The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Days 99-100, First Steps in Tango Central

The following takes place on Sunday, March 6 and Monday, March 7, 2011

My bus from Mendoza pulled into the Retiro station in central Buenos Aires around one in the afternoon. After getting my bag and tipping the man who pulled the bags out from under the bus(this is a requirement in Argentina) I made my way onto the street and quickly found my way onto Buenos Aires’ aging metro system.

Compared to the subway system in Santiago, Buenos Aires certainly leaves a lot to be desired. Garbage littered the stairs leading down to the metro station and the floor was riddled with ripped up flooring. The cars also seemed like they had seen better days. But considering Buenos Aires had the first underground metro in all of South America, I guess we can let this slide. A little.

Having memorized the route to the hostel before I left Mendoza, I found it without much trouble. I dropped my bags off and, on the suggestion of the guy at reception, went looking for the huge street market that occurs every Sunday.

TIMG_2889he street market was insane. They close off about 12 blocks of a street and fill it with vender after vender selling all sorts of artisan crafts and items. Granted, most of the items are things you would see in any tourist shop in any city, but lots of the stuff was also wholly original. Leather wallets(totally wanted one but avoided temptation), jewellery, metal work, among other things.

I spent a good couple hours just wandering up and down the street, imagining everything I would buy if I had more room in my backpack. That’s one thing that is kinda bad about traveling long term with just a backpack. You have so little space that you can’t really buy souvenirs everywhere you go. Sure, there’s the idea of shipping stuff home, but dependingIMG_2890 where you are shipping can be atroutiously expensive.

By the time I had walked up and down the street fair a couple times, I was starting to feel peckish. Remembering seeing a sign for a restaurant that was advertising a free tango show during its meals, I went in search of that.

Of course, being in Argentina, I had to get a steak. And they made it perfectly without even asking me how I liked it. It came with just the right amount of pink in the middle(cooked any more and I find it way too dry). The show that was put on was really cool. They started with a small, two-person band. Add in a couple singers. And then the dancing started. IMG_2904They even pulled a few people up on stage to try it with the pros. As I was in the middle of my steak though, they ignored me(damn). There was also a showcase of another kind of traditional Argentinian dance.

All told, I had a large piece of steak, a water, fries, and a rum/coffee mixed drink for about $80 Pesos, or $20 Canadian. The odd thing though, is that most restaurants charge an extra $6 Pesos for the utensils for your meal. That’s a wee bit of a silly tax I think, but oh well.

IMG_2912For my 100th day, I didn’t really do too much. I had never really thought about what to do to celebrate being on the road for 100 days. Do I go out and drink myself silly? Do I buy a crazy big meal with a good bottle of wine? Nope.

I went geocaching.

Geeky me.

I did that in the early part of the day(Finding only 1 out of four attempts), then wandered around and checked out a few things including a free museum on a large navy sailing ship. It was cool to wander throughout the ship, checking out tIMG_2937he crew quarters, the engine room, among others. Even found that this particular ship had even visited Canada twice throughout its life(once to Halifax and once to Montreal).

I continued along the boardwalk beside the port until I stumbled upon the Pride Cafe, a cute little coffee shop with a large Rainbow flag hanging outside. To put it in perspective, Argentina became one of only a handful of countries in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Unlike Chile(remembering what the guide said in the Santiago Walking City Tour), the Church did not have as much of a strangle hold on power in Argentina. There was a much stronger separation of Church and State here so it is not a huge surprise that ArIMG_2983gentina is one of the more liberal of the Latin American countries.

So yeah. With my iced cappaccino(a sad alternative to my Timmie’s Iced Capp but it’ll have to do) and a nice piece of pie, I enjoyed the remainder of my 100th day in probably the best way possible.

I relaxed, had some good drinks, and enjoyed some street tango.

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