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February 10, 2006 – A journey to Buenos Aires, Argentina in South America

Full of Life

Buenos Aires is one awesome city! Situated next to a mouth of a muddy-brown river that opens to the ocean, B.A. not only has a fabulous nightlife but is a shopper's paradise. Where else can you buy the latest styles from boutique stores for half the price than you would in the States? Replenish your music collection with artists from around the world (e.g., electronic, such as Pacha) by not hurting your pocket too badly? Get your hair cut, dyed, washed, rehydrated, styled, and your head massaged all for $25 USD?

Exploring this city on foot took Rick and I a few days. I really enjoyed doing it this way rather than going on a city bus tour. For three days, we wandered around the subsections of the city via taxi, bus (No. 59 and 64), subway, and on foot:

- City Center: fun to walk around to look at old colonial buildings and monuments, lots of shopping on the pedestrian streets of Avenidas de Florida and Lavalle

lotsa shopping on Avenida de Florida, cheap too

- San Telmo: fun to walk around to look at city architecture, boutique shops, tango, big flea market on Sundays

- Recoleta: nice area, Cemetario de la Recoleta is an interesting site to walk around in

Evita PerĂ³n's body lies in that tomb in the Cemetario de la Recoleta

- Barrio Chino and surrounding area: Chinese food here is actually quite good (recommend Nueva Chinatown), excellent tofu shop if you're craving for soy milk and tofu, lotsa dogwalkers so watch out for poo, close to the city zoo

- Palermo: great parks to lounge or walk around in, nice restaurants

- Puerto Madero: where some really nice restaurants and clubs are at, by the wharf

- La Boca: home of futbol Boca Stadium, beautiful, colorful buildings, has a wharf, lotsa tango in the streets, quite touristy, many cute cafes, great Italian food

colorful buildings in La Boca

- Palermo Viejo: cute cobblestone and tree-lined streets with hippie boutiques, lotsa shopping and nice hair salons with very reasonable prices on Avenida de Sante Fe

- Canitas: many nice restaurants, great all-you-can-order sushi places here, but they mainly serve only salmon

I'm sure I've left out a few areas, but it's because there are so many!

Casa Rosada in City Center

Lots and lots of nightlife here. There's always something to do - whether it's a show, club, pub, etc. People eat really late here - like at 9 or 10 pm at night. Then they either go party (at around 2am, no earlier) or hang out at a bar or pub afterwards. People party to early morning here, too.

Had a fabulous time watching a futbol game between Boca Juniors and another Argentinean team, C.A. Lanus. I prefer watching futbol over baseball any day, as it is a much more exciting game to watch. Constantly in motion. Rick disagrees vehemently, since he grew up watching baseball. Left early to catch dinner with some travelers at an all-you-can-order sushi restaurant. Afterwards, went to a pub to watch the Superbowl.

Boca Juniors vs. C.A. Lanus

Had a late dinner with some other travelers. Left early to catch an informal tango show at Cafe Tortoni (reservations required). The show was an interesting intro to tango, but doesn't really compare to the formal one we saw the next night.

Enjoyed a spectacular tango show that also included a delicious dinner, wine, and a tango lesson. Thought it was a little pricy at $50 USD per person, but in the end, both Rick and I thought it was definitely worth it (reservations required).

awesome Tango show

Had a blah late dinner at a parillada where waiters picked their teeth and noses. No more meat after that! Afterwards, headed to a club called Asea de Cuba, located in Puerto Madero by the wharf. I'm not sure if it was discrimination again, but the bouncers at Asia de Cuba wouldn't let me or Rick in, even though they let the people we were with in (they were Caucasian or Latino). We weren't even dressed poorly. It wasn't until one of the locals that we were with had to talk to them to let us in. This has never happened to us in the States. Enjoyed the music (mostly electronic with a bit of other stuff like Madonna and Black-Eyed Peas) and atmosphere in the club, but did not enjoy the treatment we got. Cover is 30 pesos (~$10 USD) per person and it includes a drink. The bouncers had smirks on their faces when we left.

Rick reserved two spots the day before to a flamenco show at Avila Bar at 9:30pm. Really didn't know what to expect. When we got there we were served the most delicious Spanish cuisine ever. The meal started off with a bottle of champagne, perfect bread with garlic butter, and tapas. Had the choice of paella, seafood, halibut, rabbit, and chicken for the main course. Ended with two kinds of Spanish dessert - had no idea what they were, but they were sumptious. Never had tapas/Spanish cuisine this good. Then came a beautiful, lively flamenco performance with live music. All this for 50 pesos (~$17 USD) per person. What a deal!

Personally, I enjoyed the flamenco show much more than the tango show, even though the tango show was fantastic, too. Flamenco is a dance of fiery passion, whereas tango is more sensual and romantic.

After that, we joined some travelers and headed off to Club 69 (aka Club Niceto in the LP book). Thursday is supposed to be the night for this club, and yes, it was very, very crowded - with skanky dudes and transvestites. A majority of us didn't want to stay since the club looked really sketchy and the music was not danceable. Kinda graduated from this stuff and personally did not want to pay to watch some transvestites dance around (can see this for free in San Francisco already). So, went to another club called Rumi.

Rumi was an experience to remember.

So, the music sounded all right. They played dance-oldies, like 'I Will Survive', New Order, Erasure, and stuff like that. So we all paid the cover (25 pesos = ~$8 USD) and entered. Needed to go to the restroom, so I headed up to the ladies room. After entering into the brightly lit room, I started to notice that the women in there all had orange tans with wrinkly skin and over-dyed hair. I didn't notice any young people. I shrugged it off, did my thing, and went back downstairs to the rest of the group.

We entered the dance area and started to make our way to the back of the club. That's when I noticed even more all these wrinkly but fit men and women dressed too young for their age staring at all of us. Felt quite out of place and got weirded out. All but two in our group decided to stay to just dance, with many of the old folks staring at us. I was too weirded out and actually had to drink a rum and coke and some beer to loosen up. I never drink, too (and I will never again - I didn't get sick but got hives and it looked like I had a really bad sunburn). It was too weird. Finally got up to dance for some time. Then we all left around 3:30am (that's early for Argentineans) and called it a night.

Weirdest club night ever. But it sure makes a lasting memory.

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