Well, I finally have friends! Adam and Nikki have successfully joined me here in Buenos Aires and we’ve had numerous cultural experiences: some successful, others not so much. Adam and I explored the gorgeous Teatro Colon and the cementerio where Eva “Evita” Peron and Jim Morrison were buried. We walked around the city, stopping for ice-cream at the famous Freddo cafe, and then stopped along the river for happy hour and shared a bottle of Argentinean Malbec. The wine here is so amazing that our new motto is “when in doubt, a bottle of vino;” and so, whenever we find ourselves exhausted from walking, we stop at the closest cafe and expand on our newly founded wine log.
The next day we toured again; we saw some beautiful churches, visited the presidential palace and explored the San Telmo district – by far my favourite in Buenos Aires! It is filled with quaint little cafes, cobblestone streets and European style architecture! I could stay there all day, just sipping on coffee in one of the plazas! We carried on from there to this giant park on the other side of town. We figured, if we crossed the whole park (5-ish km) then we would have our first taste of South American OCEAN! I’m so excited about this! So we trekked through the park, which to me felt strangely like a slightly greener African safari than a park in the middle of a metropolitan city, and made it to the first beach of the trip! Definitely NOT what I expected. Giant dead fish lined the tide line, the place reeked of decay, and the water was a sludgy brownish colour. There were a few people hanging around, but NO ONE was interested in touching the water. Naturally, I felt the need to put my foot in the ocean, but I could possibly have some strange disease because of it. I’ll keep u posted 🙂
After our failed ocean attempt, and a 5km walk back to the city, we stopped at a mate bar for some traditional Paraguayan tea. The locals here drink mate like a fat kid eats cake; it’s EVERYWHERE. However, when we ordered the tea, instead of each getting a cup, we were given: a 1/4kg of loose tea, a thermos of hot water, a pitcher of cool water, a spoon, several packets of sugar, some biscuits and one cup with a cool straw to share. Needless to say, we were slightly confused at how to put everything together. So we mixed a spoonful of the tealeaves in the cup, added the hot water, used the straw to stir and began drinking. Minutes later the waitress came over and started laughing at us. Clearly we weren’t doing this right. She poured out our sad mixture and did it for us: half a packet of sugar at the bottom, fill the cup half full with the tea leaves, add the other half of the sugar, fill the rest of the cup with tea to the brim, add hot water, enjoy through straw. At first it was super bitter and very strong. The caffeine went straight to my head within minutes and I was unsure whether I wanted more. After a bit, however, we both grew very accustom to the taste and we ended up sitting for a couple hours sipping at the tea and enjoying the patio!
After the tea we figured we would go back to the hostel and wait for Nikki. But what to do while we wait? When in doubt, a bottle of vino! Nikki arrived fairly soon after we got to the hostel, so the three of us sat out on the second story terrace and sipped on wine and caught up. After that, it was dinner (it being 11pm, and that being the acceptable hour for south Americans to eat dinner). So we went out to a local milonga bar to have pizza and watch locals tango dance late into the night (over another bottle of wine of course). The tango is SUCH a beautiful and sexy dance to watch! Definitely another bucket list crossed off my life’s to-do list. “Tango show at a local milonga in Argentina sipping wine with good friends” – Check!