It took us a while to get used to the warm air and big-city vibe of Buenos Aires, after our few weeks trekking in Patagonia. But we had no time to spare: we would be flying off for New Zealand in only 2 days!
We spent our first afternoon wandering around the neighbourhood of our hostel at Congresso (Parliament). Protest marches held by syndicates in the public sector passed through here daily, animating the square with the sound of songs and drums, and educating us on the degree of political involvement of the country’s citizens and what a march should look like!
We got another dose of ‘politization’ at leftist bar ‘El Revolucionario’, where we shared a drink and plate of chips, admiring all the historical and cultural references of our surroundings.
That evening we headed straight out again, determined to maximize the little time we had in BA! A local holidaying in Ushuaia a few days ago had recommended to Renaud a live event at the Konex, and so we went. The Konex is a reconverted factory, a perfect mix of colourful and industrial, of modern and delapidated!
A few beers in, we hit it off with a solo Argentinian, Ignacio (‘Nacho’), a student in medicine who aimed to soon live and work in Europe. He met up with a bunch of other friends, and we tagged along: bubbly Clara, from France, studying architecture in BA, and working with Romina.
The show started soon after: the ‘Bomba del Tiempo’ (Time Bomb), a large orchestra of drummers, headed by an actual ‘maestro’. Together they would improvise new beats and solos and swap roles, making for a unique, explosive show!
When the show was over, the party continued in the street, where we joined a procession of hundreds of young, inebriated music-lovers to a neighbouring club where the band would be playing again later on. We were really in the right place at the right time with the right people! The club was packed, and we got our ‘encore’, along with a good dose of raggaeton and cumbia.
It turns out Clara was also leaving in 2 days to travel around South-America, and she generously invited us to her ‘despedida’ (farewell), the following night.
The next day was spent nursing our hangovers, enjoying the rooftop terrace and getting to work on our blog! Clara’s despedida was right across town, but fortunately the efficient Buenos Aires transport system got us there in no time. On the menu tonight: a ‘parilla’ (or ‘pariCHa’ as the Argentinians would say), a barbecue of top-grade Argentinian meat! We couldn’t have left Argentina without getting a taste of this. For sure, they know their meat! Renaud was in heaven, putting all his concentration into the succulent food, and sometimes joining in our conversations with Clara’s French and Argentinian friends. We mainly chatted to Clara about her readiness for her big trip (or lack thereof), to Nacho about music, and his alternative lifestyle choices (3 years and counting to become a vegetarian, and ‘CHoga’ – or Yoga!), and to Romina about her trip to Europe in a month from now. The night ended not too late, as some of us were still tired from the previous night, and others had to work tomorrow (or both)!
Bonne chance Clara sur ton adventure et merci et a toi et tes fabuleux amis pour une super soiree!
The next day, our last in South America, was spent taking in a few of the limited day-time attractions the city has to offer: the Cemetary that looks like a village of mosoleums, the Floralis Generica, a swanky metallic structure that follows the sun throughout the day, and my highlight, tango dancing on the plaza in San Telmo.
We also couldn’t leave Argentina without having seen a bit of tango, with its contagious emotion and impressive foot-work. No two songs sound the same, no two steps look the same!
It was finally time to get on the 2-hour bus to the airport, and say goodbye to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and South America. A big page in our travels would be turning, at almost the halfway-point in our trip: no more unpredictable buses, heavy backpacks and dirty hostels. But also no more speaking Spanish, no more sincere encounters, and ‘perritos’ (friendly street dogs), no more easy-going lifestyle, amazing food and cultural eye-openers. So it was with heavy hearts, but also great excitement, that we boarded our plane destined for Auckland.
Farewell South America, and all the people we’ve met, we hope to return again soon – Hasta pronto!