Monday, March 28, 2011

Buenos Aires, March 19-26, 2011

Buenos Aires is a great city, of that there is no doubt.  This is our third visit, and it was by far the best one.  The first time, we got a really good package deal from fancy Claridge’s Hotel, which is in the center on Tucumán.  The center has narrow sidewalks and is very busy.  The pedestrian streets are nice, but on the others, people are always in a hurry so they won’t get run down by busses or cars.   So our first visit was a mixed bag.  The second time was last year.  The big Chilean earthquake shut down the Santiago airport, and so we were diverted from Mendoza to Buenos Aires.  We spent only two days there and then flew straight home, but we had a nice time during that short detour.

Our week in Palermo Soho (or Palermo Viejo, if you prefer) was quite pleasant.  This was a very different kind of city living.  We were on Calle Uriarte, near Calle Guatemala.  The neighborhood reminded us very much of Chelsea in Manhattan.  Buenos Aires is mostly a high rise city.  Providencia is becoming more high rise with new construction, but it is much more spread out.  In that sense, Providencia feels more like Los Angeles in comparison.

We were close to the Bosque de Palermo, a large public space like Golden Gate Park or New York’s Central Park.  The Plaza de Italia Subte (subway) station was just a couple of blocks away.  Shopping was convenient, with a Disco supermarket just four blocks away.  Food prices in Argentina are cheaper than in Chile.  The owner of our apartment tells us that is because food prices are subsidized in Argentina.  Buenos Aires in the late summer can be hot and humid, whereas Santiago is hot and dry.  So it is kind of a trade off.  We like Boston and New York City, but we don’t want to stay in either one at the height of the summer…OR the winter either!  Spring or fall, pick one!

Our stay was short, and so we took some photos of the more famous things to see.  We were there for a four day national holiday weekend.  Plácido Domingo and Virginia Tola gave a fantastic open-air concert at the obelisk (9 de Julio and Corrientes).  We decided not to brave the crowds, which numbered some 120,000.  We did enjoy it on the television, and doubtless heard it better too.
Many subway stations have great murals like this one.

Entrance to a B Line Subte station

Subte station interior.
Casa Rosada, the presidential official residence and offices.

Protests in the Plaza de Mayo opposite the Casa Rosada.

The old Cabildo (City Council) building dates from the colonial period.

The Cathedral facade is very different from most in Latin America.

The Congreso Nacional houses the legislature.

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