Argentina is a great place to travel to if you are on a limited budget. For the American, every dollar becomes roughly about $4. So instead of getting some clothing for your trip, purchase the clothing and goods when you are in Argentina! Try to go to Argentina when there is a FIFA cup of some kind going on in the world! The Argentinians ENCANTA their football (soccer)!
Me in front of Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires
In case you didn’t know, the Argentinian’s have a female president! Her name is Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Cristina underwent thyroid cancer surgery sometime this past year. I would have to say that she is quite dashing and stunning like most Argentinian women! She has style and power!
Obelisco de Buenos Aires
The obelisk is located in the Plaza De la Republica. It was our first stop on our tour of Buenos Aires. This is also the area where the “Mothers of the Disappeared” also known as the “Mothers of Plaza De Mayo” congregate on Sundays to bring awareness to terrible events that took place during the “Dirty Wars”. The mothers in white scarves that show up each Sunday are victims to their children being kidnapped or killed (1976-1983) The terrible tragedies that these mothers endured still haunts them today as more stories are being exposed. To make a long story short, a military dictator by the name of Jorge Rafael Videla took power and gave orders to make people “disappear”. Not sure if Videla has ever been charged with anything because everything was “mysterious” and many records were probably destroyed. In many cases, young adults were targeted, specifically college students who were voicing their opinions against the military dictator. Babies were kidnapped since Videla and others feared that parents or activists would influence the babies. These babies were then either purchased or given to military elite who may have had problems conceiving children. Oftentimes, these kids would get older and start to question more about their lives feeling that something was “out of place”
Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires
The liberator of Argentina, Jose De San Martin
rests here in this elaborate marble tomb draped in an Argentine Flag. Make sure to turn your flash off. This has to be one of the most important tombs in Argentina since there are military guards dressed in “old school” military dress.
It is always a treat to see mosaic tiles! Make sure to look down on the ground to appreciate these little beauties!
There is always a rugged, rough and tough part of town. That place in Buenos Aires happens to be the birthplace of Tango, La Boca. Of course there are areas of La Boca that cater to the tourists who are looking to spend their pesos on kitschy items that they might cherish for a month or so, but there are also places in La Boca to STAY AWAY FROM. Be careful venturing at least 3 or more blocks of La Boca as it can be dangerous and quite sad. There are areas close to La Boca where there are people sitting on the streets with literally nothing to do. It probably wouldn’t be smart to snap photos on your SLR of kids living in poor conditions thinking that you will be National Geographic’s next photographer. Stay out of Dodge! Just be happy strolling through the various little shops and spending some pesos on items like cool posters or T-shirts. Of course there will be craploads of Tango style aprons and Tango music to choose from as well. You’ll hear Tango on every single corner and you will definitely see a girl wrapping her leg in a stacatto type of way around her Tango partner as she stoically dances around him. You’ll see the locals sitting outside puffing on their cigaros and you’ll see the mingy looking dogs running around for some kind of scrap action. I enjoyed seeing graffiti art of Maradonna and listening to conversations in Spanish of which I could only understand very simple phrases.
As for Tango, it has a curious and original story that is worth sharing. So from the talks that I had with our tour guide Mauriano, he mentioned that Tango has it origins with economics. There are many stories regarding the birth of Tango because a lot of it was not recorded. This one make sense to me! Many young men frequented the brothel houses. Buenos Aires had a huge demographic shift during the turn of the century due to their cattle industry and British investment. Many young men were looking for love…but of course in the wrong places. The brothel houses could not keep up with the amount of men that were coming in for a temporary fix. While the men were waiting for their turn, they started drinking. When you get horny, young men and booze waiting their turn for sex, then strange things start to happen and that includes dancing with each other. The men as a way to joke around started dancing with each other playing hard to get. They topped it off with major theatricality by adding the Rose. Men hooted and hollered as they drank, danced and laughed. It became quite serious and people started to realize it. People brought the dance to France. The French said great dance, but ditch the male and put in a female and VOILA…TANGO!!!!!!! Try Bar Sur
or Rojo Tango
to watch a sophisticated and classy show.
It might be a bit creepy if you go by yourself. Definitely go with others to see this curious and fascinating cemetery. Make sure you check out Eva Peron’s grave. You’ll see homeless cats and mausoleums that will make you think you are in Europe. If you peer inside some of these mausoleums, you can see the coffins of people from the 1800’s. Some of the tombs are very well kept and locked up very well, while others are crumbling and decaying. It was one of the most stunning and beautiful cemeteries I have ever seen in my life.
Eva Peron Museum
The Eva Peron Museum
can easily be done in an hour or less. It walks you through her life. She did a lot of charity work for women and children. This room pictured above was a place where single mothers could sit and relax. I can’t honestly remember too much about this museum because I was pretty tired at this point. I do remember seeing some beautiful clothing that Eva wore. She was quite fashionable.
One day at dinner we were commenting on all the different types of potatoes that we have eaten. The waiter overheard us and delivered us this plate of prep potatoes. He went through each potato and explained what style of potato they were for eating. The patata noisette is a round ball. The patata fritas is the typical french fry. Unfortunately, I forgot to write down the rest of the names. If somebody knows them, please email me!
You’ll see empanadas on street corners and practically on any menu as an appetizer. It is the quintessential Argentine snack or appetizer! It is a flaky pastry that is either shaped in a crescent moon or square shape as pictured above. It usually consists of beef, egg and green olives. An Argentine told me that this is typical. There are many more variations on the empanada, but it is one of my absolute favorites! Put some chimichurri sauce on it and I’m in heaven!
Shopping in Palermo
This is your chance to shop till you drop. Pick up leather products like boots and jackets. Remember that you shouldn’t go over the $1000 limit or you’ll have to pay a little more at customs. You can also get back some money at the airport for certain goods that you purchase. Keep your receipts! I could have claimed about $200 back, but didn’t have time at the airport. Pick up some Mendoza region wine or some Malbec and definitely get some of those alfajores that I told you about. Submarino chocolates to make hot chocolate at home are always great as well!
While you are in Palermo, go get your hair styled or dyed! If you are adventurous like me with hair, I got a cut and dye and style for $40! It was fantastic and my fellow travelers were amazed that I did something so gutsy. The Argentinians know how to do hair and they do it quickly. They didn’t even do a strand test, they just started pasting away and I haven’t been able to get the same color since. It was a fabulous experience for me! Don’t do it if you are finicky about your hair. Just go get your hair washed and dried and styled for a cheap cost. I recommend the hair salon located in the bottom of the original house of Jorge Luis Borges in Palermo. My hairstylist spoke pretty good English.
When you are tired from all the shopping around, go to a local cafe and get a cafe cortado. They put a small amount of milk to cut down the acidity. Cortado means to “cut”. This is a great time to chat about the day and to catch the score for a football game. If you are not into coffee, have a submarino. They give you piping hot milk and then you literally dunk your pieces of chocolate into the milk and stir away!
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