Luckily the lost piece of paper was not a big deal, and we made it to Buenos Aires with no problems. Woot! We´re staying in a pretty nice hotel in the middle of town. We arrived tuesday afternoon, and after checking in we walked around Lavalle and Florida, 2 pedestrian streets with lots of food and shopping. After dinner (biffe de chorizo and fries, of course, it was fabulous meat and cost about $8) we checked out the shopping center nearby, looked at several very beautiful pairs of shoes, then went back to the hotel to crash.
Wednesday we took a city tour that was part of our hotel package. It lasted 3 hours and we got to see a lot of the city, and got to make mental notes of where to go back to. We´d set up to go to a tango show that night, so after a bit more shopping (Marcy needed shoes b/c I decided to "pack light"... HORRIBLE idea) we got back to the hotel, got all dolled up, and waited to get picked up at 7:30 (they pick you up for the shows b/c the taxis here can be kinda shady, and the part of town the shows are at can also be dangerous... the tourguide made a big deal about NOT going down there at night, unless for an organized show). At Daddy´s suggestion we went to see El Viejo Almacen, which is supposed to be a very traditional tango show. We got dinner first, which was awesome, then watched the show, which included tons of dancing but also the band playing some fun tango music (during costume changes) and these guys playing traditional Argentinian music, like with the cool flutes and everything. I took some videos with my digital camera, I can´t wait to get back and upload them. The dancing was amazing. We´re debating going to see another show, maybe something more modern for comparison.
Today we slept in a bit, then after breakfast we hopped on the metro to go out to the Recoleta to see the Jardin Botanico and the Jardin Japones. The botanical gardens were cool, but what made it really awqesome was how many CATS appear to inhabit the gardens! We walked in and Zach spotted a couple of cats lying on the grass, and we thought "oh cool!" and then moved on. At another spot we looked around and spotted another cat... then another... then 2 more under a tree... and suddenly you realized that there were 10 cats just in that one area. All in all, I think there might be 100-200 cats living in the gardens, it was crazy. But even better than that, many of the cats were so docile and sweet, they´d regularly go up to people, rub up against them, even climb onto their laps! We saw several people with cats nestled up on them, then we sat down and had about 4-5 different cats come up to us to say hello. It was awesome. It´s funny, b/c Santiago is overrun with stray dogs. Here we haven´t seen any stray dogs (though we´ve seen several dog walkers with up to 10 dogs at one time), but here´s this one park that apparently is home to all the stray cats in BA.
After checking out those gardens we went to the Zoo, which was another crazy experience. On the one hand, some of the zoos here in these "less developed" countries can be kinda sad... both here and in Santiago the pens were on the small side, and some of the animals looked less than perfectly healthy. However, at this zoo they let you feed the animals. As in, they sold bags of animal food, and designated which animals you could feed it to. So we got to hand-feed goats, deer, camels, llamas, alpacas, monkeys, etc. I know it´s probably not how you´re supposed to take care of animals... but it was pretty fun. The monkeys were the best-- I think they were actually some sort of baboon, and they were in a cage and the big ones learned how to bang on the cage and point to the little trough down which you put the food. But one of the monkeys learned how to climb up the side of the cage and extend his hand so he could catch food pellets that were thrown at him. I actually got a video of him catching the food and eating it. It was incredible. Zach said this was one of his favorite zoo experiences ever.
So now we´re here catching up on internet stuff, and apparently there´s a band playing out in the streets behind us. Tonight we´re debating doing down to Puerto Madero for a nice dinner, or staying closer in and going to El Palacio de las Papas Fritas, which Daddy highly recommended. =P We´ll see. It´s crazy how cheap most of the food here is. On the tour the guide pointed out the most expensive restaurant in BA, down in Puerto Madero, and a full meal comes out to be US$50 per person. You can get a full meal here, and a good one at that, for less than US$10. There´s tons of leather goods here that also are at amazing prices... However even "cheap" they´re still pricey. I found some grey suede boots that I think I´m falling in love with, but they´re $285 Arg pesos, which comes out to about US$90 I think... I´m debating biting the bullet and getting them. We´ll see, I´ll give myself till tomorrow to think it over.