Sunshine, tango, Patagonia, history, boliches, beaches, international crowd, glaciers, fiesta, mate, Spanish. A few things that came to mind when thinking of Argentina. Didn’t sound too bad.
So I decided to pack up and call the capital of Buenos Aires home, marking my first trip to South America.
BA is a mesh of vibrant history and world culture, with European architecture reminiscent of Paris, coupled with diverse neighborhoods such as expat-haven, SoHo-like Palermo and the old, bohemian section of San Telmo.
Flying into Buenos Aires, I immediately noticed a drastic contrast between my past few destinations in Asia and Central America. Flashback to my flight into Mumbai, shocked by the sprawling nature of the slums and the adjacent magnificence of some of the world’s most luxurious apartments.
Suburbs. Pools. Patios. BA’s brilliant skyline at 4:30 AM.
The woman to my left reminded me of my host mom in Seville, Spain. A grandmother from Mendoza, one of Argentina’s wine regions, managed to entertained me for hours on the flight regardless of whether I could understand her accent. At one point, I thought she was accidentally nudging me until I noticed her phone was out displaying a photo of her three daughters in New York… We’re all the same.
I appreciated her prayers before our two in-flight meals, drawing a parallel as I thought of a friend in India who had done the same at a crowded curry shop in Amritsar, home to the Sikh’s holy golden temple.
More prayers the whole way up from JFK and down to EZE put a smile on my face. Faith is honorable.
Baggage claim, currency exchange, buses, taxi, three keys later. Home in my new Airbnb in San Telmo, next to a pet shop and lively neighborhood bar with outdoor seating. After a quick nap I made it to the San Telmo market by 1PM.
The San Telmo market is truly a feast for the senses. Upbeat street music, jugo de naranja and art work.
We paused for a caffeine kick at a recommendable coffee shop, La Poesia, just off the main market street.
A few miles past various monuments and green parks, such as the Plaza de Mayo and the Casa Rosada (BA’s White House), took us to the upscale barrio of Recoleta. Next up, La Recoleta cemetery and the art show along the outskirts.
Seven miles later, the colectivo bus back to San Telmo (about $0.50 per ride) started to look more and more attractive.
Like a true porteno (BA native), I decided to make my own mate I had bought in the market earlier. Mate is a coffee-like tea with a greater wake up call.
Ready for the jazz show at the Boris Club! I grabbed a seat on one of the many colectivo buses headed to Palermo to see Boris Big Band. My first bottle of Malbec in Argentina along with perhaps the worst veggie burger I’ve ever had (hey, we’re in the steak capital of the world), was more than overshadowed by the best jazz show (granted perhaps the only jazz show) I’ve ever been to. I decide I love it here.
Before heading home, we wind down with a cerveza artesenal (craft beer) at one of the many hip places lining Palermo.
After a marvelous first day, I set out to start the work week. A few technical difficulties later and poor Wi-Fi connection, I’m slowly finding my place in this cultural hub. Night number two dancing the night away at La Bomba pushed my excitement to be here to a new level.
Confident I will find my flow, tune into a rhythm, and meet some yoga people and other digital nomads here in Buenos Aires. Pumped for Patagonia.
More to come. Lots of love.