ahhh buenos aires.... my love for the city is only matched by my love of paris and only exceeded by the one of venice. to me, these 3 cities are where i have felt the most at home ever since actually left home a long long time ago.
maria and i love it there. the people are nice and friendly, the atmosphere of the city smooth and accessible, and there is enough culture and activities to make it super interesting and exciting.
the place is full of super good restaurants as diverse as they are high in quality. there are the local joints full of character and personality, maybe not serving the best of food but certainly giving you plenty to watch and experience. you have marvelous parillas (pronouced palli-ja) serving these incredible chunks of meats of all kinds and shape, moutains of french fries (pappa fitas) and beautiful argentinean wines. you can also go to super cosmopolitan and hip restaurants where you feel like you are in new york, london, or hong kong for that matter. and then you have "freddo", an absolutely delicous gelateria were i had to-die-for gelato di frutti del bosco. delicious!
maria loves tango, the main reason of our 1st visit there in 2005. i can not say i love it yet (let's say i am learning to) but i do love the atmosphere and the electricity of tango milongas (organised evenings where to dance tango). some of the people dancing are so old it's a wonder they still stand up at all. but they are great, elegant, deep into the music and the feeling of the dance. others are young, macho and agressive while some tango tourists (like myself) are completely bewildered (and overwhelmed) that no one dances tango like we learn at home and that the dance floor is so crowded that none of the "figures" perfected in hours and hours of practice can actually be danced in buenos aires... ahhhh, tango...
so far, i must admit that we did not visit too much of Bas as people call it because we have mainly seen dance halls around town to attend tango classes and practice and practice until near collapse. but from what i have seen, each "barrio" as the districts are generally called are very different from each other, in fact amazingly different sometimes even if only 1 street separate them from each other. take san telmo for example, full old old, turn of the century buildings, some of them barely standing up, most quite dirty. the place is vibrant, full of character and turning into a very interesting area with all kinds of little shops, great restaurants, and little bars. it's sunday market at plaza dorrego is full of action with street buskers taking over, tango dancers improvising a milonga, and antique dealers trying to sell you some memories of the past. lovely. but make no mistake, the place has charater, it can be dirty with garbage and you can see some pretty savoury charaters whom you would rather move across the street on the opposite side-walk rather than cross path with. keep an eye on yourself and relax for a mighty enjoyable time.
buenos aires. we love it there. don't be surprised if we buy a flat there eventually - sooner rather than later!