We arrived in Buenos Aires safely the next morning after successfully completing a lost in translation bus transfer in the middle of nowhere. I was so excited to be rounding off our time on the road in Buenos Aires as I had heard so many good things about the city. We booked our first few nights accommodation at a hostel called ‘Play’ in the Palermo Hollywood district. The place had a musical theme to it with all sorts of graffiti art on the walls and records representing famous musicians. We could tell right away this city was all about the food, the drink, and the arts and we were excited to experience them all. We kept the red meat and red wine theme alive with a lovely dinner at a restaurant called Miranda recommended to me by a friend from home. He had sent over a multi page google document that had a list of the best places to go for dinner and music. We literally just had to open it up and choose. It couldn’t have been more helpful. That same friend also reached out to his network in BA and said he had a buddy from San Francisco that was currently living just a short distance from our accommodation. His name was Charlie, and he offered to come meet my brother and I for a drink that night and show us a bit around town. We chose a place off the master list to meet for a drink and it ended up being a hidden speak easy type bar. At the unmarked front entrance we sneakily followed a few local girls in as we clearly didn’t have a reservation or the password for the evening. Charlie ended up being a super rad guy and kept us out until the wee hours of the morning. Upon parting ways he offered to take us down to the San Telmo market the later on that day, which was across town. So we went home for what could only rightfully be called “nap” and agreed to meet in a few hours.
When it was time to leave for the market it was pouring rain. Cody was of course not thrilled to be out of bed and getting soaked, but the market was only held on Sundays and we weren’t going to be around for the following one. Charlie met us at the metro station and guided us to the market. The market flowed through the streets of the San Telmo district. Booth after booth of local artisans selling their crafts. I was in heaven stopping into each of the tents hoping to find some neat little keepsakes. But the boys, being boys, didn’t seem to be having as much fun as I was admiring the antiques. Luckily they found a nearby pub combined with a few street vendors selling beer just up the road. After a few pints the two of them became a bit more lively, and didn’t seem to mind following me around until I found the leather belt I had been searching for.
That afternoon we went and had choripan, which is Argentinian chorizo, for lunch. The sausage like meat comes in many flavors and is served on crusted bread with chimichurri sauce. So much flavor! After lunch we thanked Charlie and parted ways as we set off to explore the rest of BA on our own. Later that evening we popped into a well known burger bar, called Burguesa, and followed it up with a pint from a local taproom and a cigar. We went for a walk about the town but it appeared to be a quiet night. As we we started making our way back home we heard music coming from a little bar on the side of the road. We decided to peek our heads in for one last drink before calling it a night. Luckily we did, because it was there we found a group of Australian and American travelers that had been walking about the town looking for a lively bar as well. It was midnight, but we were all apparently unaware that 1am is the time when people really start going out. We ended up making our way to this dance club with our newly formed little group and proceed to dance the night away. We sipped on the local drink of Fernet con cola which helped increase our confidence of starting conversations with Peruvian friends we made in Spanish. We were having so much fun we didn’t even realize it was morning. The sun was rising and the shop keeper was opening up across the street from our hostel. We looked at the time and it was 7am. It felt like I was in an alternate universe. We were able to close our eyes for just a couple hours that morning before we had to check out of the hostel. I packed my bags clearly still feeling the drinks from earlier that morning and was laughing so hard I was nearly in tears that I somehow managed to pack my bags better sleep deprived and a little buzzed then than I did sober. We moved to our next accommodation that ended up being just up the road. The place was called Hostel Ecopampa and was meant to be a little more upscale than the last. Complete with an ensuite bathroom and a mini balcony, which at this point felt like luxury.
After a bit of rest we were ready to check out another side of town, with a music filled evening at the La Bomba Tiempo. The event was held every Monday evening as the musicians put on an amazing drum and percussion show. It was held at the, Ciudad Cultural Konex, which was a lively music venue and seemed like it was the place to be if you were young and living in BA. We enjoyed a couple of the local Quilmes beers, ran into a couple friends from the night before, and shook our hips to the rhythm of the drums. As cheesy as it sounds I felt like I could feel the music in my bones that night. It made you feel so alive. I even thought in that very moment that this was one of those nights that would stay with me for a while.
The following day I decided to wander off on my own again and let the little bro catch up on some sleep. I walked towards the Recoletta shopping district, made it to an art museum, and strangely enough ended up at the above ground cemetery, which was actually a big place of interest for the city. I clocked about 8 miles on my day about and did it all in Rainbow Sandals like a true California gal would. That evening we had plans to meet with my Mom’s life long friend Carol for dinner. She was on her way to Antarctica and had to catch a boat from the port in Buenos Aires. Amazingly our schedules lined up and we were able to make a reservation for that evening at one of the fabulous steak restaurants mentioned on our trusty list. On the way to dinner, Cody and I were passing by a local tattoo shop. I had been wanting to get another travel tattoo souvenir for a while now, so I popped my head into the shop just to ask if I could make an appointment to get a small one done. Turned out they actually had an opening right then and there, and twenty short minutes later I had successfully managed to get a tattoo on the way to dinner. I chose to get the numbers 12,450 inked on the side of my foot. Which represents half the circumference of the world in miles. This number was special to me because it meant that no matter how far I travelled in the world, that was the farthest I could be from home, without getting closer again.
The following day we would switch hostels for the last time to another part of the city we hadn’t yet explored, Monserrat. It was here we again ran into some of the British and Aussie guys we had met those couple nights ago. We spent the day with the boys on a walking tour, where we would experience the sound of the streets. Protests were frequent in this part of town. They were as big and loud as parades and DIY fireworks went off like bombs in the street. We explored the historic San Telmo district a little deeper and lunched that afternoon at the authentic El Desnivel restaurant. That evening someone suggested we check out the Argentine Ballet. I was surprised any of the boys would want to go, but naturally I jumped at the chance to fully experience the arts of the city. We arrived that evening, wildly underdressed, to the absolutely stunning Teatro Colón opera house. I had not packed a nearly nice enough outfit for evening. But the ballerinas were beautiful, and it was an experience nonetheless to be in that atmosphere!
Our last day in Buenos Aires we couldn’t forget to book an evening learning the Argentinian Tango. A bus picked us and group of others up at our hostel and drive us to the Complejo tango. We spent the first part of the evening in an intro to Tango lesson, followed by dinner and a show. It was like having front row seats at Dancing with the Stars. The way they would twirl and glide across the floor right in front of you, dancing to the rhythm of the live music playing from the balcony off in the high corner of the room. The show was interactive as well. Cody and I even got called on stage to practice a few moves we had learned from the lesson earlier that evening. The show was fantastic and was a spicy way to end our time in Buenos Aires. We scraped together just enough Argentinian Pesos together to pay for our cab to the airport before the sun rose the next morning. We were finally headed home. Exhausted, but filled with lifelong memories made scratching the surface of South America with my brother by my side.