Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Buenos Aires, Vamos!

We skipped one little detail on Friday, March 14, the day we met Sam and Dad/Jonathan in Banff, Alberta: we got engaged! Mike proposed on top of Tunnel Mountain, overlooking the city. It was beautiful and perfect. In celebration, we figured we'd go on a six week tour of South America! Conveniently, we already had plane tickets.

March 23-March 25. After a full evening, night, and morning of travel, we arrived in 75 degree and sunny Buenos Aires. What a welcomed change from deary and cold March in New England! We were champs and had a full day and night of exploring, despite sleeping on a plane the night before. I have to go on a tangent here briefly: it's quite an experience returning somewhere that used to be home, and feeling like a tourist. So many parts felt SO familiar; it was incredible. Street corners I knew I had walked on and stores I had passed every single day would just pop up in front of me. But at other times it was only disorienting jumbles of what should have been familiar but instead felt so foreign. I was excited to share a city that I love so much with Mike, but I hadn't anticipated how hard it would be not speaking Spanish very well anymore. It's especially difficult going back and forth between English and Spanish, in my head and out loud. I was pleased with my comprehension, but when I opened my mouth to speak, there were huge blanks where words used to be. It is slowly coming back, and it really is exciting having the opportunity to practice, but Dios! I spend a lot of time fretting over mis-speaks and slipping confidence.

On a positive note, the city smelled perfect. I was astonished at how familiar it smelled. Maybe it's a certain perfume or food, but I swear it radiates from the streets themselves. It just smells right. I loved it.

We stayed in Hostel Buenos Artes on the edge of Palermo. It was a perfect balance of funky/social and do-your-own-thang. It even had a great roof deck. Our room had bright pink walls and a big window that reminded us of our hostel in Prague.

Our three days had three themes, in no particular order: exploring my old stomping grounds, having Mike try every type of amazing Argentine food, and relaxing outside in the warmth. All involved lots of walking. In my opinion, we hit almost all the best places in the city.

1. We visited my apartment, my local restaurantes, and explored my barrio, Palermo. We bought my absolute favorite Guia T, which details all 464 bus lines in the city and happily zoomed around the city, utilizing the re convenient and new bus card, eliminating the frantic hoarding of coins. Given the ever-rising inflation rate, coins were practically useless anyways. We were champs and utilized the 'Blue Market' by bringing a few hundred in USD cash down and exchanging it on the street for 10.4:1 instead of the official 8:1. It felt like scalping tickets - everyone's doing it, but it's technically illegal. Just follow the calls of "cambio, cambio!" on Avenida Florida!

2. I'm pretty sure Mike got the full Argentine food experience. We had super panchos (somewhat longer than normal hot dogs with potato sticks on them). We had helado (soft delicious ice cream). We had empanadas multiple times. We had an extravagant steak dinner and cheap delicious Malbec wine. We had litros de Quilmes with bowls of maní. We had milanesa and pizza with the signature whole green olives atop. We had cafe cortado, agua con gas, and jamon crudo y queso for breakfast (unfortunately no one does breakfast like the USA...that's for sure). Last but certainly not least, we had choripan. Please see pictures of the glory below. We walked many miles for that choripan. But boy was it worth it. We did not have any mate, but Mike has tried that before. All in all, la comida was a total success. Sam and Tess, did I miss anything? The price was generally right as well.

3. The parks were in fine form while we were there, and we took full advantage. During the day we lounged beside palm trees and lakes. At night we ate and drank outside in the warm air. I think we'd both agree that our evening meals were the best part.

Parque de Palermo - note the palm trees
My favorite bus! We didn't ride it.
My apartment! I look cansada.
This cost $1.80. I should also mention that for quite a while, Mike was walking down the street chanting, "cho-ri-pan, cho-ri-pan!" I think it lived up to his expectations.
Mike looking good while enjoying an empanada and some cerveza.


  1. And Omar? Was he similarly pleased with the cuisine or did it soil his tie?

  2. Ahhh so jealous! I think you hit most of the key spots/cuisines. Or as many as you could in just 3 days!

    Oh my gosh I want to go back so badly now!!

  3. CHORIPAN!! The best food that there has ever been and that there ever will be. The only thing I can think of that you didn't mention is dulce de leche, but I imagine you have found plenty of that in the US anyway. Sounds like the perfect trip!

    Also, there is a new bus pass?! Man, I can hardly imagine what it would feel like to actually spend coins there. Bravo, BA!