Buenos Aires, the “New York” of South America. The biggest city in the biggest South American country outside of Brazil, Buenos Aires is a business and tourist hub on the east side of Argentina. Argentina is a huge country, in fact much bigger than I think people realize as evidence by the photo below.
Much of the population is of course centered around Buenos Aries where many places in the southern, central and northern part of the country are sparsely populated. Outside of Buenos Aires and the southern region known as Patagonia, I didn’t really know much about the country before I visited but I was lucky enough to spend ten weeks here based in two different cities. Very quickly I realized two things were king in Buenos Aries, steak and red wine, particularly Malbec. There are steakhouses on every corner and wine so good and so cheap it was almost a sin not to drink it. These two things were of course fine with me as I love red meat and am trying to learn to enjoy red wine a bit more.
This month, our seventh total and first in South America, all fifty of us lived in the same building. We were housed in a former hotel turned studio apartments so we all got our own space which was nice. It was a great month for us to bond as a group as we are now on the second half of our trip and we wanted to spend time with people we might not have spent enough with during the first six months of the trip. In the building was a nice foyer on the bottom floor where people could work, play cards or have some drinks. There was also rooftop patio where we could also do more of the same. Because of this, everyone hung out as a group a lot more and it definitely made our Balboa group stronger because of it. There were plenty of times were 30-40 of us were hanging out on the rooftop patio and we had so much fun we didn’t even feel a need to go out that night. This was definitely a good month for camaraderie and it really set us up for our six month journey through South America.
We stayed in the Palermo neighborhood in Buenos Aires (BA) and people say its similar to SOHO in New York. The entire city is so massive that we spent most of our time in this neighborhood which was still bigger than many of the downtown areas we have stayed in. Palermo had great food and cocktail bars, speakeasys and street art. It was an eclectic neighborhood that I really enjoyed as I could walk by some really cool street art on one corner and dine in an old school white tablecloth steakhouse on the next. Everything was really walkable from our apartment so it was easy to go out and get food or a drink. Since BA is such a diverse city there were many places that made us feel like we were at home. One such place, Chicken Bros, is owned by two Americans and they serve buffalo wings, Budweiser and play American Football on their TVs. After having none of these things in Europe (which was fine), it was nice to get a taste of home and we frequented places like this. Its funny what you miss from back home but once college football season comes around I sure do miss watching the games with some hot buffalo wings and a cold Budweiser. They also had egg Benedict for brunch on weekends so it was really a win win.
Buenos Aries was an exciting month for me because my mom and step dad were coming to visit. Neither of them had been to South America so I was excited to show them how travel-savvy I had become. Now the Spanish language down here almost seems like a completely different language to that of Spain because of the many different pronunciations. Through this, I was still able to show off some of my skills as we maneuvered through dinners. It was funny to see them both a bit outside their comfort zone as now they could relate to me when I was living in places very different than my own, such as Serbia or Bulgaria. Like any good parents, they made sure to treat my friends and I to some good meals which was always welcome. They were here for a week and we had a great time exploring the local market, bar hopping around different hotels and enjoying an authentic tango show. The tango show was something I had never seen before as the dancers moved their feet so quick and so fluidly. It definitely blew me away and would recommend it to anyone. We also did a day trip over to Uruguay to visit the quaint town of Colonia. It was a nice little town right on the water that served as a great way to get out of the city for a day. It was definitely a joy to have my parents visit as it is really hard to describe Remote Year – the community, the accommodations, the day to day, the events, etc over the phone. I think they both got a much better understanding of my past six months through this trip
Buenos Aires was a great start to our South America lag. It felt more like a modern European or American city, the food was great, the area was walkable and the group became closer. It is certainly a big enough city where I’d love to go back and visit again sometime in the future. Even though I’m leaving BA, I’m not done with Argentina. Córdoba, you’re next.