Saturday – today we left Patagonia and flew from El Calafate to Buenos Aires. After a little discussion with the check-in counter agent about the weight of Stacy’s camera bag (thank you local guide, Sebastian!) the flight on Aereolineas Argentinas went smoothly.
We got into the big city a bit early and had time for our local guide in BA, Dario, to drive us around town a bit before heading to the hotel.
Our first stop was the Recoleta cemetery. This was easily the most elaborate city of the dead I had ever visited. It sort of reminded me of the one we saw in Havana, only more elaborate. The mausoleums are definitely more elaborate than those in the Lafayette cemetery in New Orleans. The lovely thing about this cemetery is the wide, tree-lined walkways between mausoleums, and the multitudes of cats who apparently live in the cemetery and slept on the graves without any regard for the importance of its human occupant.
The highlight of this stop was visiting the tomb of Eva (Evita) Peron. Eva Peron is still widely revered here as a champion on the poor and dispossessed. The beautiful thing is that every day, people still leave fresh flowers at her tomb. There’s a wild tale about the weird and disturbing travels of Evita’s body before it came to rest here, but that can wait for later.
We toured down many of the wide Boulevards of this beautiful city and reveled in many fascinating stories told by Dario. The Spanish spoken by Porteños (as natives of BA refer to themselves) sounds a lot like Italian. It’s really fun to listen to them talk! Dario is a truly talented storyteller.
We headed down to the bohemian neighborhood of La Boca. It was nice to go here with the group because, although fascinating, it isn’t that safe after 6:00pm. We saw lots of colorful buildings (pictures to follow), sidewalk cafes with tango shows and interesting shops.
We still had time to visit the “pink house”, the official office of the President, and arrived just in time to witness the ceremony of the lowering of the flag at the end of the day. Plaza de Mayo , which is just in front of the Pink House, is also the site of the weekly gathering of the grandmothers of those who “disappeared” during Argentina’s “dirty war” in the 1970s.
The trip back to the hotel and cocktails with our traveling companions rounded out a very full day.