Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more… (you know the rest and the general theme of my starting quote and the Bard to which it is attributed). In other words, back in the Buenos of A! Since my current style meets so much approval (sarcasm), I think I will go for bullet points and opinions. My main resolution upon embarking on this Sabbatical was to learn a bit of that slippery doubtful bloody language before going back to England! Thus one hour of one-on-one lessons a day for the remaining two weeks was a good choice. But what to do with the rest? The answer is: eat sweet croissants (average of three/day); eat empanadas (an average of three a day); eat meat; drink a large quantity of wine and or beer; put the finishing touches to my beard.
Now that I think of it, I should probably rename this blog to “sunsets, beard and beer”.
Week 9: Recoleta
Week 1 is really a series of musings.
Recoleta Cemetery: A catholic cemetery for Argentina’s famous dead. While it is a must-see as far as one’s Buenos Aires itinerary goes, it is somewhat strange! It is a perhaps 30 acres of mausoleums ranging in “ornateness” from outlandish to small churches. I think I came across at least 4 Garibaldis on my roaming of the cemetery! Yes, I did think of biscuits!
Re-met the best looking person I have yet encountered. He was mistaken for Brad Pitt from the film Troy during a <heavy night>. I was also mistaken that night for another Hollywood actor from the well-known film The Hobbit. Sorry buddy, I stole your thunder a bit there – the females just love short guys with hair on their feet!
Played a large game of Jenga. CB is very very good at Jenga – course – it relies on patience and finesse, his two greatest attributes!
Bought an unhealthy number of belts in San Telmo Market and saw a dog with cool ears. I would like to explain to women how to shop in a market. Round 1: survey and receive quotes, from this you compile a mental map of where you are to go. Round 2: relax, have a coffee or (in my case, irrespective of the fact its 11.30 on a Sunday) a beer and some pastries! Round 3, take yourself to each of the selected stands and immovably declare your price. Round 4, congratulatory lunch and beer. If shopping were a martial art, I would be a fifth dan black belt!
Visited an Art Gallery. An astonishingly impressive collection. Including one of, what I presumed was, Monet’s Haystacks. In actual fact by a chap called Martín Malharro: nice way to get a good cheap(er) Monet. Then Modern art happened. CB is a learned chap and as such knows that modern art is complete and utter twaddle!
Week 10: Palermo
La Boca. La Boca, as a district, is a very dangerous part of Buenos Aires. However, it has a tourist/cultural core that is really rather colourful, safe and aesthetically pleasing. While on a tour here, I heard a great deal about the origins of Tango, their football team and their national hero. For those who don’t know, each Latin American country likes to celebrate a professional cheat and hobbyist footballer. Brazil – Rivaldo. Uruguay – Suarez. Argentina (a selection to choose from), but Maradona takes the bacon! I especially like that his cheating is attributed to God. Not even waiting for death to allow JC to take away the sins of the world, if you are an Argentinian footballer, you can do it during life also!
La Bomba. I returned to the prolific, weekly drum show: somewhat symbiotic. It was, again, very pleasing and a good-deal of fun (they sell double pints of beer)! Moreover, it was followed by the first actually good Pizza I savored in Argentina. Considering everyone is Italian, there is a worrying scarcity of good Italian food. This, however, was a delicious exception.
Fuerza Bruta. I presume that watching Cirque du Soleil on some sort of hallucinogenic mushroom would get you close to Fuerza Bruta. It was a strange combination of performance art, a drum show (becoming a real fan of those), a water park and an acrobatics performance. I think there may have been some progressive plot also, but that was entirely lost on me!
A Football Match. Not even sure who played. Crowd participation in the match, I would say, was 50% singing and 50% compound swearing at the referee and the opposing team. In Argentina only the home fans can attend a match due to excessive violence when fans mix. If the referee gives a foul against your team, no matter how blatant, he is either: a son of a whore; a condom; the shell of his mother (that’s an odd one but not too hard to piece together); a gigolo; (and my personal favourite) a donkey.
I have a unique effect on football matches: my presence results in zero goals being scored. This match did not break the current streak of five matches!
San Telmo again. I actually spent a good deal of time in San Telmo. I would strongly recommend it as a place to stay for people visiting for a couple of weeks. I’d recommend four/five days in Recoleta, five in Palermo and five in San Telmo. From what I could see, these are the best or most interesting parts of the city. San Telmo has a rustic charm to it and is made more exciting than – say – Palermo by there being moderate chance of being mugged, day or night!
After a few more runs, a few more beers and a few more pastries, my time abroad reached its conclusion… ish.
I do owe two thanks. The first: thank you British Airways. A message at three minutes to midnight (roughly twelve hours before my flight) informed me that my flight was cancelled. This photo reflects my mood when that text was received…
But, I ought to be fair: this is something that happened to a great many people. For some the outcome was a day in Heathrow, while for me, it extended my time away! Nevertheless, my irritation lies in the fact that they booked me on a plane to Madrid for two days later than my original flight to London, while a chap in the same hotel was on a direct flight to London later that day (Do they not know who I am!?). Yet the thing I find most annoying is being given numbers for offices that are closed / constantly engaged. Or a link to a site that didn’t work. I tried to put my faith in social media and even wrote on Twatter – thrice – to no avail. So a cancelled flight later, this is written from an indirect flight that I found online (again with LatAm) via Sao Paulo. A one-hour transit time at the airport and a thirty-minute late flight meant that getting even this flight back to UK was somewhat nerve-wracking. But I shall get home and its nice to have a good-old complaint to finish with.
(On this occasion) I shall not wax lyrical since I do cynicism far better. However, I sincerely owe a great many people a great many thanks for what has been a fabulous three months of Argentinian (their unintelligible version of Spanish), Spanish (the countries where it was spoken correctly), culture and a big-old chunk of hedonism! I’d move in a heartbeat! For now and until the next rant – CB – OUT.