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Buenos Aires

February 18th: Buenos Aires

What a beautiful City Buenos Aires is. We arrived in port late of course, due to various kerfuffles in the Rio De La Plata shipping lanes. The poor officers on board responsible for shore tours spent frantic hours reorganising schedules and had a hectic morning. More credit to them, everything worked out happily for us tourists in the end.

Buenos Aires is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been in. The architecture is in a grand European Belle-Epoque style. There are turrets, wrought iron balconies and sloping slate roofs everywhere. Beautiful public art is on every corner – the statues, the murals and the public parks and open areas are lovely. The Avenues are wide, and well planted with plane trees, the smaller, narrow roads are quirky, picturesque and hint at exotic possibilities around far corners. I had to forcibly restrain myself from singing choruses from Evita, a tendency not helped by a soloist at the tango show we viewed singing ‘Don’t cry for me,” during her performance. And of course, we’ve now visited Evita’s mausoleum.

Truly, this is a city I will want to come back to.

Inez, of Maybe leather, who sold me my Argentinian leather hat today, assured Cavan and me that a minimum of fifteen days was needed to reconnoitre the city. I believe her. This is a city to relish, with all it’s different flavours and diversity. For example, I had no idea how important and dominant the Italian influence had been on the Portenos.

Buenos Aires has a wonderful mix of heritages: There is a long, exotic and cosmopolitan history manifest everywhere. Culture of all sorts flower: – from the colourful Carmanita district with its working-class history, to the affluence of the grandees and the European influence on show at the Opera House, the government buildings and wealthy residences. And of course, Diego Maradona is king. His soccer stadium a shrine for all Argentinians.

I’ve drunk mate – which I suspect is far from being the benign herbal tisane they described to me. Let’s just say that my friend Betty and I were giggly, disorientated and rather hysterical for at least two hours after imbibing our first cup of the drink.

I’ve eaten enormous steaks, empanadas and pancakes stuffed with Dulce con leche. My clothes don’t fit, but who cares? I’ve watched the most marvellous displays of tango, shopped the markets, and eaten out in the Plaza, protected by umbrellas from the dangerous heat of the summer sun.

Later today we sail for Rio, but Buenos Aires will take a lot of beating.

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