Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day Four Already?

I guess technically the first day was almost entirely traveling, but it still seems like the time has gone by pretty fast. Yesterday we did a bus tour in the afternoon and saw a lot of the sights that Buenos Aires has to offer. We saw the Presidential Palace and the national cathedral, which looks more like a museum than a church on the outside. We visited the neighborhood of Boca, where the inhabitants have made buildings out of sheet metal and used whatever ship's paint they had on hand to paint the houses, leading to a very colorful neighborhood. We also went to the La Recoleta Cemetery which is easily the most beautiful collection of mausoleums I have ever seen. Evidently in the 19th Century when BA was in a period of expansion the elites wanted to emulate a similar cemetery in Paris (because everything French was considered good) so they started housing the dead in a cemetery on the site of an old monastery. Showing how rich you were was en vogue, so the mausoleums on site are really incredible. Evita Peron is interred there, so we visited her family's tomb briefly.

After the day tour of the city we had a Tango show arranged in the evening and went to El Viejo Almacen, which is a famous tango club in the San Telmo neighborhood. The dinner was excellent (beef empanadas FTW) and the tango show was very interesting too. After an evening of wine, food, and tango, we returned weary to our hotel room and got to sleep eventually.

This morning we had a hard time getting started, despite the construction going on on our hotel (on Saturday, really?). We managed to get out eventually, and went to the Buenos Aires Zoo. This was of interest to me, because I had heard that they have a lot of South American animals I hadn't see before, which they do. We saw Maras, Capybaras, Vincunas, Guanacos, a Nandu, and a plethora of other local critters, as well animals also found in zoos back in the States. Now if we can't see some of these animals in the wild, we have at least seen some in captivity. The Maras were roaming pretty freely all over the zoo and were really quite cute.

After returning to home base and quick dip in the pool, we elected to eat in as we're both still a bit tired. The Lomonico PorteƱo sandwich was outstanding and they had desert "pancakes" that were out of this world. Full now, ready for tomorrow's adventures, which involve a street fair in San Telmo and hopefully a tour of the Teatro Colon, the world famous opera house.

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