Friday, July 12, 2013

Buenos Aires III: Life in Technicolor

On our last day in Buenos Aires, it was only Laura, Sebastian and I, as Stephan’s girlfriend was coming from Germany to visit him and he therefore had a good reason not to spend the day with us. First on our list was Plaza de Mayo again, as we had only seen it by night and wanted to get a view of Casa Rosada, the residence of the Argentinian president. It was open for visits so we also checked out the inside and I gotta say that president has some nice accommodation.

In front of Casa Rosada

With the guard


Outside there were guards marching around Plaza de Mayo. Nothing too special. But the cool thing about them was that they were absolutely in sync. Every single step was exactly coordinated and they never stopped marching. That even applied when they wantedd to cross the street but had to wait at the stoplight. Even when staying in one place they still marched on the spot. I guess that's better than not being allowed to smile but it still looked rather odd to me. 

Completely synchronized

From Plaza de Mayo we took a side street that went straight to our next destination – San Telmo. Conveniently, there was a feria (=market) in that same street and so we got to check out what markets in Buenos Aires have to offer. Most of it is pretty similar to Montevideo’s markets: clothes, souvenirs, mates. What I really liked were the leather products because that’s something we don’t have in Montevideo. One stand in particular caught my attention with really pretty notebook/calendar/passport covers made from leather and adorned with patterns that were burnt into the leather. My favorite was one with the South American continent etched into it that fit my calendar perfectly. But I hesitated at the price and so we went on towards the “Feria de San Telmo” which is a market for antiques. We didn’t really get too much into it, since neither of us had the money or the room in our luggage to bring home furniture or the like. Though the things we saw were incredibly pretty.

Feria as far as the eye can see

In a sea of mates

Old  Tango Guy

We then went on towards “La Boca” another one of Buenos Aires’ dockland districts. In opposition to Puerto Madero which we had visited the day before, this district was one of the poorer areas. No splendor, no skyscrapers and a bit too much dog poop on the streets for my liking. We had to watch every step so we wouldn’t accidentally step into it. Luckily we had Sebastian with us, who told us pretty much every 2 minutes to watch out. He’s like a dog-poop-detector. No shit… Literally!

Our first stop was “La Bombonera”, the stadium of one of Argentina’s most famous soccer clubs and one of the clubs Diego Maradona used to play for – Boca Juniors.

Sebastian sporting his "kompetenter-Trainer-Lächeln" (= competent coach smile)

Go Diego, Go!

But our actual destination in La Boca were the colorful houses of “El Caminito”. La Boca used to be a district of (especially Italian) immigrants and because many of them didn’t have much money on hand they built their houses out of metal plates from the ships they came on and painted them with ship-paint in all the colors of the rainbow.

El Caminito

Sebastian's Twin

I adored the colorful houses...

...but the sculptures they had peaking out of every window/balcony seriously creeped me out a bit!

Sitting on a bench, enjoying the colors

To be honest I thought the whole district was made up of those colorful houses so I was indeed a little disappointed that it was pretty much only two streets. But then again it was incredibly colorful and cheerful and even though there were way too many tourists and souvenir shops for my liking, it also has its own flair with all its Tango dancers. And did I mention the guy who looked exactly like Maradona now, all old and fat, and could be mistaken for the real one if it weren't for his obviously colored beard. 

After that our city tour was pretty much complete but we still had some hours of the day left. And because I couldn’t stop thinking about the leather cover for my calendar, we went back and hoped the guy with the leather things was still there. Luckily, he was. Which means I am now the proud owner of the most beautiful calendar cover imaginable. Complete with my name etched into the back side.

Craftsman at work (and my beautiful new calendar cover!)

We decided not to do much that night, since our bus left very early the next morning. Well the bus was of course late, but 6.45am still is a rather unearthly hour for students who never have class before 1.30pm.  So we went back to Laura’s, cooked a very delicious Lasagna, packed our things and went to bed. Good Night, Argentina, I hope I'll get to see you again someday! 

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