A Travellerspoint blog

Ten Days in Buenos Aires...

...and a whole lot more to go!

sunny 66 °F

We have finally settled into Buenos Aires, like we had always hoped to, but it wasn't easy at first. We got a bit caught up in a day-to-day travel planning mode in Peru, so when it came down to book an apartment in Buenos Aires, well we were a bit late. To make matters worse, Argentinians work on their own clock, meaning they check their email whenever they feel like it and if they successfully rent something, great, if not, that is fine too. So to make a long story short, we started looking for apartments in Arequipa, 3 days before we arrived in Buenos Aires and on a Friday. Not a good call. We booked a place, or so we thought. We arrived in Buenos Aires on a Saturday and realized no business was done on the weekend, or at least with the company we booked with, so we found a not so inexpensive hostel to stay in for the night. It was a cool place, right downtown (where they call microcenter) in an old sky scraper type building that seemed to be built in the 20s, and the heating was never quite improved. We made ourselves comfortable in our small room and hoped to get in touch with our agent, Maria, the next day to see the apartment. Well, that didn't happen because of all the days of the week, Sunday is the least worked day, in fact no one wakes up until the days half way done (which we have come to love). So we scramble to find a new place, because we find that our room is not available for a second night and the only other option is a 6 bed dorm, split for men and women. Needless to say we moved on and we're glad we did. We found a place on Hostel World for the same, or maybe a bit cheaper and decided to go there. First, we decided to enjoy the area a bit since we were right next to this huge pedestrian walkway with shops, food, cafes, etc. We left our bags at the hostel and went out to find a cafe and maybe a steak or two. (oh i forgot to mention that our first night we were pulled into a restaurant for dinner that promoted their steak like a Broadway show. In bright lights it said Steak, Steak, Steak with men out front in full grill outfits promoting the restaurant. We knew it was touristy, but the price was right and the food looked good. We ended up ordering a, litteral, pile of meat for 2. It had Chorizo, Mochilla (blood sausage), Two cuts of beef and chicken stacked high. We paid about $12 for the meal. Crazy good too.) Anyway, the next day we wandered back to that pedestrian street and came across a $7 peso (about$2) steak place, where we both ordered a beef sandwich from the grill stacked with every kind of meat you can think of. We stood while we ate it and ordered a third Chorizo sandwich, which was equally as good. Mmm all the meat here is just like they say it is, fresh, healthy portions, and GOOD! Our arteries hate this. :) We moved on after that to check into our next hostel 13 blocks away in another barrio called San Telmo. San Telmo was a bit more seedy, there were definitely prositutes on the corner of our building one night, but the hostel was a diamond in the rough. We walked in not knowing what to expect, but it was great. The owner, a young Aussie with a big smile greeted us at the door. She gave us the layout of the town, answered all of our questions and then some and led us to our room. There were young English speakers all over the place and she informed us that movie night had just begun downstairs in the bar. We decided to enjoy movies in our room alone that night and catch a nap before dinner, around 10pm. Ya, everything is a bit later here. We saw a menu on the front desk for a small Parilla (grill) three doors down and she told us it was the best. We made our way down there for dinner and I ordered the "Super Beef" a 400gr steak for $5, including a heap of grilled veggies and DAMN it was fantastic. At that moment we knew, we were in heaven. The fact that you could walk down any street and come across a place like this, and pay that much, for that quality of food, ahhh couldn't get much better. Anyway, enough about the food. We went the whole day without any contact from Maria, so we decided to look on Craigslist and other sites and do our best to make something happen. The next few days were spent waking up, checking emails and contacting people for apartments with little to no luck. Either the places had been taken, or weren't available for a few days/weeks. We did get to see a place or two, but were unimpressed. So, each day we would check out of the hostel, fail on our apartment mission, and check back in. Eventually, we were left to share a 6 person dorm with one other girl, since nothing else was available, but it worked out ok. My birthday came quick and we still hadnt found our place, but, I wasn't going to let that get me down. We ended up booking the Monday night pub crawl, since it was free for me, and it would give us a good idea of the weekday night life. We met the pub crawl crew at an inconspicuous bar in the basement of a restaurant around 10:30pm, and made the best of the all-you-can-drink-and-eat hour. We met a group from Brazil that became fast friends. The guys were crazy and the girls sweet/ with a touch of crazy. One of the guys was waiting for a call from his family since his sister was giving birth any minute. Once he got the call we were all congratulating him and singing in Spanish, it was quite the event for him. The whole night we were cheering on his new little nephew. We went to 4 bars and ended the night at a night club where I am pretty sure I took up smoking without realizing it. I guess they didint get the message that second hand smoke kills :0). Anyway, we made some good friends and of course Josh made fast friends with the guy who started the whole Pub Crawl concept and makes good money doing it. Go figure. He promised us another crawl for free, we'll see about that one. Everyone was wishing me Happy Birthday all night, and even got me on a bar stool to sing for me. Awesome. We had a great time and major hang overs the next day to prove it. We didn't get moving until 2pm the next day and met another disappointing day of apartment hunting, but had lined something up for the next day and were hopeful. That night we had plans to go to dinner with the couple me met in Cuzco, Shanna and Kevin from Seattle, WA. She is Argentinian, so her family gave her a place to take me for my birthday in the Recoleta near the fancy graveyard where Evita is buried. It was a cute street for strolling, tree lined and beautiful. The place she wanted to take me to happened to be under construction, but we found another fancy little place and had way to much to eat and drink and had a fantastic time. We were the last people in there and the wait staff were so pleased that we had spent so much money that they gave us one last round of drinks and a cake for my birthday. It was really sweet.

