We've been staying in Buenos Aires throughout March, our last month abroad before returning to the States. When we made the bittersweet decision to book our plane tickets home, we decided to reward ourselves for a trip well done by relaxing. No long-distance buses. No customs. No 10 a.m. checkouts. So we rented a little apartment over the Internet, brushed up on our Spanish (well, one of us anyway. Brendan still spells it "ola"), and got our asses down to Argentina's capital to wind down in style.
Buenos Aires is great! I love it here. It's an easy city to "live" in for a month. Lots to do. Good public transportation and cheap taxis. Insultingly affordable food and vino. Tons of shopping. Parks. Museums. Tango. Futbol. And we couldn't have picked a nicer time of year. From November-February, Buenos Aires is hot and muggy (reversed seasons, remember). But by March, the air starts cooling off, leaves change, and midday gets a little more pleasant for people like me who love wearing tank tops but don't want to sweat through them.
As our plane landed, Buenos Aires looked to me like a huge metropolitan city teeming with high-rises, but the vibe is different from the ground. Split up into a dozen or so different "barrios", the city is defined by its variety of neighborhoods, all of which have their own community feel. We're staying in Palermo, one of the most popular areas to shop, eat, and drink. Seriously, there's a parrilla, pizza joint, cafe, or sushi house at every other awning. I'm in heaven.
A word about the sushi, now that I've eaten at three different establishments. It isn't anywhere as good as California's. Argentina has access to deliciously fresh salmon, but that's pretty much it. You can find tuna, crab, or shrimp rolls, but they're offered sparingly and usually dressed up with cream cheese (blech!). Most of everything else is salmon-based. We're delighted to satisfy our raw fish cravings (and loving the reasonable prices), but it's not quite world-class.
What is world-class, though, is the steak, and so plentiful that prices are insanely low. Brendan's been overdoing it. I hope he doesn't give himself a heart attack get stuck down here forever. Although that sounds just like something my husband would do to keep from having to get a job back in the States. Slacker.
Some BA highlights so far:
1. Recoleta cemetary - If there's a cooler cemetery in the world, I want to know about it. I realize that "cool" is a weird adjective for a cemetery, but trust me - this one is. Eva Peron's buried here, along with famous presidents, war generals, and people who had enough money to buy themselves a plot.
2. San Telmo street fair - I'd be buying up a storm in antiques if I had anywhere to put them. Awesome finds from a million different vendors.
3. A Boca Junior football game - A totally weird experience. Fans sing throughout the game, and clap when a player tries, and fails, to score a goal. Rabid, these guys (and the fans are mostly guys). There's also no alcohol allowed inside the stadium. I'm sure it helps keep fights to a minimum, but when I go to a ball game I want to drink beer. Period.
4. The parks of Palermo - We live literally steps away from several parks that include botanical gardens, a zoo (what IS this adorable creature???), running trails, and paddle boats for rent. Life is good.
5. Shopping - Argentina isn't the cheapest country in South America by a long shot, but the quality of clothes is high for what would be bargain-basement prices back home. I'm loading up on staples that I know I'm going to need eventually anyway. Or at least that's what I tell B.
We're here for another week or so, during which time I hope to get into some more trouble worth blogging about. Stay tuned.
Oh, and if you've visited my Flickr page recently, you know that I'm in the process of uploading and organizing all my favorite photos from our entire trip over the past year. It's kind of a pain, but I'm almost done! Man, I love Flickr. I'm the biggest idiot for not embracing it sooner.
Oh oh, and for those days when I don't update anything here at sarah. on the run., I'm updating sarah. snippets. with lots of useless information even my biggest fans will probably find pointless and mundane. You're welcome. :)