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Back in Buenos Aires

This post was written by jd on January 21, 2008
Posted Under: Travel

We left Bariloche Friday the 19th on a bus at three in the afternoon and arrived the next day at ten thirty. The ride is very comfortable and the seats fold down to make a bed. A hot meal is served at night and a very light breakfast in the morning.

We checked into our apartment which is right downtown and about five blocks from the Obelisco. The Obelisco is a monument to Buenos Aires and was built in 1936 in just thirty one days. It was built to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first, but unsuccessful founding of the city in. It was later founded in 1580.

Under the Obelisco is a shopping center and underground pedestrian causeway around the center of the subtre (an underground subway) The shops are old, dating back to the 1960’s. It’s called the Paseo Obelisco, with not much for shopping, a few barber shops, cheap clothing, cafes and other little shops. Three subways or metros meet at the Paseo Obelisco.

The Oblisco on the Avenida 9 de Julio micro central Buenos Aires

The Oblisco on the Avenida 9 de Julio micro central Buenos Aires

Later in the night we went to a restaurant that had a tango show. Dinner, the show and a small bottle of wine was only 70 pesos or so, about 22 bucks, we could almost touch the dancers. The dancing and singing was wonderful and full of great energy. The last time I was here I had my camera pick pocketed. This time, I bought a Cannon SD750 for our trip. I really like this camera, it’s small, you can put in your pocket, out of sight, and in crowded areas, I put both hands in my pocket. I put a four gigabyte card in the camera and was able to take movies of the dancers with plenty of memory to spare.

Tango dancers

Tango dancers

Tango dancers at their best

Another tip, if you have a laptop, download your pictures every night, then if your camera is stolen, you still have the pictures you took. That’s what I did last time, and only lost that one days’ worth of pictures.

Then on Sunday we went to San Telmo, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, it was the home of the very wealthy until the 1877 outbreak of Yellow Fever. It is the barrio most identified with the tango, also lots of shops selling antiques. On Sundays there is a huge market inside of Plaza Dorado (an entire block of stalls) and all the way up and down Calle (street) Defensa is a huge open air market. It is at least 13 blocks long, with no cars allowed, only side to side artesans selling their wares. And many of the side streets add another block or two of people selling there wares. It took us all day to complete the circuit. So that was the good part of the day, what comes next wasn’t so funny.

Judy and I were walking on down town street broad daylight, returning to the apartment when we both felt a sudden splash on our backs. It was a slightly smelly goop sort of the texture of weak concrete. Immediately, a women walking beside us came over to help clean it off. Then a man comes from the other direction, pointing up to a window he says he saw some one throw the stuff at us. While “helping” they took my wallet out, took two hundred pesos and my ATM card. Then they returned the wallet with 2 pesos left. I had been warned about more than one person coming to your aide yet missed it when it was happening. How naive we were when it was actually happening. Oh well, I hope this helps you in your travels. The card is cancelled and we are only about 60 bucks short for the lesson.

Pick pocketed!

Pick pocketed!

Pick pocketed!

On Monday we spent a disappointing day going from government office to government office, waiting in line, trying to get John’s official Argentine identification number and passport. After three places and much waiting, we have a fourth place to go to tomorrow morning as everything governmental closes down by 3 PM! What a life! (Of course I don’t know when they start but I really don’t think it is earlier than 8AM. They told us to be at the next office between 9 and 3 tomorrow.

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