The day finally came where we knew we would get our apartment. We met with Magalli (great name!) our new agent that afternoon, and she took us to the place. We of course loved it, but one small problema, the guy was still living there and wouldn't be leaving until later that night. At this point we were so desperate to find a place that we begged to be able to stay the night even if it wasnt to be cleaned the next day. They allowed it and thinking back it was a bit weird, but we pulled out our sleeping bags and made the best of it. The place is perfect. Full kitchen, gas powered, heated showers, heater and separate bedroom. We love it. Once it was cleaned the next day, we felt at home. Yay! Now to unwind and finally feel apart of someplace. It's tough unwinding. I often have to tell myself that it's ok to just sit, or sleep in, or do nothing. Weird and foreign concept, right?!

Once that major check mark was in place, we have toured around town, finding that we are in the best area right next to everything. If you walk two blocks up from the building its the main street Santa Fe, with a Zoo and parks galore as you keep walking straight. If you continue east along Santa Fe you run into lots of shopping boutiques, a huge mall, cinema, subway lines, and lots of banks and cafes. If you go south from our building you run into a great part of town with cobblestone streets, really cute boutique shopping, cafes, restaurants, and very European feel to the area. Everyone walks their designer dogs in their designer boots around here and we love to watch it. We came shopping over here the other day and found some great deals. $200 went fast, but far. We stumbbled upon a warehouse sale where numerous designers try to sell off their latest styles and their even more discounted last season stuff. We had a blast buying $10 outfits and $50 boots. We finally wont look the same in every picture we take! :)

I found a park nearby that I run to most mornings. It has a lake and a track surrounding the lake for runners, bikers, and, yes, rollerbladers. I am so going to make Josh rent some with me! It's a great place to run because its fun to watch all of the dog walkers and kids running around. The weather has been great too. Sunny and warm-ish. When we first arrived I thought it was going to snow it was so cold, but thank goodness it feels more like Santa Barbara winter now. Just perfect. There are several museums within walking distance of our house as well. In fact, we are going tomorrow with Kevin and Shanna. Should be fun!

Oh I should also mention our first Saturday night, Buenos Aires locals style. Saturday night we were invited over to Shanna and Kevins house for some drinks and then possibly go out. Her cousin plans to come pick us up and take us out, but first we have a few drinks at their house. We get over there about 10:45pm and her cousin shows up about 12:45. We dont end up leaving the house for the club until 2:30am! That is just how they do it here. He ends up taking us to a huge warehouse where people are lined up down the street, but for $5 each we are in no problem. The music was rave music with the DJs as the center piece of the entire place. Not Josh and my scene, but we are enjoying the experience. We are all kind of looking at each other like, "it's 4am and we are just getting to the club, what?!" It was great, but we didnt last too long and were in bed by 5am. Ya, we werent awake until 12pm the next day.

We have really been enjoying cooking our own breakfasts, lunched and dinners. Buying all our meat, veggies and fruit fresh from the corner store everyday. It's fantastic. We have so many more things on the list to do. We are going to a free Spanish conversation class tomorrow near the house and a tango show next Tuesday with Kevin and Shanna. Then we want to find tango classes and cooking classes for ourselves. There are so many sights to take in and we still need to figure out how to get to Iguazu Falls and other side trips. Although, I don't think we'll leave Buenos Aires any time soon.

If you have questions about anything let me know. I am probably leaving a lot out and would be happy to share more!

Posted by JAM2010 17:03 Archived in Argentina

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