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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Argentina - 26 January, 2002

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Majestic Hotel, Buenos Aires S3437.076' W05822.245' 18 m
Finish Majestic Hotel, Buenos Aires S3437.076' W05822.245' 18 m -

Leg 2 Total:

8,670 km

Leg 1 Total:

9,010 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

18,341 km

 

Weather: Clear, sunny and very hot.

 

 

We visit the town today.  We have breakfast in the hotel and are on our way by 10 AM.  We will do a walking tour this morning.  We head over to the nearby bakery for a snack (the hotel breakfast was quite pathetic - small croissants with nothing to put on them).  From there we head over to the office that sells tickets to the shows in town - we pick up tickets for a tango show at a small bar in San Telmo.  We get them for half price - about $5 including dinner.  What a bargain!

 

We then head in the direction of the Plaza del Congreso.  The streets are deserted, but they have more do with it being Saturday morning rather then the demonstrations.  We notice that all the trash bins on the streets are missing - many just have the lids hanging on the lamp posts.  We realise that it must be because of all the demonstrations - remove place that bombs could be hidden or where fires could be started.  On the way to the Plaza, we stop off at a nice church and small cul-de-sac that has been preserved with all the old residential buildings.

 

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The Palacio del Congreso was modeled on the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. and was completed in 1906.  The massive granite steps symbolise the high Andes and the fountain at the base represents the Atlantic Ocean.  The square is empty except for bums and a few people walking their dogs.  The security barriers are still in place - they must be expecting more demonstrations.  From there we head east down one of the two main streets - Ave. de Mayo.  It is a wide, tree-lined boulevard and a very pleasant walk.

 

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Along the way, we pass a world famous cafe and decide to stop in for a drink and a snack (and a bit of air-conditioning).  Cafe Tortoni was founded in 1858 and has been in its present location since 1893.  It has character that is exuded by the extensive wood work and the billiard tables.  The waiters, dressed in traditional cafe outfits (black aprons, etc), are a lot of fun and we have a good laugh as we have our drink and snack.  Lars is impressed with the spritzer bottle that comes with his drink - we have not seen one of those in action for a while.

 

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We regretfully leave and head off on our walking tour.  We continue down Ave del May to Plaza del Mayo where the Casa Rosada (Pink House) is located.  The color of the presidential palace is a bit shocking.  We are not able to approach very close nor go to the museum and tour as the entire building has been cordoned off with security barriers. The police presence is huge.  We finish our tour of the day by going to the information office to see what we can learn.  We discover that there is a free walking tour of the San Telmo area, so we decide that we will do that.  But first we head back to the hotel for a short rest.

 

We take a taxi to San Telmo, which is the artists' quarters and also the site of some extensive slums in the tenements originally built for the city's rich elite.  It was abandoned by the rich when yellow fever hit in the late 19th century.  As immigrants poured into the country, they took over the now vacant buildings.  It was nice to go on the walking tour as we learned much more about the history of the place and some of the buildings that we would have normally just walked by.  While we would have liked to stay in this historic area, we needed to get back to our hotel and get ready for our Tango show.

 

After a quick shower and a not so quick drink, we were ready to head off.  Another taxi and we were heading back to San Telmo to a bar called Bar Sur.  It is a very small and intimate place.  The walls are all wood work and there are only a few small tables scattered around the bar.  There is a small space left free in the middle - we were not sure how they would dance the tango in there.

 

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The food is nothing special - pizza (but they did give us as much as we wanted), but that was not what we were here for.  We wanted to see some tango.  And we got it.  The couple danced a number of times for us and they were fantastic.  We were sitting right on the dance floor and so we were close.  It is hard to describe the movements and emotions.  It is a very erotic dance.

 

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There were also some singing and instrumentals, but the highlight was the dancing.  At the end of each series, they would grab people from the audience to dance with them - some how they were able to get Lars and Jacqui up on the dance floor. The lady was gentle with Lars and did not embarrass him too much.  Jacqui was swirling and twirling with the guy.

 

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After watching a number of sets, we decided to head on.  Our next stop was Cafe Tortoni.  It was quite full (we arrived after midnight) and we were just able to snag one of the billiard tables.  We then spent a few hours having a drink and trying to sink the balls.  We were more successful at the drinks than the pool.

 

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