Diving into the past of a great grandeur
15.02.2012 - 15.02.2012 35 °C
Touching down into flat land, it's really that flat, the delta on one end, and endless greens on the other. Flying over the whole town, vast, squared map, then green again, the airport far outside.
They didn't expect so many Europeans knocking at their door early on this Wed morning, 5 counters for thousands of those energetic, technically dressed, trekkers in boots, and backpacks. Anyway we slept quit well, queued with the locals eventually, and used our first Spanish words to distinguish tourism from businessmen, which they acknowledge, stamp the Passports and off we go. Queuing again to pass the luggage through another security control, for mysterious reasons...
Using Manuel de Leon as the transport into the metropole was the best choice, as we learned later, but now we're just boarding the bus, driving the motorway into town, next to everybody drowsing away. Arriving an hour later at their terminal, a private well manicured lawn surrounded platform, which they use to transfer passenger to their local vans heading into personal hotels. Our van fits four, not exactly as the luggage is too big, and it takes 15 min until the best order is found. My husband telling me that patience will bring us to the hotel, not interference with drivers skills. Anyway our luggage is too heavy, so some lifting is appreciated.
Eventually we start driving, and learn that the other passengers are from goettingen, close to Frankfurt where we used to life for 10 years. Getting around half the world to meet people who could have been your neighbours... Is that the destiny of travellers? I'm suspicious. The traffic is dense, fast, hectic, not terribly dangerous, i.e. no as expected, although expectations have stayed at home ... We arrive at the hotel, treated by two by nice and friendly ladies, who check us in. But Slobodan realises he's left his jackets, and pullovers on the bus, and is already contemplating about flying back home, because of the disastrous anticipation not having the right jacket for the capitals we'll visit to wear, an unimaginable prospect, but the receptionists had made already some calls, and in contrast to our fears, all stuff has been collected, and is ready for us to be collected. Off we go, back to the bus terminal, this time on the tube.
The tube is old, but running, all windows open in the tunnels, producing a good draught in the 35 degrees climate. We reach the center again, pass by some old trainstations, flee markets in frint of them, selling everything and fruitjuices, the only thing I could use now, but we're too scared of the unknown, so no tries yet. Against a passport check we get all the stuff from the bus terminal staff and then finally head into town.
After being handed our lost possessions, we're out in the heat again, a first stroll through town, crossing huge avenues, full of colourful trucks, hords of cabs, and crazy fast running busses. Need to get used to crossing a ten line road. The town and street structure reminds of some European cities, but because of the scale, also the US. It's the dust and dirt which reminds you it's not Paris or Madrid. But it has a European touch, no doubt, and not unexpected, based on the fact that it's build by Spanish, French and Italian, and wanted to remind the inhabitants of where they were from, or their desire to belong to .... We walk by a Harrods building, closed and dilapidated, probably since the Malvinas got lost, there is not much mood to buy Marmite or Marmelade now. But the facade has still some beauty, as so many buildings still have, although at least during the last 20 years not much has been renovated, or even new build. We stroll along crossing a pedestrian shopping street, and mall, and cross avenida Mayor, with its enormous big, 15 floor art deco buildings, marble entry halls going over 3-4 floors, candelabras, mechanical metal brass revolving doors, and sun clocks indicating the level the passengers were highflying. We cross direction San Telmo, in search for cafe Poesia, which appears a few streets down, on a small corner. An old cafe wodden decor, piano in one corner, old pictures, the sentiment of older times, but also a neighbourhood hub for arts and culture. Nobody speaks English, and after some misunderstandings we order some huge fruit smoothies, and a steak and salad, which we had hoped would have been a small plate of the local meats. The coffee is delicious, and art multiple of them we realise that our spare cash is not going to pay the bill. With some indications I'm heading out into the heat, on search for some ATM which are quite sparse in this area of town. It's a nice area by the way, and I'm now on an unplanned sight seeing stroll, the 9th cash machine works, and all banks are closed, I'm heading back to the waiting Slobodan, and the waitresses who were wondering why it took so long.
On the way to another tube stop, we cross through the really touristic, antique shops everywhere, cobbled street net, and at the local main square, seeing the last 10 secs of a couple tango dancers, passing a retirement home, with a lovely garden, onto the 9th july avenida, which on the border to La Boca indicates our tube stop. 4 motorways cross here high up in the air, in the midden a fanced spot with 10 dogs in it. The area looks run down, although even here some girls sit in a coffee shop and chat, next to the noisy road. The pavement is something to get used to, since it's broken everywhere, somebody fixed a pipe, or some other causes, if not just ageing broken tiles or stones, but it reminds me of belgrade, only there was no war here ... It's a general impression, whether it's streets, houses, tubes, cars,of all has seen better times, some really good ones in the 20th, and some more modern structures remind of later times, but since the economic crisis in the 80th everything must have come to a halt, at least investment into the visibles.
We're heading back home to the hotel, in need of a little break before checking on dinner places. We have recommendations for 3 restaurants, and one bar.
What looks like a stretch of park on the map, appears to be a dogy area not to cross walking, so the receptionist informed us, we therefore start walking to the first place, a traditional Argentinian steak house, large room, all in wood and cast iron metal, the background in red wine, very harmonically, but also touristically, and since we're not into heavy meet today anymore, we continue towards the square where a short cab ride should await us to cross the dangerous border. We get a cab, to drive 200 m up the road, nothing really dodgy aside from the cabdriver, and reach a pub to have a beer as expensive as in London.
The restaurant around the corner behind a graffiti wall was tip, and we enter after ringing the door bell. But it, Tengui it's name, appears to be a fancy spot, with inside and outside sitting, expensive at the end, and after some arguing with a nice sommelier, they acknowledge that there is no good white wine in Argentina, an after four attempts of trying all they have, we pay an leave home, this time walking through the dodgy area, but nothing noticeably happens.