Today was a coach tour of some of the highlights of the fascinating “Paris of South America”, the city of Buenos Aires. With Paris colonial architecture and wide boulevards, the city is clean, tree-lined and inviting. Today was bright sunshine warming a town yearning for spring and summer. The bright pink blossoms in the main boulevard are suggesting that this is so.
We board the coach at a reasonable hour and make our way towards what is a famous graveyard. You may wonder, “why a tour of a graveyard?” You can ask. And to answer that question, make a trip to Buenos Aires to find out the reason and the stories behind why the history is worth knowing. And aside, if you have over $300,000, you can be the proud owner of a tomb for all your relatives to be next to you at your final resting place. By the way, you have to be rich AND famous.
The Plaza Mayo is, for sure, the people’s square with the Cathedral of Buenos Aires at one end and the Casa Rosada, or Presidential Palace, down the other. This area is so ‘public’ that pick-pockets operate without notice until what you own has gone. We found out very quickly as one of our group had her wallet snatched from her bag, probably while lifting her camera with two hands. Our fantastic Tour Director, did a search of the rubbish bins and found the purse at the fourth rubbish bin, but with a large sum of cash missing. At least the credit cards and other information was still there. I think security has been increased.
We took a walk around the colourful district of La Boca for a private display of Tango dancing. This is an old house that an Italian couple have kept for years and use it to do their artwork as well as allow tourists to try the well-known Tango. Just along from there is the colourful Caminito Street, where even the local folk from Buenos Aires come to, for a meal while Tango dancers entertain, or to just wander the streets viewing the art works or handcrafts.
After lunch in a typical Italian Restaurant in a Spanish community, we were given a free afternoon. Man, that 2 and a half hours of sleep went quickly! But how needed it was both for the past lack of sleep and for the night’s entertainment to come.
Our selection of an “Exclusive Gala Tango Show and Dinner” was worth waiting for. Argentinian restaurants don’t open until 8 or later and our evening got started around then. While waiting for the meal, some of our group were given one-on-one Tango lessons by some of the dancers who performed after the dinner. Then came the real thing. For the next 2 hours or so, we were entertained by some excellent Tango dancing and a fabulous Tango band. There was some great Spanish singing and a top-notch ukulele player. A couple of guys did some hard-hitting drumming and, well if I say poi twirling like the Maoris do, I would be wrong but may be what describes their act. Very good acts.
Late though it was, we all had a good evening, although on our return, one of our group had his mobile phone stolen or lost, either at the restaurant or getting in and out of the bus or by some ‘extra’ person that squeezed into the lift with them. Who knows?
When I turned on my phone on my return, a sad message arrived letting me know that my sister, Margaret had passed away after a long battle with throat cancer. I was aware and expecting that she would find her resting place while I was away. She had fought hard but not overcome this, now common reason that many don’t see the 3 score years and 10.