I missed the major brownout by a day and landed the night of the biggest demonstration against the current government to date. During my stay the Fragata controversy continued, Maradona was in the headlines over various ex's, a major strike shut down most of the city, and the Griesa decision was announced. Whew, just mentioning all this high drama makes me want to reach for the bottle of Malbec!
That said, it was great to be back in Buenos Aires again and here's a few high and low points, starting with the highs:
1. Easy at EZE: arriving at night has its definite advantages, as in few incoming flights so no huge lines. I had the visa bought, the bag collected, breezed thru customs, made a brief stop at Banco Nacion, and was in my Ezezia taxi within 45 minutes of landing.
2. Live performance at Teatro Colon. Wrote a separate post about this. What can I say....hearing O Mio Babbino Caro sung in one of the most historic....and acoustically best...opera houses in the world was di-vi-no!
3. A day out of the city with Delta Unplugged. Only 90 minutes from the city and entire change of lifestyle. Ana and Ralph were wonderful hosts. Great trip on the Delta and fabulous lunch on the sailboat served under a weeping willow on the embankment
4. Lunch at the oh-so-elegant and refined Orangerie in the Alvear Hotel with my GA and another TA friend. I really knew I was on vacation when I ordered wine for lunch! Focus on the salads and cold platters and save room for the decadent dessert table.
5. Catching up on Messi. He was everywhere: on billboards, in the newspapers and on television. With sports heroes dropping like flies, this young man remains a class act.
6. Trying a new (for me anyway) Luigi Bosca blend called "Sangre". Expensive but yummerooney!
7. Making Como en Casa (Laprida and French branch) my 'home away from apartment'. The wait staff got to know me so well they had my breakfast request memorized. I'd while away 1/2 the morning there, sitting outside or inside next to one of the big windows and watch every day Buenos Aires life go by: parents taking their little ones to school, the dog walkers, and yes, even the scarce garbage trucks doing their pickups (more on that later).
8. Seeing my first Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I know, kinda corny, but with the plethora of dog breeds in this city I had yet to see a 'cousin' of my own dog. Speaking of canines, the 'fashion dog' definitely seems to be the French Bulldog..they were everywhere!
9. Last but not least, the people of this city. Generous, warm, passionate, humorous and kind to a fault.
Now for the lows, and I write these with hesitation as it is always difficult to criticize a place or person you love:
1. Walking down streets with a handkerchief over my nose and mouth because of the putrid, rotting garbage that had not been collected for some time And these were classy streets in Recoleta and Barrio Norte! I understand there are some 'rolling strikes' going on, but I hope it gets sorted out soon as hot weather approaches.
2. The crumbling sidewalks and dog poop are worse than my first visit in 2006. The former may be attributed to difficult economic times, the but the latter? There's no shortage of plastic bags as evidenced by all the trash bags on the street!
3. Exorbitant domestic airfares for foreigners meant I stimulated the Uruguayan economy for a week instead of the Northern Argentine economy (sorry, Angie!).
In signing off this rambling post, a shout out to ALL the TA posters and LE's who provide such useful information on this forum. Moreweird and Marnie, without you I would never have known how to 'bus it' to Belgrano station! And I definitely will be back...it might be a while but plagarizing Rick, I'll always have Buenos Aires!