One Week in Buenos Aires

When we left off, Logan and I had just spent an extended weekend in Santiago, and were unfortunately feeling a little drained. Logan couldn’t find shoes in his size (seriously, that’s a real problem) so we hadn’t been able to go out to a club or do any dancing, something I really wanted to make happen. We were also, frankly, a little tired of living in shared accomodations. We were ready to have a room to ourselves so we could really sink our teeth in to the experience by unpacking our backpacks and cooking with some local ingredients.

Our week in Buenos Aires would prove to be the perfect solution to all of these problems. By the time our week in Argentina was finished, we would find Logan some shoes, dance until dawn, cook for ourselves plenty of times, and enjoy a restful week in a private Airbnb after nearly a month of being on the road and living in hostels.

Our time at our Airbnb in Buenos Aires was really our first experience “living” together, and at the time, we were in the mode of trying to figure out what kind of apartment we wanted to live in after returning to the US. We both absolutely loved our place in Argentina, which was a very spacious studio apartment in Palermo, one of the trendier neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.

I really want to impress upon you what a breath of fresh air it was to have our own place — and such a clean, modern place at that! Life on the road in rural Peru and crowded Santiago had been a ton of fun, but after more than three weeks, we were tired. We were just down the road from a little supermarket, so upon checking into our place (in broken Spanish), we picked up some groceries, unpacked our clothes and stored them in an actual closet for once, and took in the scenery.

Obviously, I am writing about this trip a year after the fact, so there’s a lot I’ve probably forgotten. But the gist is this: We got caught up on work (I was freelancing full-time at the time, and Logan was handling real estate deals remotely), we spent a lot of time walking around Palermo and the nearby neighborhoods, we cooked in and we relaxed.

We did eventually find Logan some shoes to wear, which was a pretty major accomplishment. After asking numerous shop owners if they carried his size, I eventually got a yes from a salesperson at a Converse store in a nearby shopping mall. Logan paid a lot for the shoes (I think it was about the equivalent of USD$80), but it was worth it to know we could actually go out.

A few highlights that I should probably mention: We really enjoyed Buenos Aires’ greenery, parks and architecture. Buenos Aires is called the “Paris of South America” because of the European-style architecture in the wealthy areas of the city. We took a bike tour in which we got to explore the neighborhoods of BA and bike down gorgeous streets and boulevards, learning about Argentina’s political history (I still feel like I have SO much more to learn about that), exploring the famous La Recoleta Cemetery, and talking with fellow travelers.

Speaking of La Recoleta, it’s a touristy spot to be sure, but it’s an incredibly interesting landmark. I’ve seen above-ground graves before, both in Paris and in New Orleans, but I’ve never seen anything like La Recoleta. The graves are bonafide mini-chapels, decorated with expensive statues, lights, candles, and fresh bouquets. The contrast between plots is stark, as families with ample resources are able to employ keepers to ensure their families’ shrines stay clean and well-decorated. The graves of families whose bloodlines are either no longer of means or no longer exist fall into disrepair.

It’s a good allegory for the political history of Argentina, which has been fraught with corruption, political turmoil, socialist revolutions and subsequent coups. I’m obviously not going to recite the political history of Argentina here, but suffice it to say that the people of Argentina have been through a lot, and seem to have come out on the other side with a lot of perspective.

We also got tickets to a tango show, before which we took a tango lesson of our own. I doubt our tango lesson was the most authentic way to experience tango; from what I’ve read, tango clubs are pretty intense, and I didn’t want to go and gape at the locals like some weird tourist. But the show was impressive, and we got a little taste of tango without getting in over our heads. The food was less than ideal but the dancing was fantastic.

So, now for the part you’re really wondering about: Did we get to party? Now that Logan finally had a pair of shoes (enough with the shoes already, amiright?!), we were finally able to go out for a night of dancing. We decided to take an Uber to Terrazas del Este, a dance club right on the ocean that we’d read was a pretty fun place. We arrived to the club at about 11:30… And it was completely dark.

“It’s not open yet,” our Uber driver explained in broken English. Well then.

I guess clubs in Buenos Aires don’t tend to open until 1 or 2 a.m. It’s a far cry from the US, where things close around that time. But we weren’t going to be disheartened. We found a restaurant nearby and ordered some seafood and a bottle of wine to “tide us over” until opening time.

When we did finally get to Terrazas del Este, the attendant was ushering people into two different lines outside of two separate buildings. We just went along with the line he choose for us, but looking around, everyone looked to be 18 or 19 years old, at most. I’m not sure if he thought we were younger than our age (which I’m okay with) or what, but I’m 90% sure he put us into the line for the “younger” club. That, or people over 21 don’t really go out in Buenos Aires. I guess we’ll never know which.

But regardless, we had a great time and accomplished my goal of dancing until sunrise. I’ve only stayed out until *true* sunrise three times in my life: Once in Paris, once in San Francisco, and this time in Buenos Aires. Dancing to Avicii and drinking vodka red bulls all night in South America was just as memorable as my other two all-night excursions.

Our week in Buenos Aires came and went in the blink of an eye. It was the city that I had most been looking forward to exploring, mainly because of the gorgeous architecture I’d seen and read about. And Argentina did not disappoint. Buenos Aires was beautiful, sophisticated, sexy, urban, modern and fun, with a political grit and spirit about it that it’d be impossible not to respect. It was time for our final stop in South America, where we’d be spending an entire month exploring, eating, drinking, failing to speak Portuguese, and experiencing my scariest travel-related health issue yet: Rio de Janeiro.

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