Buenos Aires, The Big City: Part I

We arrive in Buenos Aires, on the day bus from Cordoba, into the massive Retiro bus station.  We’re booked into a small aparthotel in a residential area close to Palermo and many elegant statues, buildings and parks.  The city has a good feel, perhaps more cosmopolitan and pseudo-European than anywhere else we’ve been on this trip.  We stay here for a few days whilst negotiating how to pay rent for a private apartment.  The cost of living here is higher by a significant amount than other countries we have visited on this trip, perhaps even Chile, so renting privately seems a good idea.  But as we now learn, the bank rate and the ‘going’ (blue) rate for the Argentinian peso are different and cause us a lot of confusion.  Eventually we sort out the currency issues and start enjoying our time here.  We watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics on the TV, finding it visually impressive and we’re pleased that our favourite Bradley Wiggins is included !  Maybe we found it more interesting without the media hype in English (our Spanish still isn’t too good).
We enjoy walking round the local area, visit many amazing old fashioned cafes and marvel at some of the street art.
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We find some beautiful areas for walks:  here’s a local nature reserve called Costanera Sur.  It looks like the sea but its really the huge estuary of the Rio Plata.  We’ve decided that we are turning into unfit, lardy whales so we resolve to take more exercise and start by jogging here, distracted from the initial pain by the beautiful views, the parakeets flying overhead and guinea pigs snuffling around in the undergrowth.
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Walking round town we’re reminded of current events – surprise, surprise they seem to want the Brits out of the Falklands.  We decide to keep a low profile on the topic.
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After a few days we move into our rented apartment.  It’s on the 13th floor of a high rise building, this time nearer the city centre and in a posh area called Recoleta.  Here’s the view from our bedroom window and a photo of us in the extemely small lift, which for our liking has far too many mirrors !
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We visit Recoleta cemetery, which is only around the corner from our new ‘home’ and the guidebook says it’s one of BA’s prime tourist attractions, so how can we refuse?  It’s a cool and cloudy day and we have the place almost to ourselves.  The ornate tombs are laid out almost like streets, and the inhabitants are famous citizens, business people, politicians and presidents.  It’s enormous and at the entrance you’re encouraged to study the map to ensure you can find your way out.
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Paul has to go back to the entrance to look at the map again, but eventually we find the tomb of Eva Peron (under the family name Duarte).
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We settle down to city life quite happily, and enjoy spending time mooching around our new neighbourhood.  Its quite posh, and as it’s winter here there are lots of women wearing fur coats!  We find a local cinema and watch the new Batman movie (in English) and a nearby concert hall which hosts lunchtime free concerts for young stars.  We enjoy an unusual piano concert for eight hands, two players at each piano, and later, a full orchestral concert.  The weather turns mild and rather rainy, so we decide to join the nearby gym.  Going in the morning we’re often the youngest clientele, but the equipment is good and they run a variety of classes including yoga.  Our bodies are soon reminding us we’ve done little for the last few months other than sit on buses for hours at a time. Watching others is easier on our bodies and they tango all the time here!
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So, a couple of weeks has passed in no time and we are here for another three – good times yet to come, watch this space !

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