I’m finally feeling like I can love Buenos Aires. The first few days I was here I was completely overwhelmed by heat, sweat, and public transportation. I was thinking that BA was a big, dirty city, that I could get used to it, but that I probably wouldn’t love it. But now after some more exploring, a lot more walking, and a few thunderstorms that broke the heat wave, I finding the real beauty in this big, dirty city.
This weekend has been wonderful and relaxing. On Friday night I met up with friends and we went to one of BA’s microbreweries in Recoleta, across from the cemetery where the Perones and the rest of Argentina’s VIPs are buried. After a few samples, we headed over to San Telmo to a 3-story nightclub called Rey Castro. The place was mostly locals and only played Latin music, which was really fun (though of course I was craving a little Single Ladies, as always). The only American song they played was the Twist, and all the porteños knew how to twist! It was fantastic! We left the club around 3am, about the time Argentina’s senior citizens start to think about going to sleep… but we had big plans for Saturday so a few extra hours of sleep were necessary.
Back in San Telmo on Saturday, my friends and I planned to meet at Plaza Dorrego, known for its weekend arts and antiques market. I took the subte (which is actually quite pleasant outside of rush hours) to Plaza de Mayo where I snapped some pictures of la Casa Rosada and the Banco Nacional de Argentina. The architecture here is really incredible. Most of it is modeled after classic French architecture, with the occasional Spanish Colonial catedral thrown in there just to mix it up. Plaza de Mayo is also the site where the mothers of children and families kidnapped during the dirty wars in the 70s and 80s march in non-violent protest. Las Madres still march there every Thursday, and their symbolic white head scarves and pleas for their families are painted on the bricks of the plaza.
From Plaza de Mayo, I walked down the cobble stoned calle Defensa into the heart of San Telmo. This street is lined with fabulous antique shops. The ceiling of one was entirely covered with crystal chandeliers! So beautiful! On one corner of Defensa is the market at Plaza Dorrego where we drank some espresso and watched the tango shows that spring up anywhere tourists gather.
Then, it was time for asado.
Asado is an Argentine tradition of grilling up every possibly edible part of cows and pigs and stuffing your face with meat and wine until you are deliriously happy and don’t need to eat for days. OK, maybe the latter half of that isn’t so much tradition as it is just hungry Americans in Argentina. So let’s see, we ate chorizos, morcillas (blood pudding), chinchulines (intestines), tiras (ribs), mollejas (um, glands), and every other unknown delicious hunk of meat the asador threw on our plates. Did I mention the place we were at, Siga la Vaca, is all you can eat? For 63 pesos each, less than 20 bucks, each of us got all the meat, roasted vegetables, cheeses, prosciuttos, and breads we could consume. And a few bottles of wine too. Gracias a dios, I’m no longer vegetarian.
It’s been a fabulous weekend. Not much more to tell about since after the afternoon of asado I’ve been pretty lazy. Though today I did explore more of Belgrano. BA is full of surprises, and I’m so glad I get to spend time here.
Off to learn to make homemade pasta with my homestay mom! The rest of my pictures are here.