The country is very large and for the most part Serena and I only saw a small portion of it. Even though we took a 12 hour bus ride across the country it was mostly through the evening so there wasn't much to see. What I did notice is that once you get out of Buenos Aires there are vast tracts of land with no people. Looking quite a bit like ranch land it is a wide flat prairie. Passed a large GM and Ford facility and was surprised to see hundreds of finished cars just sitting in the field around the plant. Argentina is surrounded by Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil. Well over half our time was spent in Buenos Aires which is located in the middle of the country along the eastern shore. The rest of our time we were in Salta and the surrounding region in the Northwest of the country. The people I met in Argentina are very proud and nationalistic. Like a few places I've been to there is this strange contrast between conservative religious beliefs and overt sexism.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip...
This was over the US, a large storm was forming in the east which required our pilot to take a long, roundabout flight that made us late for our connecting flight out of Atlanta.
Because of that we were forced to take a flight to Santiago, Chile and then catch a flight from there to Buenos Aires. On the plus side we did get a spectacular view of the Andes Mountains.
This is the clock tower in Plaza San Martin. A lot of activity here as there are memorials, parks, the train and bus station and many hotels.
Close to the clock tower a large outdoor screen was set up for watching World Cup games. This place would fill-up fast and during the day people would bring their lunches and picnic while watching the game. There was also a large tent set-up nearby with an amazing display on prior World Cup events, games and a live tv and radio shows.
Also in the San Martin Plaza is this memorial to the fallen soldiers of the battle at Isla Malvinas or as it is better and officially known the Falkland Islands. They are always two guards posted and for the most part they stood at attention while visitors walked through. Though now and then I would catch them taking glances at the World Cup game on the large screen that was just off from the memorial.
This is the Caeser Park Silver Obeliska. A great landmark for us as our hotel was only two or three blocks away. Buenos Aires is mostly a grid but there are a few diagonal streets that cross the city and many of them converge here.
A mix of old and new architecture.
This museum is on the Plaza de Mayo opposite the Casa Rosada which would be the equivalent of the US White House. The museum was interesting not so much for the artifacts but the building itself had been a fort, prison and church and different times.
The Casa Rosada.
The Monument de Los Espanoles. Its real name is “Magna Carta and the Four Argentine Regions”, but everybody knows it as “El monumento de los Españoles” (The Monument to the Spaniards). It was donated in 1910 by the Spanish community for the centenary of the May Revolution. The monument is centered between two major boulevards in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires.
One of the major boulevards. 10 lanes on one way traffic.
There is a large mausoleum between upscale Recoleta and trendy Palermo. You can enter for free but a man at the gate was asking for donations. He seemed genuine enough but sure was slick. He opened his folder where he was stashing the donations to large US dollar denominations, we gave him local pesos instead, the Argentine currency. Here are some of the graves.
The tomb of Eva Peron.
The mausoleum is filled with cats. They are sort of hidden at first and are very cautious of visitors but if you keep your eye open they start appearing.
I don't know what kind of tree this is but was fascinated that the effort was made to hold it's heavy branches up with these crutches.
Japanese Gardens in Buenos Aires. Not really the culture I thought I was going to be exploring but the gardens were so amazing I had to share the photos. This was in the Palermo district. You had to pay to enter.
Carp pond in the Japanese garden.
Flowers from the gardens.
I have no clue of the importance of this building I simply thought the architecture was grand.
Went on a river tour and saw how the wealthy people lived. There isn't a real good road system here so having a boat is necessary for transportation.
This gentleman almost got side-swiped by our tour boat while he was enjoying his day out on the water.
This house is encased in glass for preservation. It was the home of a former president.
There were quite a few derelict boats rotting in the water as we got closer to our port.
Back on dry land we enjoyed a stroll through a very peaceful park. Filled with many exotic plants and trees this park is also home to very friendly...
Cats. Funny if you are in the mausoleum or a few of the park wild cats roam around. If you are in the city you will find homeless dogs just meandering about. The dogs are very friendly though, the good demeanor is an excellent way to get scraps of food I suppose. Two great dog stories. First we followed a dog through the market district down to the train station. You couldn't ask for a better guide, he would stop at every intersection and look both ways before he crossed the streets as well as being mindful of traffic lights. The other dog was more fun, he would watch for cars on a busy road and then chase them for about 30 yards barking at the wheels. Then he would turn around and head back down the sidewalk and start all over again.
One of my favorite statues at the park. The figures are sculpted as to be partying, drunk and general debauchery.
This is the beginning of one of the four streets for pedestrians only in the Micro Centro district of Buenos Aires. It is filled with shops and restaurants on the sides and kiosks and sellers with their wares on blankets in the center. You cannot go 50 feet without some person handing you a coupon or discount for their restaurant or store. After some time you learn to ignore them. This is also the place where a prostitute tried to pick me up while I waited for my wife. A local artist selling paintings finally intervened as I was having difficulty getting rid of her.
The last night in Buenos Aires was the tango show. Equally amazing as the dancers was the live band you can see perched just about the stage. Again sorry for the blurry images but no flashes were allowed in the theater.
Next up will be the final report of the northwest Salta region. Here you will see some of the most beautiful landscapes and more rustic lifestyle.