Argentina–¡Mira vos!–Part 1

¡Hola todos!

Here’s the first part of my week abroad in Argentina!

We stayed in Buenos Aires for two days and then made our way north to Iguazú Falls. After seeing the national park we made our way back down to Buenos Aires and spent a couple more days there until flying back to Santiago.

Our first day in Argentina’s capital was adventure-filled! Our hostel was located right on Avenida Florida, one of the busiest streets in the city, and we had a great time walking around, window-shopping (there were SO MANY STORES!) and losing ourselves among a throng of people. To make sure we saw the entire city we took a hop on-hop off bus tour. We first got off at Boca, a touristy neighborhood located by the sea and home to cobblestone streets, scores of restaurants and a dozen open-air tango shows. We had a delicious lunch, caught some live tango action, and purchased some delightful souvenirs at the feria artesanal (art fair).
Me and my friend on the bus! Picture courtesy of Ellre :)

Horsey! Picture courtesy of Ellre :)

Matchstick figures!
My new mate!
The rest of the day involved more hopping on and off and we reached our hostel around dinner time. One of my friends and I decided to be adventurous and look for a yummy restaurant. This resulted in two things:
  1. We ended up eating at an outdoor food stall. It was delicious up until we saw a cockroach swimming and having the time of his/her life in the salsa we had been enjoying. Great.
  2. We walked right into a protest on our way back to the hostel.

I don’t know what it is about me and protests! I swear I didn’t actually go looking for one this time…but, as always, it was a super cool experience. Unlike the student movement marches and strikes in Santiago this one was a response to the government’s poor leadership in general (lawl). I had been so used to seeing young students run amuck in the streets of Santiago that I was stunned to find everybody and their mothers (quite literally) in Plaza de Mayo. It was an insanely diverse crowd: I think the oldest person I saw was probably in his 80s; the youngest was still in her stroller (and yes, she had a mini-pot she was banging with a spoon).

The fact that all these people–despite differences in age, gender, and socioeconomic status–were coming together in solidarity was moving. The weight of this realization was somewhat diminished, however, when I heard that protests in Plaza de Mayo are as common as finding gelato stands on every city block (i.e., pretty damn common). Apparently you can’t walk two feet without bumping into someone carrying a picket sign or standing on his/her soapbox. There can be up to several protests in a day and one protester stopped banging his pots long enough to tell me that this is usually the only exercise some people get. Well then, so much for solidarity.

“Wake up. This is not normal.”
The Obelisk.
1 day = 25 hours in Buenos Aires.

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