Hola from Argentina!
We landed safely in Buenos Aires on Sunday night after an awful flight from Auckland. Never fly with Aerolinias Argentinas! We have spent the last 5 nights exploring this colourful city and practicing our Spanish (the phrase book is still vital!(
On our first day here, we did a tour around the city to get our bearings and an overview of the place. We went to the North, which is the posh part, and saw where Evita is buried and some wonderful churches. There are districts with expenisve shops and apartments, and the feel is very Parisian. The architecture is similair to that of an old European city, the difference being in the cleanliness of the place. There is litter and dog poo EVERYWHERE in Buenos Aires. When we are walking around, I spend most of my time concentrating on what I'm standing in!
The South side of the city is the poor bit. La Boca is famous for its football team, and people on our tour went to see the inside of the stadium, but we were told to stay on the bus because it was too dangerous to get out. The area felt a little dodgy but we didn't see any real poverty there, and I loved the colourful houses and watching the children playing football in the street.
After the tour on the initial day, we have spent the remainder of our days here re-visiting the areas we were shown, to explore them more fully. People warned us to be careful in BA, but I haven't felt worried here. Crime does happen, but we have been staying in the city centre and watching each others backs.
Our hostel has been pretty bad, and it is freezing at night time, but it is cheap. Transport and some activities are expensive, but in general, food and everyday living is much kinder to our budget than Australia and NZ. The people here are also friendly and helpful and forgiving of our horrific Spanish! The weather remains cold during the day...we have now been in winter since March!!
The best thing that we have done so far has been to experience a tango evening. We were picked up from the hostel and taken to a traditional tango house, where there was an open bar. We started with an hour long tango lesson...hilarious! We were taught the standard tango moves and can now do the square, ochos and tango pose, if that means anything to anyone. Afterwards we were served a 3 course dinner and watched a professional tango show. Having done the lesson ourselves made us really appreciate the skill and beauty of the dancers moves. It is a lovely, passionate dance.
Tomorrow we leave Buenos Aires and travel 10 hours on a bus to Cordoba, which is Argentina's second city. We will be there for 4 nights before leaving for Puerto Iguazu.
So, we have generally good impressions of Argentina so far, other than the dirt and noise of Buenos Aires, which is extremely daunting after all the space and fresh air in NZ. Also, the people here like to protest in the streets all the time, and it is pretty worrying to see thousands of angry people marhcing towards you at once! We have been sheltering in many a coffee shop when that happens!
Must sign off now. We are going out to have our final meal in the capital. Argentinians don't eat until 10pm at night!
Please forgive any spelling/grammar mistakes. My jet-lag combined with a spansih keyboard does not result in the best blog!
Hana and Philip