January 31, 2009

A Day in Buenos Aires

We had a free day after camp and before our trip back, which we decided to spend playing tourists in downtown Buenos Aires. The city is absolutely HUGE, boasting around 20 million residents. Because it has a long, rich history, we were able to see VERY old architecture mixed with modern office buildings, world-class restaurants beside sidewalk empanada stands, well-to-do ladies beside gypsy street people. Ken and Dan particularly liked the historic district, with its cannons and ships.
There were some heavy protests going on that day (I love excitement but the reluctant fellas steered me away from the major one complete with the riot team and tanks on standby), and lots of people out and about for a Monday. We passed the Pink House, their equivalent of our White House. I couldn't resist asking if it's pink because the Pres is a woman, but I was told it's ALWAYS been pink. I saw the very window of the famous Eva Perone speech. (SIDENOTE: Madonna has achieved goddess status with the Argentinians, after playing their beloved Evita in the movie.)

We walked along the dikes of the immense Rio de la Plata (Silver River), which could have easily been called an ocean, rather than a river. I never did see the other side of it. Merchant ships were everywhere and it was easy to imagine how this city grew so large, as the major port to lower South America when it was first being explored and settled by the Europeans.

My favorite part of the day was trapsing through the artsy district, with blankets and tables full of hippies and their handicrafts. I was in HEAVEN!! Such creativity and skill! I had flashbacks of when the traveling fair would come to Berkeley County and stop by Moncks Corner, with 3-D models of mermaids on ships, and the fancy script of the booths on the midway. I was actually in the place all that was patterned after! The wild colors, the bright artwork, the larger-than-life statues--I could have stayed a week right there.

This is also the district where you could have a snack, a drink, or a full meal on the sidewalk or in the street (all foot traffic, no cars) while watching performers dance the Tango or other Argentinian folk dances. I was so glad I wasn't one of the people they grab off the street and "teach" to dance. What a laugh they would have had at that attempt!

I can't say enough about how spectacular the city was. Okay, we were starving and gave in to eat at McDonald's, since our guide was craving a salad and the McFlurry sign was calling my name. I had to pay more for my chicken sandwich and fries than I paid in Greenville. I wasn't used to that, since everything in Paraguay is so much cheaper.

We also found a Wal-Mart (there are VERY FEW in the whole continent of South America) and had quite a bit of jubilation over that discovery. Our Argentinian friend couldn't understand what the big deal was, or how much it meant to find a piece of home in a land so far away, but I ran inside and found---are you ready?---MILKY WAY BARS!!!!!! Pure bliss! They were only sold in the 6-pack, and I vowed to make them last at least a week. Ha. I think they might have had 24 hours once I made the purchase.

Aside from McDonalds and Wal-Mart, it was a great cultural experience and lots of fun. I'd definitely like to go back someday and spend more time in the city. Anybody up for an 18-20 hour bus ride from Asuncion?


  1. I love Buenos Aires. I think its such an exciting, beautiful city! Glad you got to see it.

  2. What a nice time you've had in Argentina! Both of these posts were great. I've been in Buenos Aires twice and never noticed the gangs, but did notice everything else you mentioned! What a wonderful place to visit! I missed the Wal-mart though--have to catch that next time! We'll be praying for you and your family as you continue in your work.

  3. Ohhh Cool!!! I'm surprised you didn't buy a styrofoam cooler, ice & stock up on all the chocolate you could get your hands on!! LOL! Hope you enjoyed it! Sounds like a wonderful trip!

  4. Don't you love a visit to BA! Although I'd NEVER want to live there, it's fun to get a taste of home. We always take Crucero too, it's so comfy!

    Our son gets fascinated with the tango dancers, clowns and stilt walkers that are on peatonal Florida...

    The first time I saw a Walmart I almost flipped out with excitement. However the lines were so long we decided not to buy anything.

  5. omg! I love the dread hair dude pic! That's awesome! And i would love to go on that bus trip with you! Let's do it!!! July??


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