarked. Our cruise has come to an end here in Buenos Aires and tomorrow, the ship will sail without us on the next leg of the journey to Rio. We’d originally booked that section as well but thought better of it and cancelled. This morning, as we packed our bags, we felt we’d done the right thing. It’s time to go home.
Except, not quite yet! We have a day to ourselves in BA and don’t fly home till tomorrow. There is something about this city that I really like and I was looking forward to a bit of fun.
So, we checked into our hotel and after a bit of a breather, headed out to see what was going on. We knew of a flea market in San Telmo, where we’d been yesterday, and thought that might make a focus to aim for.
We’ve actually been here twice before; the last time was about ten years ago when we spent a week in Argentina on our way home from New Zealand. We walked our feet off around the city that time and sure enough, it all came back to us as soon as we turned into the Plaza San Martin. We walked down Calle Florida, then, just like in those days.
The cashmere sweater shops were still here, with amazing prices. There are 20 Argentinian Pesos ($) to the pound, by the way.
Above street level there are some truly gorgeous buildings with fine architectural details.
But beware of looking up at them too long, because underfoot are quite a few hazards. Yes, Buenos Aires has been going through some tough times and it shows.
There it is, beyond the monument, the balcony where Eva Peron stood and sang “Don’t cry for me Argentina” – well, at least, in someone’s imagination, but definitely not in real life
Just beyond that spot was the street which we understood led to the flea market. Actually, there was a market going on right inside the street here, so we crossed the road and headed in that direction.
I‘m not sure the goods on sale would really constitute a flea market in my opinion, but never mind, we carried on to see what’s what.
There were fine buildings with interesting old signs. Nothing we wanted to buy though.
Oho, I could put on my own bola show when we get home, maybe, and pretend to be a gaucho? (I still haven’t told you about that, have I?)
We decided instead to sit by the side with a beer and watch the world go by a while. Watch the children picking bottle caps from the cobbles, too.
Across the way, something was cooking. You are never far from a piece of grilled meat in Buenos Aires, believe me!
Tempting though it was, we kept walking. We have plans for later.
But there really was plenty of temptation!
As always, we were drawn to some live music. This group were playing tango music down a small side street and so we stood happily in the shade and listened a while.
I’m pleased we did – otherwise, I’d not have seen this great piece of graffiti.
Or this pretty house, falling to pieces right now, but just imagine how beautiful it could be with a bit of investment.
For now, these houses are locked and bolted and are in need of love.
Soon, we were in the square where the real flea market was being held but once again, I could hear tango music. Actually, wherever you walk in BA, there’s tango music playing somewhere, but when it’s live, it immediately captures my attention.
We stood on the shady corner of a “Calle de Tango” named after Mariano Mores, watching a group play and thinking there was going to be some dancing soon. They had laid out a sheet of board in front of them on top of the cobbles and there was no other reason we could think of to have it there.
Then he appeared. A gentleman of a certain age, wearing a hat tipped forward and with a definite glint in his eye. In not time, he’d got one of the women dancing – not really a tango, but something of the kind! What a rascal he looks, don’t you agree?
We took a different route back, not wishing to mooch through all those market stalls again at a snails pace.
Even in the back streets, there’s always something to see and photograph.
And plenty of small corner restaurants offering tasty dishes. Hmmm…
All through the city, we came across small groups of policemen. One group appeared to be trying on each other’s hats, another was undoing new high-vis uniform pieces and trying them on. Were they cadets? Special constables? Or just normal police officers going about their jobs on a quiet Sunday afternoon? We had no idea.
We walked as far as the Avenida 9 Julio and walked a block or so before turning right towards our hotel. We were getting tired and it was very hot.
Remember, I said you’re never far from a piece of grilled meat in BA?
As we turned into Florida to walk the last stretch back, we spotted an ice cream shop. Having made our purchases we perched on the edge of the windowsill of a bank opposite and sat eating it, musing about the day. Suddenly, two women ran down the street and seemed to be running away from something. Other people began to look – what was happening?
Next thing we knew, a young man was running shouting towards us from the street where we’d just walked. He was being chased by a couple of police officers (wearing new high vis vests!) and was clearly running from someone else too. The police officers grabbed him and sure enough, another man who’d been chasing him was rugby-tackled to the ground right in front of our eyes!
Whilst they tried to calm the chaser down – his head on the pavement above,
They brought the other – shirtless – man alongside us and began to ask a few questions. How amazing that there were so many police officers instantly on the scene! Two police cars too. We watched a while until we’d finished our ice creams and then continued on our way.
Too much entertainment!
I took a few last photographs of grand buildings and a reminder of what Buenos Aires was like in its heyday and we were almost back.
I had intended to go over and take a photo of the Falklands – sorry, Malvinas – memorial in the park there, but my feet wouldn’t let me! I have a photograph at home which I may post in a few days time instead.
It’s opposite the tower built by the British from materials imported from the UK to commemorate the May revolution. Sorry the tree got in the way!
Footsore and feeling a little overheated, we retreated to our cool, air conditioned room having bumped into a couple of our on board neighbours in the street outside, waiting for the bus back to the ship. Did we wish we were waiting for that bus to return to our comfortable suite on board? Well, not really. We said goodbye to our friends this morning and look forward to being back in our own little Cotswold village soon.
Not before we’ve had dinner, though. Argentine style. You know what that means?