23rd-Nov-2007 06:41 pm
I’m here with myself, which has returned just yesterday morning from six days in Buenos Aires Argentina. I thought I would ask myself some questions about what sounds like an amazing adventure.
Me: So, how’s things?
Myself: Good. I’m a bit tired but overall, still glad to be back in front of my big teevee and games.
Me: Great. How was the food in Argentina? Was it all meat as advertised?
Myself: Yeah pretty much. A lot of beef. But also a lot of seafood. I had pink Salmon from Patagonia, and RB ordered Andes Lake Trout one night while dining at the hotel restaurant. But mostly meat all the way. Our first night there, after accidentally stumbling into a pickup joint on the corner, which looked like any other bar, we had the largest beef tenderloin I have ever seen. Basically it was 3-4 pounds of red meat heaven on a plate. The waiter brings it to our table, and it barely had changed in size from the pre-cooked version. I mean this thing was the length of one of those big plates that are oval shaped, like what you would serve a turkey on, but instead from stem to stern it was medium rare bliss. The waiter then divides it in half with the side of a desert spoon.
Me: He cut it with a spoon?
Myself: Yeah. I thought, “ok now you’re just showing off!” It was nice. And cheap.
Me: Really, how cheap?
Myself: Well the Argentinian Peso has approximately 1/3 the value of a USD, so basically while the prices were in Pesos, they read like an American menu would in Dollars. For example, we had two incredible bottles of Malbec from Mendoza, some apertifs, sides, limoncello shots, and I had a large beer. And of course there was this tanker ship sized piece of ex-cow. The total was I think around 350 Pesos. Divide that by 3. Try and find that somewhere stateside. Not shitty what-should-we-do-with-this kind of beef quality. More like, what-should-we-do-with-the-rest-of-this-a
Myself: That’s what I said.
Me: Sounds like I had some great wine too.
Myself: Ummm…yeah… so this is the birthplace of wine. And that is incredibly cheap too. One night we had 1997 Malbec we picked up at a wine shop across the street… and it was about 46 Pesos.
Me: What?! That’s like $15 or something! Probably about an $160 bottle at a restaurant around here, maybe $120 at the liquor store.
Myself: I know! 10 years old. I also had 20 year old port that ran about $20 for a larger than normal glass. That place was good too, had veal for the first time. Cooked in a red wine port reduction. And let me tell me, Dulce de leche. It’s like a heavy caramel fudge, they put it in all their deserts. *Homer drooling sound byte*
Me: Nice. So I ate, drank wine, and enjoyed caramel deserts. What’s the vibe in the city like?
Myself: Well to be honest with me, it was a life changing event. Here’s me. I grew up in North Dakota, which had a population then of about 400,000 people. I went to school with 120, and I actually knew or met somewhere around that number, my graduating class was 23.
Me: Yeah I know.
Myself: Ok, so Buenos Aires has 13.5 MILLION people. And it’s not like a bunch of mamby pamby suburbanites with giant lawns and 3 car garages. These people live like 200 to a building. All the buildings are high-rises. Everything either smokes, or makes a lot of noise and in most cases both. I mean the exhaust from gas engines is stifling at times. It doesn’t blow away cause there’s no wind when all the buildings are 20 stories high. The buses are all from like the 50’s through the mid 80’s and no one gives a shit about catalytic converters or changing their oil. Wow. Oh and the sidewalks are like 5 feet wide so if you are walking with someone and someone else approaches, you have to go single file if they or you are to remain in position. Which doesn’t sound bad normally, but consider that the streets are one-ways with cabs, mopeds and city buses going as fast as possible, cause why wouldn’t you drive as fast as possible, and the sidewalks are not concrete but 1’x1′ tiles. So the tiles are almost always broken, there is usually trash in the way, and there are more people coming out the doors of the various shops, bars, and eating establishments who generally only pay attention if you are a woman between the ages of 14-35, and you’re boobs are shaking. Now just keep walking, cause if you stop, the person(s) behind you will run you over.
Myself: Yeah. But really that was just during the high points of the day. Like at 12:30pm or so, when everyone was taking lunch and so on. Most of the time the sidewalks weren’t that busy, but you still had to keep one eye on where you were going, one eye on the street, and one eye on the ground, or you would trip on some broken tiles or glass or something. We went out to start the day most days around noon time, but we didn’t always go to the busy parts. Well, not to the busiest. Not busy means, that you can actually cross the street cause there are no cars, not just because the cars have jammed and come to a stop. I was almost hit by a bus a couple of times, and I was being very careful.
Myself: Yeah very. Didn’t hear it coming cause there was a rare case of street repair blocking the regular intersection. Took two steps and watched my childhood come rushing back before rolling forward like a drunken gymnast.
Me: See anything kool?
Myself: Went down to the government center square and saw the rose colored capital building where Evita gave her speeches. That was kool. At first we thought there might be some protests about to take place cause there was a lot of policia about. There was some interesting artwork there, both spray painted on the govt buildings (Libertas!) and some local artists had various sculptures and paintings on display in the park. It rained on us on the walk back to the hotel.
Me: How was the weather?
Myself: Balmy. Somewhat humid, but pretty much partly cloudy with temps in the mid 70’s to 80’s. It’s is currently springtime in the Southern Hemisphere. Which also was weird, cause the Sun is at an angle I’m not used to. It wouldn’t get dark until about 9-9:30 but the Sun was in this spot in the sky that just seemed wrong. I felt the same way when I was in Australia.
Me: What is it with me and countries that start with ‘A’ anyway? When am I going to Angola?
Myself: Ha ha, I dunno, just worked out that way. It’s next on the list, well Africa anyways. Gotta hit all the continents before I die.
Me: Were the people nice?
Myself: Yeah, everyone was generally helpful. I mean, it was still the big city stuff, like, move outta the way, but nothing verbal. It’s more European than that. Which is exactly what the architecture was. Very French-Spanish like. Lots of ornate carved curves in white and grey stones. More windows and ironworking draping the sides of almost every building, with little terraces of pots and flowers and chairs to sit outside on. Totally kool architecture. I took it all in. Even had a Cuban cigar!
Me: TRAITOR! COMMIE!
Myself: I’m not a big cigar guy, don’t really like em, but I had to try at least one, see what all the fuss is about.
Me: And, how did I like it?
Myself: Well see I don’t really know cause I don’t really like cigars. I mean it was somewhat tasty, but it gave me a sore throat. Either that or it was the several tones of CO2 I inhaled from a couple walks we had taken that day. Did I mention the pollution? DAMN.
Me: Do any shopping?
Myself: In addition to Argentines loving to eat cows, they love to wear them and make things out of them as well. Picked up a leather coat for about $180. One that you would see in the front window of a nice leather store here selling for about $5-600. I’m not mentioning this to brag about what a deal I got, just that much like steak, leather is really inexpensive yet high quality in AR as well. Next time I go though, I have to learn more Spanish. Really my only regret about going, and of course it couldn’t be any more my fault, was that one really needs to have a good grasp on Spanish. Not like other Latin American countries, where you can get by cause the locals are bilingual. Most Argentines that I encountered needed to find someone else who spoke English.
Me: Well post some pictures for me.