Taxis, Tango and Vino Tinto

So, for the first time in our lives, we thought we’d be organised and at about 1am the night before we left, we got on the internet and booked a night in a reasonable hostel in the centre of BA.

 

On the flight when changing our watches for the new time zone in Argentina however, we realised that we’d actually booked ourselves in for the night we were flying – doh! That’s where organisation (and a lack of sleep) gets us!

 

We arrived in BA and Daryl thought the airport was a lot nicer and different than the last time we arrived…until Evie pointed out that last time we arrived by coach from Iguazu Falls, so yes there was a major difference as a) we’d never been here before and b) there were no wings involved!

 

So having screwed up our hostel booking, and left our BA guide book at home because we thought we didn’t need it for two days, we caught a taxi into the centre to be taken to an area that we remembered for having a few hostels.

 

The taxi ride was a quick re-introduction into South American driving and the amazing hazard perception, spatial awareness and the need for speed that all drivers have. Evie, always a carefree back seat passenger, eventually agreed to return circulation to Daryl’s hand. Just to carry the bags.

 

Daryl observed that the British government are proposing to spend millions on technology to limit car speed for safety/traffic efficiency yet once again, chaos appears to work quite well and is free.

 

We got dropped off in town and realised that subconsciously we’d chosen the location of the hostel we’d stayed in previously with Dave, the Lime House! Even better, they had room, were cheaper than our screwed up booking and most importantly, they had Quilmes beer; an essential in BA along with the vino and empanadas.

 

Having spent a week in BA last time, it was nice to know we didn’t have the pressure of having to race around trying to visit all the main sites. We could just chill out and look at bits we’d strategically missed last time…the two main areas that we wanted to see were San Telmo and La Boca, the two historical quarters.

 

La Boca was the original port of the city where the various ships and immigrants entered and did port type stuff. Now it’s most famous for the vividly coloured buildings in the Cantino area along with the ubiquitous tourist restaurants, live tango shows and tacky souvenirs. It was nice to stroll around in the warm sunshine (sorry UK readers!) and soak up the atmosphere of the various musicians and street performers.

 

One surreal thing we did see for the benefit of tourists was a miniature shire horse with a baseball cap to keep the sun out of its face…then even more surreal were dogs fully clothed in jeans and T-shirts walking around. In that heat you would have thought shorts or a dress would be more sensible. Our dog, Star wouldn’t have been impressed in the slightest.

 

San Telmo was the other quarter that we visited and this is one of the oldest areas of city and the birthplace of Tango. You could really sense the difference in this neighbourhood with the slightly narrower cobbled streets, distinctly European architecture and relaxed tree lined avenues with locals just sat watching the world go by.

 

At least that was until we got to the street called Defensa where there was a bustling market stretching into the distance in both directions. It was the perfect way to a spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, browsing through the various handicrafts and antiques, occasionally asking the price of something and desperately trying to remember our numbers to haggle and just watching the world go by from one of the many cafes, sipping a cafe con leche while the locals drank mate (t he bitter herbal drink – looks like pesto and is an acquired taste i.e. foul).

 

That night we ate at a parrilla in San Telmo – a traditional Argentine steakhouse. We ate like the locals so this meant that we only went out to dinner at 10pm (locals rarely come out before) and ordered a couple of 350g steaks, potato and vino tinto (red wine).

 

In the words of the credit card advert: Steak – £6, Potato – £2, Wine – £7, a piece of plastic in your bread roll – priceless.

 

Despite the small piece of plastic, the meal was fantastic and as we always say, hell of a lot better than anything you could try to get for that price in the UK.

 

We leave tomorrow for the End of the World and Antarctica beyond.

 

Hasta luego!

 

D+E

 

 

 

 

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