Monday, December 23, 2013

Buenos Aires

Lydia and I spent about a month in Buenos Aires and thoroughly enjoyed the city!  The beautiful thing about Buenos Aires is that you don't have to get up to anything in particular to have fun.  You can easily spend weeks simply walking down the many streets in the city and absorbing the culture.  More than anywhere I've been, the culture of Buenos Aires is incredible.  It seems that in order to live in Buenos Aires, you have to be either a poet, a chef, a musician, a dancer, an actor, or all of the above.  Turn any corner and you'll find a street performer putting on a show or maybe just some locals who have decided to dance in the street.  As a result, for our Buenos Aires section, Lydia and I don't have any photos of any crazy activities (though I tried to go sky diving and was rejected on account of my apparent girth - by South American standards).  All our photos are from simply walking around and taking in the sights.  Something I could have continued to do in Buenos Aires for mucho mas anos!

After hibernating for the first 2 days (due to our epic travel debacle) and finding an appropriate residence to setup shop in Buenos Aires for a while, we decided to take a "free walking tour" of the city in order to get our bearings.  Above you can see our Joe Rogan'esc tour guide boasting about the size of the cantaloupes in the city.

Throughout the walking tour, we got to take in many of historic and beautiful buildings around the Argentinian capital.  We also learned much about the history of the city, including the not so distant "Dirty War", which lasted from the 60s to the mid 80s.  During the Dirty War the Argentinian government "disappeared" over 30,000 Argentinian residents - anyone who was suspected of socialism.  Not only are they still discovering new mass graves of these residents, who were often picked out of their homes, never to be found again, but there are also a number of groups working at re-pairing the orphaned or abducted children from these events with their blood relatives.  The children of the abducted were often sent to the camps or murdered alongside their parents; however, there were also many cases where the children were sent to live with officials and other members of the currupt regime.  Many of these children weren't/aren't even aware of their past, as they were raised as the blood of their abductors!  Several groups in Argentina (most notably the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (the plaza pictured below) work to reveal the truth behind such cases and expose the abductors and place the now adults back with their real families.  

Luckily, this dark past is now behind Argentina.  It is now a wonderful place to meet some remarkable people and explore the sights!

This building I thought looked a lot like the one from Moulin Rouge!

Another interesting thing we found on the walking tour (though I don't have a picture to prove it) is that we crossed the world's widest avenue - 9 de Julio Avenue!  This ave is about 20 lanes across and spans over 110m in width, essentially the length of an American football field, including the end zones!  Try J-walking that one!

As I mentioned earlier, the bulk of what we did in Buenos Aires is just walk around the city, eat great food and take in the culture.  Often, you could combine eating and art by going to one of the many cafes that offered live entertainment.  The video above was taken in a small cafe outside of our hostel.  While we ate our copious amounts of meat, various performers would take the stage and demonstrate their craft.  Dancers, singers, jugglers, all were entertaining! 

The above video was taken of a particularly cute dancing couple, whose average age between the two of them was likely about 95 years old.  Man could they still move though!  Below is a video of Pinoccio - the later years (after he started hitting the bottle).  These are two of the typical scenes you can take in by just walking down the cobblestone streets of Buenos Aires!

I've never seen so many antique shops and markets as I have in Buenos Aires.  Basically, if it's not an antique shop, it's a cafe!


Check out these awesome antique clothes!

Buenos Aires also made Lydia very happy by having a central cat park, combining her love for flowers and CATS!!!

One rather beautiful side trip we made in Buenos Aires was a visit their Japanese garden.

It was a great place for deep contemplation.

Artistic Lydia - post contemplation.

Lydia was able to have her wedding dress tailored in La Paz, so continuing with the trend of custom-made South American wedding apparel, I decided to have my tux made in Buenos Aires.  While we waited for the suit alterations, we also took a number of tango lessons to prepare ourselves for the big day!

The final theme to our Buenos Aires adventure was the end to the Canucks 2011 playoff run.  We managed to find a bar in Buenos Aires that was actually playing the games, meaning we were able to watch the SCF on the big screen (as opposed to my typical iphone viewing experience)!  Hidden away in the background of the above picture is our Buenos Aires travel buddy, Linda, who we met in Mendoza (on the wine tour), and got to watch the Canucks games with.

I thought the boys had it in the bag.  Not only were they up 3-2 in the series, but I kept seeing omens around Buenos Aires.  For instance, did you know that Kevin Bieksa is a fragrance model in South America?

Also, we found Bobby Lu in a Buenos Aires cafe, working his side job as bola juggler?

It turns out, fate was just playing a cruel trick on me.  For the second time in a row, the Canucks made it all the way to game 7 of the SCF, only to fall just short in the end.    

2014, here we come - Go Nucks?!?!

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