Saturday, May 12, 2007

BA pt 2

So yesterday (friday) we went down to Caminito, a very cute (and highly touristy) section of a neighborhood called La Boca, one of the first parts of BA to develop. It´s where the first port was, and since has become a bit of a shady part of town (we were reminded many times not to go there at night) but Caminito is a section with brightly colored houses where all sorts of street vendors and artists congregate to try to get tourists to buy their stuff. It´s actually a really cute area, exept that many of the restaurants along the streets have people that hassle you on the street to come into their place to eat (a common practice here). We had an ok lunch, listening to someone singing US 90´s music (No Doubt, Guns & Roses, etc) in a lounge-singer style, but afterwards we managed to find another little section with a cute cafe that had a couple dancing tango in front of it, and that was really cool. The couple just looked like they were having fun, and it was neat to see them dancing spontaneously, as opposed to the choreographed dancing of the tango shows. Afterwards we went back to buy my grey boots, grabbed a pizza for dinner, and then got ready to see another tango show at night.

Now, the first show we saw on wednesday, El Viejo Almacen, was recommended by Daddy and our guide told us it´s the best among the more traditional tango shows. The theatre was tiny, and there were maybe 30-40 of us in the audience. It felt very intimate, and it was really cool watching all the tango dancers and feeling close up to them.

This other show, called Señor Tango, is supposed to be the best of the more modern tango shows. It was really interesting to see the contrast-- this one was definitely more of a production, with much more glitz and glamour. The theatre was much bigger, able to hold probably several hundred people. The dancing was much faster, more show-off-y, and the costumes were a bit more, um... naked (we saw some ass-cheeks a few times). Among the more cheesy numbers was the first one where they had 2 REAL LIVE HORSES come onto the stage (a symbolic re-enactment of the Spanish taking over the native americans living here), and 2 numbers taken from the movie Moulin Rouge (Diamonds are a Girl´s Best Friend, sung in spanish by a Nicole Kidman look-alike, and the Roxanne tango which at least is a legitimate tango). I´m glad we went and it was really cool watching the show, but I´m also really glad we saw El Viejo Almacen and would recommend it above Señor Tango if you can only see one show.

This morning we checked out of the hotel, then walked down to Plaza de Mayo. There was a woman selling corn so that you could feed the pigeons, and this one little girl was practically getting attacked by the pigeons as she tried to feed them (she seemed to be ok with it all, and mom was right next to her taking pictures). Another little boy was also feeding pigeons, and proceeded to pick one up and take pictures with it-- at one point he was (fake?) kissing the pigeon as mom took pictures. It was one of the moments we´ve had here where we witness a culture that´s just so far removed from our every-day life.

Then we walked down to Puerto Madero, a ritzy area with lots of restaurants that´s still under some construction but you can see they´re wanting to make it into this nice, pedestrian area where people can hang out. There weren´t a whole lot of people out and about (though interestingly it seems both here and in Santiago to be more common to walk around on weekdays, less so on weekends), and there weren´t many shops, but it looks like it could be a really nice area in a few years´time if they build it up right. Part of me is dissappointed to see them building these huge buildings with all glass that have, well, no personality (instead of taking advantage of some of the cool architechture they already have, and echoing that same style). It´d be interesting to come back in another 10 years or so and see what it all ends up looking like. Anyway, we had lunch and walked around for a bit, and it was all pretty enjoyable. It was nice to be away from all the cars and traffic for a few hours. We then stopped by Plaza San Martin, which was really cute, and then walked up Florida (a padestrian street that´s basically a huge outdoor mall) and back now to our fave internet place (with nicer keyboards than any of the previous ones we´ve found!).

After spending time in places like Geneva and Santiago, which have pretty good public transit (except for the current busses in Stgo), it´s interesting being here, where they´ve clearly made the decision to make cars the main mode of transporation. The roads here are HUGE, several of them measuring 8-15 lanes wide. There´s a metro system, but it´s not very extensive, and b/c the streets are so big traffic isn´t bad. However it´s not as pedestrian friendly as it could be, and the cars and busses everywhere are really loud. But overall I think we´ve both really enjoyed Buenos Aires. We go back to Santiago tonight. It´ll be fun to see Daddy and talk about Buenos Aires and our perceptions of it, as he really adores this city.

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