We finally made it to Buenos Aires! After many hiccups with planning this trip, the problems still haven't stopped. This trip is one that I'm not afraid to tell the truth and not cover it up with wrapping paper and a big bow. Everything that could have gone wrong, has gone wrong. There was the whole Brazilian Visa issues back home, and we were so excited to get through that just in time. We arrived at the airport with luggage and 2 hours early as one should for an international flight. We get there and we can't get our boarding passes because apparently there is a fee that each visitor has to pay (of $160) in order to enter Argentina. Since the fee isn't a Visa, it can be done the day of, instead of months in advance. Turns out, this fee is new - within the last year or so - and a simple Google search turns up nothing and the airport wi-fi is slower than deliveries from China. However, having 1 hour to fill out paperwork/print/check in and get our boarding passes to then only have 1 hour to get through security and to the gate? It was nerve wracking, but I think S and I worked as fast as we could on my laptop at the airport and kept our composure. Even with a few nervous typos from shaking hands, we got those fees taken care of in time, and made the flight. It's definitely not the way one wants to start any trip though.
Other than my strong feelings towards the rules and regulations of traveling to South America, we are still getting a feel for Buenos Aires. We spent a few hours walking around our "barrio" (neighborhood) which is Palermo. Like every city it has it's graffiti and urban horizon, but there's also the surprising cluster of trees that completely envelope a street and the ornate filigree on some early 1900's buildings. I can see a little bit of Paris here (the gorgeous bursts of architecture), and a little bit of Naples, Italy (the urban sprawl).
We worked up an appetite walking through Palermo, and stopped to eat at a deli/cafe called Felicidad. We started with patatas bravas of course, which were rosemary potatoes and we dipped them in this hot and smokey sauce - it was delicious and simple. We also ordered a pitcher of lemonade made with ginger and mint; it was so incredibly tart and refreshing and flavorful we had to order another one. It was perfect for the heat, considering it is summer here!
We walked around the streets, getting to know the area after having had a great birds eye view from the restaurant. At that time of day it was quiet enough to mostly see locals, but also busy enough to get a small sense of the atmosphere.
We even popped into a local shop, and already purchased the first of our gifts to bring people back home!
At the end of it, we were so exhausted and not to mention, my feet still swollen from the flight and suddenly walking on them, so we hailed a taxi to get back to the apartment! And I have to say, I'm normally the first person to dip down into a metro, feeling right at home like in NYC and Paris. However, here, we took a taxi ride that would have taken us perhaps 20-30 minutes to walk, and it cost $2.53 US, including tip! Then we went to the local corner store to get soap, toilet paper, water bottles, all the goodies that apartments need and we spent only $10 US for everything we bought. I'm stilling getting used to seeing a high number like 300 peso on our restaurant bill, but considering how far our money goes here, when I convert it to US dollars and how much we get for our money - it's incredible.
Lastly, the face of jet lag. After not sleeping a wink on the overnight flight, we took a siesta nap before we head out for dinner and drinks soon. After all, the locals don't eat dinner until 9:00 pm, so when we venture out at 8:00 pm, we'll be the early birds. When this muchacho gets out of bed, we'll pick out a restaurant and bar close by and try it out. Tomorrow, we venture to some touristy spots in Recoleta, the barrio closest to us known for the Recoleta Cemetery!