Monday, December 21, 2009

Buenos Aires Part Dos

Small, Small World

While having breakfast one morning in our hostel, I saw a red headed girl who looked vaguely familiar.  I told Felix Chill, "That looks like a girl I went to elementary school with."  "Hm," was his response.  So I continued to talk as usual, "yeah, I bet she went to my high school as well, but maybe not, because I don't really remember seeing her, but in high school, you can loose track of people.  Her name was, Aiden.  That's it Aiden Tate."  "Hm."  Then we sat eating our corn flakes and the girl walked up to a table near ours and ask to borrow a travel magazine that this guy had next to him.  And it sounded exactly as I remembered Aiden Tate to sound.  I tell Philly, "It has to be her.  It sounds just like her!"  "Hm?  You remember how she sounds?"  I'm going to go talk to her.  (Phil looks at me like I'm crazy).

But, IT WAS HER!  She didn't graduate from SHS because she went to boarding school on the coast somewhere and during college she studied in Buenos Aires for a semester.  After graduating she came back to South America, this time to Rio, and was on a short vacation with her Brazilian boyfriend visiting BA again.  We went to dinner with them that night at a lovely little Vietnamese restaurant with the best cocktails.  It was fun talking to them and a crazy coincidence to run into someone I once was in Enrichment with at Westwood School.

All The Pretty Horses

The Argentine Polo Championship was held while we were in Buenos Aires.  The event was sold out except for the expensive seats ($300), so we went to the field early to see if we could find some tickets off a scalper.  We did and we were very cautious before purchasing them - checking with others to see if the tickets looked the same, comparing several scalper's prices to make sure we weren't getting ripped off, and making sure the same scalpers were around after they had sold tickets to others.

The game was very interesting and slightly long.  Near the beginning of the game, one of the horses was hurt, the player was thrown from it's back.  The horse was jumping up and down with pain and couldn't put any wait on one of it's front legs.  It was too sad, and I don't think I fancy myself a polo fan because of it.  It nearly made me cry.  It was taken away in a horsey ambulance and I hope it received top medical attention and is able to retire to beautiful, green pastures, far way from this silly game.

where the horses hang out before the game

the pre game (match?) entertainment

the presentation of the flag. everyone claps as it goes by their section of the stands.

it's very impressive how fast these guys are going and they manage to hit that little ball 

La Dolfina beat Ellerstina in overtime and there was a very questionable call by the ref right before that play.  All in all, a very exciting game, although the polo crowds are quite reserved and proper with little yelling and they clap for both teams.

Steak & Wine

Argentina is famous for it's steaks and red wine, and let me tell you, its well deserved hype.  Although our best piece of meat was served at a restaurant in Iguazu, Cabrera, a famous restaurant in Buenos Aires, wins for presentation and portion size.

Argentina is also well known for it's insanely late night life.  We showed up at this restaurant around 8pm looking to see if we could get a table.  We were informed they didn't start the first seating until 8:45pm.  Most don't go out for dinner until something closer to 10!!!  The clubs and bars don't fill until 3am and the patrons most always see the sunrise on their way home.  This in not only the schedule during the weekend, but also on school nights.  Can you imagine?  I'm too old for that and Senor Chill certainly cannot hang.  We did our best though, and one night made it to 4am.

Boca Blues

Since we were so successful in our attempt at the polo championship, we thought we'd do the same with the sold out Boca Junior soccer championship.  We were warned that the neighborhood was rough and the crowds unruly.  The hostel staff advised not to even take the buses in that direction on that day as many people are drinking and are very passionate about the sport.  We thought we'd give it a go any way.

We met some other backpackers at the bus stop with the same intentions, so we joined them with the idea that there are strength in numbers.  The bus ride and destination stop were quiet and we figured the rumors weren't entirely true.  Immediately we were approached by a scalper, offering to sell us all tickets to the game.  The group agreed although Phil and I were skeptical, thinking we should repeat the previous day's tactics.  However, group think won over, and we did what everyone else was doing.  Peer pressure is a bitch.

We went through several check points, showing all the guard's our tickets.  For a block around the stadium, there were narrow passageways created by iron barriers for crowd control.  Only small groups were allowed to pass to decrease the chances of surges and fights.  Finally, we made it to the entrance where we were all patted down and ask to stick our tickets, complete with magnetic strips, into the turnstile (like on the subway). Snag.  The tickets wouldn't go in.  An official in a suit glanced over our tickets declaring them 'falso'.

Upon walking away from the stadium with our head's down, we were approached by about a million people offering to sell us tickets to the game.  Too many dealers to all have real tickets and some at half the price that we had purchased ours.  Had we done our research before, we would've realized that these guys are jokers.  Sigh.  It was all a part of the experience I suppose.  Too wary to try our luck again, we stood outside the stadium and watched a little of the game on a TV in a shop nearby.  The crowds were crazy.  They sing fight songs and stomp their feet for the entire duration of the game.  It must be exhausting, but a real rush.

Boca Juniors won the game and all the local fans were in good spirits.

in front of the stadium after everyone else had gone in

Boca Blues and Yellows and Greens and Oranges

Taking advantage of being in a new part of town, we went to the famous area of Boca where the houses and shops are painted in bright colors.

San Telmo Sundays

Also, on our way to the hostel in town, we passed through San Telmo, a very hip and bohemian part of Buenos Aires.  Sundays are the best day to visit San Telmo as there is a street market and many live music performances.  I'm so glad we happened to go there during this time.  It made missing the game well worth it.

the market and people go on for blocks and blocks

this band was my favorite.  they had the crowd going wild and dancing like crazy in the streets.

these guys were good as well. even the old ladies were shaking their booties.

dancing tango in the square

Museum Madness

Another day was spent at the Malba Modern Art Museum and the Evita Museum which documented the life of Eva Peron.  The Malba had an awesome Andy Warhol exhibit and the Evita Museum was super interesting but also provoked a lot of questions as it was quite bias and left out some parts.  I'll have to my research on this lady.

Buenos Aires is an incredible city with loads to do.  This is only a portion of what we experienced and we were only able to try a tiny portion of all there is on offer.

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