Day 17: Tigre, Argentina

Sunday, 29 April 2018 – Day 17: Tigre, Argentina (34.4251° S, 58.5797° W)

Good morning, buenos dias.

Some cities just look better in the dark…like LA, Bangkok and Buenos Aires too is one of those mysterious dark places with alluring nighttime lights and sounds…Avenida Corrientes is BA’s “street that never sleeps”…walking last night past packed pizza places hopping, sax music spilled out of jazz bars, the siren smell of meats grilling grabbed you as you walked by busy parrillas, dates meeting up on corners anxiously starring into their phones for coming reassurances, porteños both young and old were out in force last night in BA enjoying their Saturday night. My family and I have had the privilege of living here like locals years ago; we had our own apartment and rescheduled our lives and schedules into the cities rhythms. We dinned late, sometimes noshing after midnight on weekends. And so when I finally sat down to eat last night, tired from exploring all day, thirsty for a cerveza and hungry for lomo and frites it was well after 11PM…

The basics: lomo grilled to perfection (grass fed) & potatoes cooked in olive oil, chimmichurri sauces, and a bottle of Malbec.

Most North Americans don’t travel south to this part of the world, preferring the Grand Tour of European bucket list spots and maybe a once-in-a-lifetime Down Under visit. So, Buenos Aires (aka Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Aires, or just BA) is a mysterious place to most. Only two of our 14 travelers had been here before—and these are well-traveled people. So here are the cliches: BA is the world’s most European city…a mix of Paris boulevards, Milan style, London upper crust that make it’s few tourist sights: broad Avenida 9 de Julio, it’s vast 48 different barrios (neighborhoods), the old-moneyed shopping district of Recoleta, tangoing the night away in bawdy San Telmo, making friends in the trendy bars in the Palermo and Las Canitas neighborhoods, perusing Caminito’s colorfully painted houses, wandering the antiques market or watching the protesters at Plaza Del Mayo. The phrase here: “mi barrio, mi vida” (my neighborhood is my life) makes you who you are here in BA.

Teams Biking around the city…

Here at BA’s facts: Great Buenos Aires (Gran Buenos Aires), is the 22nd most populated urban center in the world with over 18 million people. But who really knows…maybe 20-22 million? On the global list—think Vienna, Copenhagen, Vancouver, Geneva, Melbourne on top—it is the second ranked South American city on the list with the highest quality of life/livability ranking coming in 93 overall…(Montevideo #1  at 79). Despite it’s size though, BA it is not an Alpha city, more a Beta city…on par IMHO with the likes of: Atlanta, Guangzhou, Manila, Budapest…BA is not Paris, Shanghai, Madrid, Tokyo, London or Istanbul. Argentina has a per capita GDP of about $21,000. Rich, but not too rich;  distinctly lower middle class in the hierarchy of economics.

Interesting tidbits: Buenos Aires has more psychologists per capita than any other city… even the Buenos Aries city airport (AEP) actually has an open psych clinic for flyers afraid to fly, vent, get anti-anxiety Rx pills. BA also has more bookstores (750+) per person than any city in the world…one location for every 4000 citizens…28 newspapers also  serve the city of Buenos Aires. They like gossip, politics (each political party has their own paper and they have a lot of parties here!).

What I really love about Argentina is: Argentina’s grass-fed beef, cafes that serve dulce de leche topped espressos, great gelato, well-dressed locals, their famed Malbec wine, sentimental, sexy and moody tango, and their passion for soccer of course—the world’s best player Messi hails from Argentina….and frankly, you gotta love that dinner earlier than 10PM is déclassé in Argentina…and of course, it would be social suicide to turn up to a club here before 2AM.

9 de Julio Avenue

An espresso dulce de leche…my personal favorite.

Bone hunting for Evita…

Near MALBA…& van Gough’s & Kahlo’s & Berni’s

Ever present tango motif’s…milonga anyone?

La Boca…watch your wallets folks! (Right Tom!)