Buenos Aires in Bloom…

8 02 2012

We depart Ushuaia for Buenos Aires in the evening. Aerolineas Argentinas has not recovered from the strike. Things are still backed up, and there is some confusion about which plane we are to board as now two are headed for Buenos Aires. Ours is an aging MD-80. There is an in-flight “meal,” but guess what? Opening my meal box, another dreaded ham and cheese sandwich is lurking inside. I cannot eat it, and give it away! In Buenos Aires, we’re staying at the Castelar Hotel again.

Morning dawns very warm and beautifully sunny. I scramble downstairs to the breakfast area. And what awaits is a breakfast feast for my eyes! The Castelar Hotel has a breakfast buffet with a much wider selection than most of our lodgings on this trip. Eggs, bacon, sausage, real orange juice, fresh fruit, all things I love in the morning! This day starts off nicely!

Today we’re going to explore Buenos Aires by bicycle and subway! There is a subway station right near our hotel. We pay our fare and wait for the next train. When it arrives, it sure is something! It’s positively ancient, a living fossil. I’d say right out of Victorian England! It’s outside is wooden, the inside is wooden, and the windows are open. Once inside, the doors clang shut – no warning whatsoever. It jerks forward, and is off to the next stop. Passengers are of many different niches. Professionals, blue collar workers and students.

We reach our stop, walk outside and into the warmth. It’s already over 70 degrees, headed to 85 degrees today. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Since we were here last time, the flowers, and flowering trees, have bloomed and are peaking! The avenues are lined with Jacaranda trees. These trees have beautiful purple flowers.

We walk the cobblestoned streets to the bicycle rental shop. Once there we perform the obligatory rental ritual and begin the process of adjusting the bikes for ourselves.

We’re to bike down by the Puerto Madero area, on the water, and then head to the Costanera Sur Nature Reserve.

The Costanera Sur Nature Reserve sits beyond Puerto Madero on the Rio De La Plata River.

A lot of adjustments have to be made…and I think it’s funny because most of us are Dutch, and the bikes have KLM Royal Dutch Airlines ads over the rear wheels!

We ride through the old section of town with narrow streets, and then have to cross the busy boulevard, over the canal and then to the reserve. The reserve has a number of trails which lead out to a view of the Rio de la Plata.

We see many Portenos enjoying the warmth and sun. Men jogging in Buenos Aires don’t wear t-shirts. They go shirt-less. I’m not entirely sure that’s a good idea. We reach the river and there is a 50-boat sailboat race going on.

So some folks have leisure time and money to spend in Buenos Aires!

There are some interesting creatures taking advantage of the refuge.

We see plenty of parrots. Green parrots are gregarious and noisy, as well as busy eating nuts in the trees!

Later on, we see some iguanas being heckled by birds. It looks like the iguanas were trying to steal eggs?

It was time to return the bikes. But it’s a Friday and now rush hour. Buenos Aires drivers are seriously aggressive, yet we’ve got to wind through many lanes and intersections. All I know is I want to stay behind Saskia, our leader, because she knows the route!

Many twists and turns later and with sweat beginning to run down my face, with all hands still safe, we make it back to the rental shop.

Tonight we see a tango show. I won’t go into too much detail, but while the dancers were athletic, gifted, and talented, the show was outdated and stale for my taste. I was impressed by the dancing, but everything else seemed like a put on.

After the show some of us went for a drink at a local restaurant. It was Portenos doing what they do. There was hardly a seat to be had, it was past midnight, and even children were in abundance! Late night festivities are a ritual!