Spinning our Wheels in Buenos Aires.
We have spent one week of spinning our wheels in the delightful city of Buenos Aires but admittedly we are feeling very frustrated with the process of booking flights and organizing the rest of our Argentinean itinerary. We have visited or emailed 4 travel agents, and have not heard back from any of them. Greg followed up with the one that we had put particular hope in and her response was that she would have something for us via email last Tuesday. I guess they are not so hungry for the tourist dollar.
“We Want to Buy Today!”
Today we take our own destiny in our hands and walk downtown to a travel agency that I found on the web. Our time is running out, and we are also trying to make arrangements for our friends Deirdre and Mark from Chicago, who are arriving for 10 days in a week and a half. One of the locals has told us that we must say to anyone doing work for us in Argentina that “we want to buy today!” And this is what we say to Hernan, the very helpful agent at Les Amis Travel. Everything is done within an hour, and we are set to leave for Salta on Monday morning at 6:05 am! Ugh!!
To Patio Bullrich, to Celebrate Success!
We head to Patio Bullrich, a beautiful old building that has been turned into one of the trendiest shopping centres in Buenos Aires, and celebrate success with a delicious lunch. We both choose the same thing: green risotto with arugala. It is delicious, and the beautiful white wine, a cabernet sauvignon/chardonnay from Mendoza, complements it perfectly. We stroll through the area, looking in the windows of the designer shops along Av. Alvear. The imported goods are as expensive as anywhere else, but we are tempted by the domestically manufactured goods, which are a fraction of the cost they would be anywhere else. We manage to fight temptation, at least for today. We are astonished at the number of women we see on the streets here carrying real Vuitton bags. As expensive as they are at home, they represent a huge percentage of the per capita income here in Argentina, where people make much less, and where their incomes have been reduced by 2/3 in foreign currency terms since the economic collapse of 2001.
The Best Beef in Argentina
We have arranged to have dinner tonight with Louis and Fabrice. We choose to go to Cabana Las Lilas, said by many to serve the best beef in Argentina, and many will tell you that Argentinean beef is the best beef in the world. Our reservation is for 10. When we arrive, there is a line out the door, and we wait about 20 minutes for our table. Without any question, the meal is fantastic. The beef is delicious, the wine is delicious, the service is delicious, better than the excellent service we are quickly becoming accustomed to. And the price is less than ½ of what we are used to paying in Europe for an ordinary meal out. There are still people waiting to be seated when we leave, well after midnight.
We head to a club for a drink, but it is too early. So we move to a disco, not too far away. By now it is almost 2, and it is still too early, but it quickly starts to fill up. By 2:30 the place is jammed.
And just as quickly, the smoke becomes impossible to deal with, and we head home, glad for the fresh air as we walk the 1 block to the apartment.