... or so the Portenos like to think :)
On October 2nd, LADE managed to get us transferred to an Aerolineas Argentinas flight, and we made it to Buenos Aires by 2pm. We checked into a shithole of a hotel (that's the risk of booking online I guess, they don't tend to mention the damp in the walls, the spongy matresses or the cockroaches in the fridge). At least it was cheap, and as it was a bit out of town, the area was really cheap as well, for food and the like, which is a great advantage as Buenos Aires as such really isn't very cheap at all.
On the 3rd, we went out to the Indian embassy here in Buenos Aires, to drop off our passports for visas to India. They said it would take till Tuesday to get them done. We then went for a long walk all around Buenos Aires, taking in the colonial buildings and wide boulevards (the city really does look like Madrid, although a run down Madrid).
Also adding to the feel of the place, is the fact that Buenos Aires is dotted with cool murals and graffitti.
We went to the Recoleta area to see a huge mechanical flower-statue there, which opens in the day and closes its leaves at night. Very cool, never seen anything quite like it.
Then we went to the Recoleta cemetery, where the rich and the famous used to bury their families. It is not really like a cemetery as I picture it, but more like a collection of crypts, some of them huge and extremely decorated and fancy. We sat around and ate strawberries while watching the tour groups. We saw (of course) Evita's grave there.
October 4th, we went shopping. A lot of our clothes are old and worn out by now, so we got some bits to renew our wardrobes. First we went to the pedestrian street of Florida, which is modern and European - and priced like it as well.
Most of the stuff we bought, we found on much cheaper Pueyrredon in the Once area, which is lined with clothing shops selling non-branded clothing. On our walk from one area to another, we came across some sort of demonstration - they are common here, and add to the feeling of Buenos Aires.
On the 5th there was a huge thunderstorm here, the streets flooded and some of the subway lines were closed. We stayed in our area and tried to stay dry.
October 6th, Jay and Milena came into town. All the hotels were full for the weekend, so they crashed in our damp cell of a room. We all went to a feria in the glitzy Recoleta area, which was lovely, as the sun was shining today, and drying all the water from the day before. Stalls selling handicrafts, jewellery, wallets, bags etc.
On October 7th, we went to another feria - this time the weekly antiques fair in San Telmo. Lovely area, with old buildings and cobbled streets.
The stalls sold all sorts of stuff (mostly weird junk). They sold costume jewellery, old siphon bottles, boxes and jars, hats and fur coats - and even old antique syringes (?).
It was another nice day out in Buenos Aires, and various street performers added to the colour and noise of the place - tango dancers, living statues, and even a samba parade.
October 8th, we sorted out some tickets for the bus to Villa General Belgrano, for the Oktoberfest. Also booked a hotel there, at an extortionate price, but everything else was full. Found a cabin which all four of us could share. Jay and Milena went back to her house outside of Bs As, and we went to visit passage called Bond Street, which Milena had mentioned. It is a shopping mall, full of tattoo parlours and shops selling goth and alternative clothing. Cool place. Alan booked an appointment for the next day, to get the mess that the tattoo guy in Mexico city had made.
On October 9th, we went back to Bond Street, and Alan did a sitting of three hours. The guy fixed the lotus and the other flower up, in colour (!), and they came out great. Al made another appointment for next week after the Oktoberfest, to get the rest touched up.
On the 10th, we checked out of the hotel, hung around town and then caught the night bus to Villa General Belgrano.