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Buenos Aires does things differently.

We loved our time in Buenos Aires (BA). After 10 days it was beginning to feel like home. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that we didn’t want to leave – because that was not true – but we were very comfortable and adjusting to our space and the city.

All of our Buenos Aires photos are in the Argentina photo section.

Enjoying a beautiful day at the racetrack in Buenos Aires.

We had to leave though.  And as we were flying to Puerto Iguazu we wondered to each other out loud if we had actually done enough. We didn’t go to any museums. We didn’t see a tango show. We never made it to Tigre. These are all things that at some point someone said we could not miss. And somehow we did. Whatever. We kept talking and then we found ourselves laughing about some of the stuff we did do. Late night dining, riding the buses, the zoo, etc.. Not necessarily the top 10 on Trip Advisor, but it gave us a feel for the city that maybe most wouldn’t have gotten if they had crossed off all the “must-do’s”.

 

From that impromptu pep talk on how we hadn’t wasted 10 days in this city we thought – “huh, you know what….things are done differently down here…in a good and not so good way…” But – mostly funny.

Buenos Aires Zoo

Lindsay and the llamas at Buenos Aires Zoo.

My god, the zoo. Don’t ask me why we went. OK, I will tell you anyways. Lindsay. She gets ants in her pants. She is non-stop moving around, cleaning, asking what I want to do, investigating. Non-stop. When she is not sleeping she is moving in some way shape or form. Me…not so much. It’s difficult for her to just burn a day doing nothing. The zoo was right around the corner from our place, we both love animals and we had beautiful weather. Lindsay proclaimed, “I want to go to the zoo!” And so we went.Entry to the park is $15 per person and much, much less if you are a resident.  I have no idea where the $30 we spent to enter is going. This place was so sad. If someone told me that it had been forgotten about for five years and then reopened the morning we went I would have said “ahhhhhhh….yep, I get it now…”

Really – the place was better suited for Fright Fest than it was an operational zoo. Buildings were closed down, cages and living quarters for the animals were unkept and visitors could feed whatever animal they wanted. Were people feeding the seal lions fish? Yes. How about dog food to the grizzly bears? You are damn right there were. Children hand feeding elephants? F yeah! A mom helping her young son take a pee on the condor cage? Yes sir. Wait…what?  Haha. That isn’t exactly feeding the animals, but that’s what was happening. We approached the big cage to read the info on the bird and no more than a few feet away was a kid peeing on the cage while his mom held his ding dong for him. This was one of the more ‘WTF?’ moments in my life. There are bathrooms everywhere.

Welcome to the Buenos Aires Zoo Department of Education! Not operational…

The bird cages in desperate need of repair.

Lindsay hand-feeding some wild jack rabbits or something. These guys are running around the entire place.

Long story short it was the weirdest, saddest, awesomest zoo experience I had. 30 years ago when the park was opened and was last cleaned this had to be a top-tier zoo. They had a ton of animals ..just I guess no one to take care of them?

Boca Juniors Soccer

Boca Juniors vs Nueva Chicago in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This was one of the can’t miss suggestions that we did not want to miss. We were told that it was tough to get tickets but had chalked that up to demand more than anything else. We will go online to Stubhub and grab a few tickets and be on our way.  Not so much.There isn’t Stubhub down here or really anything similar for soccer games at Boca Juniors home stadium because their entire stadium is season tickets. Not a single ticket is sold to someone who is not a season ticket holder. There is a seven year waiting list to become a season ticket holder. So because of this you need to either no someone who is a season ticket holder, know someone who knows someone or do like we did and go through a “tour” group.

Once we came to the conclusion we bought the tickets (very expensive, $190/each) and started to get pumped up about the game. Then we got the email from our tour group on some information regarding game day. That is when we learned the following:

  • you cannot drink alcohol in the stadium or within 500 ft
  • you cannot sell alcohol on game day within 1 mile of the stadium
  • opposing teams fans are strictly prohibited from entering the stadium
  • DO NOT wear white and red, the colors of Boca’s arch-rival, River Plate
  • men and women will be separated at the entrance gate and frisked by a police officer
  • if anything happens with the police regarding your ticket or entry to the stadium let the guide handle it
Turns out that in the past fans were getting too drunk and fighting and murdering people from the opposing side so they had to start regulating alcohol consumption and allowing other team’s fans into the stadium. Yikes.

The streets are jammed with people trying to get into the famous La Bombonera.

Both sides of the stadium are filled with the craziest fans. We sat in the middle. When we arrived, which was 45 minutes before the start, every seat in the “fanatics” section was already filled and they were singing.

To discourage fans from climbing the fence and getting onto the field the entire stadium perimeter lined with these spikes onto of the fence.

And just in case someone did make it past the spikes there are plenty of police in riot gear ready to take them on. Oh, and they have cheerleaders too.

