What Buenos Aires is like? It´s difficult to describe because to me it seems to be a city of contrasts. Sunny and 37 degrees one week, 19 degrees and rainstorms the next, the newest mini cooper showroom, with homeless people sleeping in front of it, heavy traffic that exhausts horrible fumes, but also lots and lots of trees and parks.
My feelings in the 10 days I was there mirrored these contrast: loving it the first day, hating it the days after
because it was too hot and dirty, back to liking it after having drinks with E., a Scottish girl I had met in Mendoza, loving it again on our last day.
Mad and I did some of the standard touristic things: we went to the cemetery where Evita is burried (we couldn´t find her grave and had to ask four different people, it´s in a tiny alley and doesn´t stand out in any way). We also went to a Boca Juniors soccer game, a great experience but highly overpriced. We glanced at some monuments and museums from a distance, but most of our time was spent in shops, cafés and restaurants. But apparently that´s exactly the thing to do in Buenos Aires, so we don´t feel bad about it at all.
At night we went out for dinners and drinks, once with a bunch of international girls, friends from Scottish E., but we also went to a very nice bar with two (also very nice) Argentinian guys. Maartje (my Almelo friend in Sydney) had put me in touch with R., who she met in Sydney when he was studying there. He was happy to meet up with us and take us out. Apart from being good company, R. and his friend T. picked us up from our hostel, held open doors, ordered food, paid, and drove us back again as well. And yes, I do intend for Dutch guys to read this and learn something from it!
In general, we had the best times when we did things that were not in our guidebooks, like finding a fishermen´s pier with only locals (who were there to fish, sursprisingly), and a great view of both the river and the city skyline.
There´s not much of a culture shock, Argentina is very European and it´s easy to figure out how things work. This is very relaxing but it also makes it harder to appreciate the fact that we are so far away from home. Then again, all I need to do is look at the Dutch
weather forecast and then I know that it really is a different world!
One thing I did notice however was that Argentinians love to make out in public. There are couples passionately kissing each other everywhere: in the park, at restaurants, on the pavement right in front of a café terrace, in packed bars on ordinary Tuesday nights.. They don´t care and the people around them don´t seem to either.
I wonder, might this be one of those things where ´When in Rome…..´?