Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Beautiful Belgrano and same same but different

[I saw this sign, but did not take the picture. The two little white sticks are a pictogram's legs. Pedestrian sign. Obviously.]

Tired, bruised, swollen, and ready for the next day. How many days can one really spend exploring the 3rd largest city in Latin America? I know I don't have any right to complain, especially to my dear Canadian comrades, but didn't I already suggest that problems are subjective?

Today, my fellow adventurous comrade, Maggy, and I decided we would go the thousand blocks north-west to the barrio Belgrano. We live in the south-east barrio, San Telmo. Seven hours later we returned with battered feet and baggy eyes, but dignity in tact. The trip started out with eagerness and empty stomachs. Word on the street is that there is an authentic Mexican restaurant in Belgrano. The way to a woman's heart is through her stomach. At least these two women.

Even though the barrio is quite a distance, we decided that taking the colectivo would be a great way to see some spots aboveground. The bus twisted and turned through the winding streets heading north, then west, then west-north-west, or was it north-west-north? Shops fill the streets of Buenos Aires. The architecture provides for perfect store space on the ground-floor and departamentos on the upper-floors. Not unlike Soho in NYC or, as Maggy described Barcelona's downtown. Unfortunately, not all the stores have been able to withstand the IMF and World Bank deals ex-presidente Menem sold his soul for over a decade ago.

Arriving in a pleasant sidestreet in Belgrano, we follow our noses towards our destination. The first building we see is an ominous, egg-shell white mansion that is atop a tree-lined hill. The sign reads: Albert Einstein lived here.

He lived there for a year in the 1920's. Now it stands as the Australian Embassy. I guess we were in the poltico-money district because we walked pass embassy after embassy. I wonder if they will mind that we took some pictures?

We finally arrived at the Mexican place where we learned it doesn't open until 8pm. All day siesta is my guess. To kill some more time we decided to walk the 10 blocks to the barrio chino. That's right, Buenos Aires' own Chinatown. As a spoiled Chinatown-Torontonian, I can say it was quaint. It had the ornate arch to signify to passerbys that you are entering a different district. Also, to signify that if you blink, you might miss it. A couple of grocery stores not unlike Toronto (a couple), sushi spots (obviously?), and trinket shops (the cheap stuff to clutter one's house). Ok, I get it. I'm a snob when it comes to Chinatowns. How could you not be when the ethereal fumes of dried mushrooms and prawns, bootleg Chinese operas and the ubiquitous 10-tees-for-10 deals used to pour into one's former home?

Nonetheless, got some Mexican hot sauce, goji berries, and moisturizer made from (or for, I'm unsure) cow-udders in barrio chino. Overall success.

Seven hours later, we got home. Tired, bruised, swollen and ready for the next day.

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