This guys was very upset that Boca didn’t score or something. But these are the reactions from every single play. Turnover, no foul called, a foul called – doesn’t matter – everyone is very dramatic.

The other side of the La Bombonera. This side had a band and not once did they stop playing and singing.

The bark was much louder than the bite though. There was no problems getting into the stadium- and while the fans are insane (non-stop playing music, singing, chanting and going crazy for 2hrs) I never once felt unsafe. The game quite boring though – 0-0 tie with no red cards – so maybe if there was more action people would have been crazier. Even with the tame (for their standards) crowd this was one of the more memorable things we did not only in BA but in all of South America.I might catch some flack for this comment — but the actual game was boring and I wasn’t impressed with the product on the field. No goals, no red cards – no nothing really. The most impressive part were the fans. The teams didn’t appear to actually be very good at soccer and Boca is the best team in their league.

Dinner is late, you will miss Spanish lessons

“Hi, we’re here for our uncomfortably early 8:30pm dinner reservation…”

Back in Chicago dinner for us is typically around 7pm. Eat dinner, relax, watch a movie and we could be in bed by 10pm. On the weekends we might push everything back an hour or so and add on a few bars after dinner – maybe.  Here in BA dinner doesn’t start, regardless of the day of the week, until 8:30pm. Restaurants, unless they are in an international hotel, don’t open their doors until that time.Most of our reservations of course were at 8:30pm. And we were the only ones in the place. The main crowd doesn’t arrive until almost 10pm. Two of our three closed-door experiences didn’t end until after midnight – and that was the dinner portion.

The night that we went out (which was a Wednesday) we didn’t get home until 5am. We were watching a live rock band at 4 in the morning on a Thursday, and the place was packed. Apparently these people go to work the next day. I have no idea how they pull that off because we were supposed to have Spanish lessons at 9am that morning and had to send an email when we got home (trying) to explain we wouldn’t make it. Because I was a few beers in when I sent the email I actually forgot to press the “send” button. Thankfully Lindsay woke up somehow a few hours later, checked to see if we had a response and realized it didn’t go out.

I forgot was this is, but it’s fancy and pretty much all of the food came out played beautifully at Casa Coupage.

OK. Beautiful food? Check. Beautiful decor and dining? Check. We’re really starting to like Casa Coupage…

Enough wine to give us the courage to start talking to people from other tables? Check.

A rock band at 4 in the morning? Check.

And the result…a selfie you don’t recall taking with the people you met at the restaurant.

Pedestrians are second…or third

When the locals and travelers both have multiple stories about almost getting hit by cars and buses you know you better look both ways before crossing.  I can’t recall how many times people have told us that pedestrians do not have the right away, but it’s still difficult coming from Chicago where it’s really quite the opposite. But they are correct, cars will hit you. They will not stop. They will honk. They will just barely miss you. Most of the time I bet that they didn’t even see you.To make it even more difficult there are not a lot of street signs and walk/don’t walk signs to help you along. You’re on your own. In BA it was easier because of the popularity of one-way streets, but some of the larger avenues and intersections were complete cluster fucks. We found ourselves jogging across those intersections vs a casual stroll.

The view of the street, kind of related to pedestrians… from our apartment. We had a nice balcony.

I know, nothing to do with pedestrians but I couldn’t find a picture to demonstrate it so I thought I would show you one of our famous selfies having a broke ass meal in our apartment.

Love & appreciation for the public parks

One of our favorite memories of this city is the parks. We spent a lot of our time here, be it for a morning jog or just to get some fresh air and enjoy the day. It was really hard not to.

A beautiful rose garden in the middle of one of the parks. We spent an entire afternoon here reading our Spanish workbooks!

We would watch people have picnics, run around, jog, bike, roller-blade – you name it – they were doing it. We were inspired. So we said ..you know what, we’re going to really take advantage of the park too by completing a little exercise routine near one of the lakes in the grass. Yeah! Live like a local!  I decided to “pop off” and get some color (ie..take my shirt off and try to get a tan). It was a beautiful day. All was going well until our walk home. Lindsay was walking just a little bit behind me and was constantly getting a whiff of fresh dog pile. I fricken knew it when she couldn’t locate it on her shoes. It was on me. On my back, on my boxers, on my shorts. That gross-ass green/yellow stinky smear all over me.

But I digress …back to the parks and how people use them. EVERYONE is outside enjoying the parks, especially on Saturday and Sunday. I know this may seem like no big deal, that’s what people do in the States, but it felt different. For example, even the elderly were outside living it up. I have never seen more old men with short shorts and no shirt in one place.  On more than one occasion we witnessed a game of shirts/skins roller hockey where the average age had to be no less than 60yrs old.  Seriously lots of people, young and old, getting a good use of public park and some good old fashioned exercise.

After one of our runs in the park.

The “track” in the park filled with runners, wakers, rollerbladers.  ***This was a random pic we took – I count 3 “old” men with no shirts.***

 

 

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