It’s hard to believe this is my final blog from Argentina, but I guess it probably is. Our flight home is tomorrow evening, so I guess we’ll see if we end up doing anything worth writing about tomorrow!
I haven’t posted a blog for the last several days, as we’ve been quite busy touring around Buenos Aires and have had several late nights (by our standards, not Argentina standards!) I’m just going to hit the highlights here:
1) Boca Juniors game: On Thursday evening Noah and I went to a futbol match of the local favorite Boca Juniors against Bolivar at ‘La Bombonero’ Stadium.
Originally just Noah was going to go, but I’m really glad that Lara was able to babysit so I could join. It was pretty amazing to experience the passion and enthusiasm of the Boca Junior fans. The only parallel in my own experience would be the Cameron Crazies, who are just as passionate, but there aren’t nearly as many of them! The Boca Juniors stadium holds 49,000 spectators, and almost every seat was full. About 95% of the spectators were men, and they do not allow any alcohol in the stadium for security reasons. (Wow – that’s a lot of money they are leaving on the table!) Also, technically only season ticket-holders can attend matches, so buying tickets is a complicated – and highly suspect – affair. It required going with a ‘tour company’ of sorts that basically provided us with the club membership card of a season ticket holder and escorted us [rather stealthily] to our seats.
Most of the fans were standing the entire game, and quite a few were singing the numerous Boca Junior chants the entire game. Noah and I were placing bets on when the young guy behind us was going to lose his voice; he was singing at the top of his lungs for almost 90 minutes straight, it was truly an incredible feat of devotion. The songs were quite repetitious, but still it was impressive to hear thousands of fans singing them in perfect unison.
2) Tango Show. I was convinced we’d have to skip the tango thing entirely, having read that all tango shows start around 10pm. However, we met a couple [from Oakland!] at the Boca Juniors game who had been to a good show at the Centro Cultural Borges (in Galerias Pacifico) that started at 8pm. I decided it was worth a late night to expose the girls to some real tango, so we went last night. It was a great show – excellent dancers in fancy tango attire, a talented live band (including singers), and about the right length (just over 1 hour). Sierra was completely enraptured. So was Cassidy at first, but her eyelids got heavier and heavier, and by 8:40 pm she was sound asleep on my lap. I was amazed that she could sleep through the loud music, but she slept right through the remainder of the performance and all the way home!
As predicted, despite going to bed at almost 10 pm, the girls still woke up at 7 this morning. Groan – we SO failed to assimilate with Argentine customs on this front…
3) San Telmo: On Friday morning we had a serious debacle trying to get the Buenos Aires tourist bus – after searching for the bus stop for 30 +minutes, then waiting at the bus stop for 20+ minutes, the tour bus finally came. Then the driver told us they weren’t selling any more bus tickets for the entire day. What???? The bus had plenty of seats available, and it was only 11:30 am – this made no sense at all, and I was extremely incensed. Alas, we took a cab to San Telmo and ended up having a nice lunch and walk through the neighborhood. It’s a great area with lots of lovely old buildings and interesting shops. I could have wondered around there for hours…unfortunately did not take a single photo, so am without any good visual here.
4) Trip to Tigre: On Saturday we visited the delta area north of Buenos Aires — it was very interesting, and I’m glad we went, though I think I might have been more impressed if we’d had a sunny day. Apparently this is a super popular weekend trip for porteños, but I didn’t find the scenery all that picturesque. That said, it was amazing to see how different life is just 30 km from BA – people travel around in boats, there are no roads, houses are all on stilts, they even buy their groceries from a grocery boat!
The highlight for the girls was definitely an afternoon stop at Parque de la Costa – a small, somewhat dated amusement park that was quite charming in its own way (and incredibly eye-opening for two girls who had never been to a park like this!)
5) Authentic BA Pizza. Today we met Lara (the girls’ Spanish tutor/babysitter from San Martin) for pizza at Pizzeria Guerrin – one of the most famous pizzerias in Buenos Aires, which was originally opened by two immigrants from Genoa in 1932.
It was packed, and the pizza was very tasty – though so rich that both Noah and I were regretting it a bit afterward…. Anyway, it was fun to try the pizza the true porteño way – with la faina (flat bread made with chick peas) on top and a glass of moscato (sweet wine). We also walked around some of the most beautiful buildings in the heart of Buenos Aires, including the Teatro Colon in the photo below.
Sierra and Cassidy’s favorite activity was racing full speed on the sculptures in the theater’s courtyard.
Good-bye Buenos Aires, and good-bye Argentina! I do hope we can come back again soon.