Archive for the 'Argentina' Category

across the water to Uruguay

Our final border crossing was our first border crossing by boat and, as it turns out, also one of our easiest. From the Buenos Aires suburb of Tigre we sailed across the Delta del Paraná to the Uruguayan town of Carmelo.  It’s also possible to travel by boat directly from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento or Montevideo, but this particular border crossing is said to be the most interesting and cheapest of crossings between the two countries.  Prior to departing for Uruguay we spent one day and night in Tigre, a small riverfront town and popular porteño weekend destination.  A two hour boat ride the next morning followed by simple immigration procedures carried out at the port brought us to Carmelo, Uruguay where we spent a relaxing afternoon.  From Carmelo we traveled another hour by bus to Colonia del Sacramento.

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Boca Juniors

Independiente 2 – 1 Boca Juniors

Our last night in Buenos Aires we headed to La Boca to watch the Boca Juniors, one of the city’s most popular fútbol (soccer) teams, take on Independiente.  Unfortunately, our being there cheering them on didn’t make too much of a difference and they lost.  Even so, it was still a great game with lots of excitement out on the field and lots of emotional fans up in the stands.

Gauchos

the traditional Argentine cowboys

Iguazú Falls

Located where the borders of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil meet and shared by both Argentina and Brazil, the waterfalls of Iguazú National Park are a truly spectacular natural wonder.  The sheer size and force of the falls is enough to take your breath away and the most awesome is the semicircular Garganta del Diablo, or Devil’s throat, a lookout point perched right on the edge of the falls.

Argentina’s coin crisis

Had it not been for this sign posted at one of the kiosks along the street in Buenos Aires, the whole Argentine coin crisis may have gone without my mentioning it, but it was so amusing I couldn’t resist… There is a major coin shortage in Argentina, which helps to explain why Barack Obama is pictured here pointing out that “there are no coins”.  Businesses never have enough of them and are constantly asking for exact change from customers.  Even when they do have it they hate to part with it.  Apparently, it’s impossible to walk into a bank and get a roll of coins because there is an actual shortage of coins in the country.  I’ve been told two stories as to why there are not enough coins in circulation.  The first is that the government does not produce enough of them and the second is that the metal used to make the coins is worth more than the value of the coin… Which, if either of these, is true I can’t be sure, but we recently met an American couple who told a funny story of being asked to accept candy in place of their change when the grocery store claimed to be out of coins.  They, somewhat jokingly, replied by questioning whether they could return to the store later and use the candy to pay for future purchases…

Palermo, parrilla & los Colorados at the peña

Los Colorados at Peña Los Cardones

They don’t call it the coolest city on the continent for no reason.  Buenos Aires never sleeps.  Restaurants don’t open their doors until around 8pm and even then most people don’t show up for dinner until after 10.  Dinner winds down around midnight, by 2am everyone is headed out to the bars and clubs and that’s where they’ll stay, dancing until the following morning.  The Palermo neighborhood of the city is home to some of the trendiest restaurants and hippest nightlife in all of Buenos Aires. 

Argentines love mate, wine and meat.  Buenos Aires is famous for its parrillas, or steakhouses, and you can find one on just about every corner.  Since no visit to the city is complete without a steak dinner and night out on the town, we headed out this past Friday to sample some of the nightlife.  First  to Lo de Jesus for a late dinner and then out to Peña Los Cardones, a local live music venue, for traditional Argentine folk music. 

Our steaks at Lo de Jesus were so delicious, and affordable, served to us on white tableclothes by waiters in suits, we couldn’t help but go back again the following week. 

   

 

La Boca

Named after its location at the mouth of the Río Riachuelo, the vibrant, working class neighborhood of La Boca was built by Italian immigrants from Genoa.  Brightly painted corrugated-metal buildings line the touristy streets and walkways around the Caminito where local artists display their paintings and street performers entertain the crowds against colorful backdrops.