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Day 3: New hostel and exploring the city.

January 13th, 2011 by *MoonDogg*

We had breakfast at the hotel, then spent some time researching hostels in a better part if the city. We decided to check out the HostleSuites Obelisco, which was just two block from the Obelisk and right in the middle of all the action downtown. It turned out to be a cool place, so we booked 4 nights. The first night, Khristian and I were in a dorm room with a girl from Columbia and a guy from Brazil. My parents had their own room. The next three night the four of us were together in the same room.

The hostel had a pool table, movie room with free movies, a bar, free breakfast, and organized a lot of events, although we did not participate in any of them.

We could not check-in until later, so we put our bags in storage and went for a walk down to Puerto Madero, an old abandoned shipping area. They gutted the old brick warehouses renovated them into offices and restaurants. There are several high rise condominiums on the water as well.
Old shipping yard

High rise condos

We came across a demonstration that was taking place in the street that was pretty amusing. About 60 people banging drums and carrying signs, standing in front of a bank. I think it was some kind of labor dispute. It was actually well organized, with police handling traffic redirection.

We saw many of the more popular landmarks, including Plaza de Mayo, where many important events have take place in Argentina’s political history, none of which I can recall at the moment.

The famous Obelisco

.What I can recall is the endless supply of incredible buildings. Most of them are old, and very ornate. Down every street for as far as the eye can see, amazing architecture. Don’t ask me the style, era or influence because I am ignorant of such things. But I think mostly Spanish, obviously. The down side is many of the buildings are not well taken care of. They are dirty, and worn. As are the streets. I’ve not traveled many large cities in foreign countries, so perhaps BA is typical. But there is trash everywhere. There are parts of the city we visited that were clean, but downtown was filthy. And it stinks. But it’s alive and bustling, with people everywhere going in every direction at all hours. Pretty chaotic, actually.

After a long day walking around, we had a nap, then out to find some grub. It was at this time I started realizing how limited the options were for food. Pretty much every restaurant had the same basic choices. Hamburgers, fries, pizza and related (calzones, etc.), steak, or sandwiches. And by sandwich, I mean ham and cheese on withe bread with the crust cut off. And the annoying thing is that each items comes in various levels. For example, if you simply order “hamberguesa’, you get a hamburger patty. That’s it. Then there’d are about 5 levels of more sophisticated hamburgers, up to the ‘complete’ which has all the trimmings. I ordered a turkey sandwich, and it was thin white bread and a few slabs of turkey. It was the driest sandwich in the history of dry sandwiches. My point is that no matter how far you walk, it seems like all the place have pretty much the same menu. It got old real fast.

On the upside, the restaurants are all nice. All the tables are setup in advance with place settings. All have tablecloth. And all the waiters are professional. I was told that waiting tables it not something college kids do in their part time, but it is a career people take serious. It’s true, most of the waiters were older, almost always dressed nice, with a vest and a bow tie. They don’t bother with ‘how is everything’ or ‘I’ll just leave the check for whenever you are ready’. They stand back and wait for you to beckon them when you need them. It’s a much nicer dining experience compared to what I am used to at home.

There is very little ‘fast food’. Pretty much everywhere you get waited on. There are, however several McDonalds and Burger Kings around town. I was really tempted on one occasion when I was by myself looking for something quick. Many of the items on the menus I am unfamiliar with, and I was starving. McDonalds would have been the easy way out.

Posted in Trippin' | 4 Comments »