TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2006. BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA. After close to 14 hours of flight time, I have arrived in Buenos Aires. It is five hours ahead of Los Angeles. The city is very European in look and feel. Cars drive on the right hand side. Many business men are wearing suits. Everyone seems to smoke. People line up single file at bus stops. Most of the people in BA look like they have some European blood in them (mainly Spanish and/or Italian). There are very few Asians--I have not seen any other than fellow travellers (I have already been asked if I was from Japan...) BA is famous for steaks and tango. I will certainly get a chance to sample both in the next few days. I am also busily thinking about how to route my travels for the next few months. South America is a big continent and I am inclined to fly where possible. Check back in a few days for photos and further updates.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2006. BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA. I've been taking it easy the first few days here in South America. I'm staying at Milhouse Hostel in central Buenos Aires (23 pesos for dorm ~$8). The weather has been fine Spring days--sunny with a slight chill in the air. I took two walking tours led by Stefi from Milhouse Hostel. On Wednesday, we did a walking tour of Recoleta, BA's upper class neighborhood. Yesterday, Thursday, Stefi took us on a tour of San Telmo, the center of Tango culture, and Plaza de Mayo to witness a weekly march by mothers of missing children from Argentina's Dirty War. Some 30,000 people are thought to have disappeared during Argentine dictatorship of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Argentinians love their beef. They purportedly eat 130 pounds per capita, twice what Americans eat. The cattle is grain fed and hormone free, making the meat less marbled and healthier for you. Parillas, or steakhouses, are everywhere, grilling all kinds of beef. A typical steak, bife de chorizo (thick sirloin), costs 20 pesos, or about $6. Most of the restaurants are ala carte, making an average meal cost around 30 pesos, or $10.