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EXPLORING BUENOS AIRES
 
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EXPLORING BUENOS AIRES

 
Buenos Aires isn't every city by a long shot. Its distinction and character show first in the renowned tourist site La Boca in the photographs below. It is certainly for tourists, but it is a bit dirty and a little bit dangerous and completely wonderful! Tango dancers stroll the streets looking for customers, someone who wants to have a photo or dance a few steps with them. Young men and women in tawdry costumes with sweet smiles are waiting just for you and it's all good fun. Artists post their work and crafts persons display their arts while just down the block you can have your fortune read and then there is the wax museum! I was particularly enthralled by the wonderful dilapidated architecture. It all reminded me of New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina.
 
LA BOCA NEIGHBORHOOD
 
 
 

 

SHOPPING IN BUENOS AIRES
 

Looking for treasures in this city is easy. There are antiques, handmade crafts at wonderful weekend markets in the parks, beautifully designed and made clothing in exclusive shops, furs and leathers in everything from household adornments to winter wear, exquisite children's clothing at extraordinarily reasonable prices and antique and collectible cars can be found still in use on any street. It is a shopper's paradise! Strolling through Recoleta's Sunday market I bought 10 pairs of espadrilles in all colors of the rainbow for the price of two pairs back home.

 

Crystal chandeliers are a passion of mine and in Buenos Aires they are as common as light bulbs.

 
The furs and hides pictured below were photographed in a large open air crafts exposition area in Tigre called Puerto de Frutas. We delighted in almost everything we saw, but I especially liked the hides.
 
 
Old charmers like those in the photographs below are an everyday joy in Buenos Aires. Car enthusiasts will love exploring the city for such treasures.
 
 
Another of the must do shopper's delights is the San Telmo Market. It is wonderful with antiques of all kinds, beautifully made clothing from decades ago and all with a bit of trash mixed in amongst the treasures. The market area is surrounded with chic coffee shops, stylish bars and restaurants, so it is a very easy place to while a way a day.
 
 

For anyone who loves to travel and is thinking of getting out of the nine to five drudgery, Argentina may be the perfect place to get started on your very own import business. I started mine years ago and on our recent visit Argentina seemed to me to be just about untouched territory. I almost regretted retiring.

Take a look at my ebook, Travel Free and Shop Till You Drop, about starting an import business on my website, GettingCreative.org. If you have a Kindle check out Travel Free and Shop Till You Drop at Amazon or for BookNook folks see Travel Free and Shop Till You Drop at Barnes and Noble.

RECOLETA

One of the most popular, although a little strange, attractions in Buenos Aires is the Recoleta Cemetery. Recoleta is an old part of the city home to the city's wealthy then and now. And, all of these people had to go somewhere at the very end -- the cemetery. It is well worth a visit. Maybe you'll even get in touch with Evita!

Recoleta is known for its stylish architecture, its wonderful parks and wide avenues. It is a very gracious place and you can easily spend days wandering as we did almost every afternoon always finding at least one cafe or gourmet shop to thrill us yet again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Below is the moon lit view over the cemetery in a photograph taken from the balcony of an apartment we rented in the city for a few months. Short term rents are pretty reasonable and the apartments are completely equipped and comfortable.

 

 

 

One of the truly astonishing features of Buenos Aires is the number and quality of the dogs being professionally walked everyday. Somehow the dogs all seemed to have been groomed that day and all are trained to behave like model citizens. There was even a big Irish setter with a small owner that regularly passed by the building. She would let the dog off its leash, but somehow she had trained it never to leave the sidewalk. He would run up and down the long block and suddenly come to a halt looking at some treasure across the street, but never never did he set a foot in that direction. I had Irish Setters for many years and was thrilled when they would sit down when asked. Mine would have run directly into traffic on any whim at all. Never did we see a dog fight or anything close. Once in a while we'd see a dog wearing a muzzle so it seems that if one does show any aggression it is quickly and appropriately managed.

Below on the right is a photograph of a little veterinarian shop, La Pulga or The Flea, where you can trust that your pet will be well cared for.

