Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Bienvenidos a Buenos Aires

We are slowly recovering from our jet lag in BA. Just a few short minutes to post here from a local internet cafe, so I'll just make a couple of quick observations:

BA is eerily similar to New York. It's almost as large, with around eight million people, but I'm talking about look-and-feel. The architecture and conditions in the outlying districts remind me more of the Bronx than anyplace else in the states. Downtown is a bit more like a smaller US city, with the highrises a bit shorter and more spread out.

Sean at a Buenos Aires internet cafe

There is a striking absence of Japanese cars. All the cars here are European brands: Peugot, Renault, Fiat, Mercedes. I have not seen a single Toyota, for example. Honda is definitely here, in the form of motorcycles and scooters, but no cars. Oddly, we've seen a number of Honda step-throughs that are more motorcycle than scooter, with a foot shifter and a foot brake in the usual places, and large-diameter wheels. I'm a bit envious -- they don't sell these in the states.

Our hotel is well-situated, across the plaza from the main train station ("Retiro") and just a few blocks from the pier. Right in front of our window is the Torre de los ingleses, or Englishmen's Tower (renamed after the Falklands war, but that's what everyone still calls it).

Last night we had a most excellent dinner at a local establishment right across the street, Las Nazarenas. Argentina is no place for a vegetarian: the main fare was beef, and lots of it. We split three dishes among four of us, and still some meat ended up going to the dogs (we hope) afterwards.

This afternoon, we will take a tour involving a short cruise up the river on a motor launch, and a train ride. Tomorrow morning, we will try to do a city tour before embarking our ship.

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