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We flew from Salta straight to Buenos Aires on Christmas Eve afternoon. I had splashed out and booked us a nicer hotel for our time over Christmas, and while the hotels we have been staying in were fine, a flat screen tv, massive bed and about 50 tv channels were definitely appreciated.
We knew that the Argentines celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, and that they eat pretty late, but we were still surprised when the hotel concierge suggested he book our Christmas dinner for 10.30pm! The restaurant was ok, weirdly enough New Peruvian food, and when we finished about midnight, we were walking back to the hotel through all the Portenos (Bs As locals) letting off firecrackers in the street, or off balconies.
On Christmas Day we did a self guided walking tour through the city centre, and being recovery day from the Christmas celebrations, the city was nice and quiet, making it easier to get around, and take photos without hordes of people in the way. We did manage to find a heladaria which was open, and had a Christmas feast of two scoops and a waffle cone.
Our hotel also had free internet, so we were able to listen to the first few overs of the Boxing Day test on the ABC website, and also follow the score with Cricinfo. The first thing and last thing that Dave did every day for the next few days was check how the Melbourne Test was going. Understandable, as he has attended the last 4 Boxing Day tests.
On Boxing Day we did a guided walking tour through Recoleta and Palermo. The main part of this walking tour was through the Recoleta cementary, where Argentinas rich are buried. It was really good doing a guided tour through the cementary, as the guide told us lots of stories of those buried there. This included the full life story of Eva Peron (Evita) but also of a girl buried there who found out in 1901 on her 19th birthday party that her mother was having an affair with her boyfried. The poor girl was in such shock that she fell into a coma, was pronounced dead by doctors, and then buried by her family in the cementary. Later that night the cementary workers heard noises coming from the area of the tomb, but did not investigate. They later opened her coffin to find scratches - the poor girl was buried alive, but then died of either fright or loss of oxygen. Apparently the mother and the boyfriend stayed together, and the boyfriend later went on to become one of Argentinias presidents.
The other story, less tragic, that I liked was of a very wealthy couple. The bloke had all the money, and his wife loved to shop. Fed up with her spending his money, he took out newspaper advertisements saying that he would not honour any bills she rang up in the shops (as there were no credit cards or electronic means of stopping her spending at the time). They had a great fight, and then she did not speak to him again for the rest of his life, even though they stayed married and lived together. He died first, and insisted that when she went she was to be buried with him at the cementary. Befitting of their wealth, she had a huge tomb built, with a statue on top of her husband sitting in a chair. But she specified than when she died, a statue of her was to be put to the back of his, so now they are both back to back, still not talking. I like that she had the last word!
The cementary, with all its tombs, angels and other statues was beautiful, and so we decided to listen to the stories on the tour, and go back later to take photos.
The rest of our time in Bs As we spent walking around the various must-see suburbs, including the Palermo parks, San Telmo and Boca. We did the tour of La Bombera, the Boca Juniors football stadium, where Maradonna is still a legend.
On our last night, Dave and I went to a milonga, an Argentine dance hall to have our tango lesson. Initially I thought I had screwed up the day, as it started with something more like a aerobics routine than a tango, and straight after they were playing salsa music, and people were salsaing. Then they cleared the floor and about 6 couples did a demonstration of tango. Then we were divided into groups and taught some tango steps. So we did get a tango lesson with the locals, though there were so many of them it made practice of the steps near impossible afterwards. It was good to go have a stab at tango ourselves, and see people of varying proficiency do it, than pay $100 to see a tourist tango show.
On our last night, just before the tango lesson, we thought we would give the parilliada a go. This is the typical Argentine meat dish, a selection of various meats (´from all parts of the cow´as our waitress put it) served on a hot grill. Therefore it involved offal, but I thought I might as well give it a go. One bite of kidney, however, and I was sworn back on to the lomo. Why they bother to eat the crap when they have so much of the good stuff I don´t understand.
So, after 5 days of walking, eating and dancing our way through the Argentine capital we headed back to the Andes to Bariloche.
More photos can be seen here.