 
The young woman below passed our building daily coming and going and always cleaning up whatever needed to be cleaned. Along with everything else he sidewalks are beautifully maintained.
 
 

The people of Buenos Aires are very stylish. Women are well dressed and coiffed, but they are also physically fit. It never stopped amazing us to see someone ahead on the sidewalk and think "attractive 30 something." As we passed it turned out to be "attractive 60 something." It gave me a goal to aim for! Men are also stylish, but they seem to be carrying a little more weight. All in all though, it is an impressive group of people.

One amazing characteristic of folks in the city is that many of them stay up most of the night dancing and not just on the weekends. They do like a bit of wine, but leave the heavy drinking to expats and other foreigners. Maybe that's how they stay so fit!

 

Pilates in the park on Sunday

Food is wonderful and Street Musicians are talented

 

 
Parks and green spaces are lovely and provide a welcome respite from life in such a large city.
 

Buenos Aires Botanical Garden

 

On the right is a photograph of the edge of Recoleta Park and the parking entrance for the adjacent design center. Shopping there is quite wonderful with several floors of very high quality cutting edge home furnishings and accessories.

Argentina struck us as a place where everyone was fully engaged in the 21st century, but they were bringing along all the quality of the 19th and 20th centuries. Buy an ordinary notebook at a supermarket and feel the paper. It's wonderful, it doesn't feel cheap. Shoddy just isn't a word Argentineans would understand.

Buenos Aires Japanese Garden

 

 

Buenos Aires Law School

 

Rosedal Garden

Duck pond near Rosedal Garden
 

PUERTO MADEROS

This is the most modern part of the city and one of the most expensive places to live. It is home to yachts, shops, corporations, condos, clubs, a big casino and innumerable restaurants. One of these is Hooters if you can believe it. Maybe men all over the world are obsessed with "mommy." That criticism made the rest of the place is beautiful as you can see in the photographs below.

You can easily see why the city is sometimes locally referred to as the "Porteña" or port city and its people are routinely called Porteños. This is often a little disparaging as folks from the rest of Argentina consider folks from Buenos Aires to be a bit snobbish.

 
 

 
With a population of about 13 million this is a huge and incredibly diverse city. As with most modern cities, the best of it is glorious and the worst of it we hope will get better.

 

 

The city seems to go on forever. We took many taxis at first and always struck up conversations with the drivers all of whom were very well educated. We had great discussions about the country's history and culture, its problems and promise, along with getting great tips on avoiding the tourist trail.

Having lived in Mexico for many years we both speak Spanish, but I was almost hopeless in the face of the Argentinean version. One fellow who heard me speak actually asked if I were from Spain. I was thrilled!

 

 

Each part of the city has its own character and most of it is splendid. They don't call Buenos Aires the Paris of South America for no reason, do they?

 
A DAY TRIP TO TIGRE

Tigre is a town north of Buenos Aires and is home to a large casino and other more tame diversions like rowing or sailing. This is where the city's rowing club is located and it's easy to see why. We went there on the train in short order and returned by bus which seemed to take forever. It was wonderful though to see more of the city -- not everyplace is as nice as Recoleta.

While on the bus we got to talking with some women passengers. They were very optimistic about the country's future under then President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. She was running for office at the time and it was hard to see how she could lose as everyone we talked to respected her greatly for the changes she had made in the government. She did win that election, winning second term which began on December 10, 2011.

 

 

 
 

As the summer months approached, so did winter and it was time to go. We had hoped to fly out of the city to our base in Panajachel, Guatemala, but that was precluded by a volcano exploding in Chile, filling aviation pathways with volcanic ash. Not to be daunted we decided to head off to Uruguay where surely we would have no problem with flights. As it turned out we were in Uruguay for a week or more, long enough at that time of year for sure. We made reservations on the ferry from Buenos Aires to Uruguay and in a few days were on our way to another adventure.

Buquebus in the photographs below daily plies the route between the two countries. It is a large and comfortable ferry and not particularly expensive. We were sad to be leaving, but it was just so damn cold!

 
 
This is the city's old naval station. Just consider the scale of a modern ferry.
 
SAYING GOODBYE TO BUENOS AIRES

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