Day 2 in Buenos Aires

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July 7, 2012 by Leah

Today was a day of touring and eating, as all days on a trip like this should be.

We ate breakfast with Alicia and Cajam (sp?), their basset hound. Pedro drove us on a tour of the city, and gave us an excellent private walking tour (from a native Argentinian perspective) of the Plaza de Mayo, the Casa Rosada (famous because of that balcony scene in “Evita,” now home to the Executive Branch of the Argentinian government), and the Bicentennial Museum.

Casa Rosada

This new museum was quite amazing, and contains a pretty spectacular mural with an incredible story. This mural was by David Alfaro Siqueiros, a contemporary of Diego Rivera, a Mexican Communist who was living in exile at the time it was commissioned by a private newspaper tycoon. The mural covered all four walls, floor, and ceiling of a basement in the tycoon’s home. It is significant because it is Siqueiros’ only work without a political message. It is, instead, full of amazingly naked ladies inspired by his wife, who was apparently having an affair with that same tycoon. After the tycoon guy died, later owners of the house painted over it because they found it pornographic. (I have to say, so did I!) At some point, the entire room was excavated and stored in a shipping container for years while they fought over who owned it. Eventually the government decided it would go in their museum, and thank goodness, because it’s freaking awesome. When you enter, you are allowed to lay on the floor which adds a whole new element to the experience. It feels like you’re laying on the ocean floor and naked ladies are floating all around you. Sorry guys, no photos allowed.

The tomb of San Martin

After that, we stopped in the Catedral Metropolitana and saw the tomb of San Martin, the hero of South America. Then we walked down the Avenida de Mayo and stumbled upon an Armenian festival with traditional dress and dancing and doner kebab. We peeked inside the Café Tortoni, the oldest cafe in Buenos Aires, which looked amazing.

After that, it was lunchtime. And that meant meat. Tali and I both tried sweetbreads–which were some sort of throat gland, as far as we could tell. It tasted like beef fat, and not at all bad. (Sidenote: Tali thought it was bad.)

Sweetbreads

We also had beef empanadas and huge steaks and drank a bit of dry Malbec (an Argentinian wine). (Sidenote: We could not finish our steaks). After two full hours of eating and taking in the view of the old port (which is the city’s new upscale neighborhood), we finished lunch with a crepe-style pancake oozing with dulce de leche. After that meal, we were deemed officially Argentinian.

Pancake with dulce de leche

Did I mention we’re going to an asado later to have more meat?

In the afternoon, my cousins Emilio and Mariano took us to Plaza Francia where we (okay, where I) resisted the urge to shop at the tourist market. We also went into a very cool free museum, technically a cultural center I think, and then a Parisian-style cafe where we were fed, once again, with an enormous slice of dulce de leche spongecake and an equally sizeable slice of chocolate cheesecake.

Did I mention we’re going to an asado later to have more food?

So, that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes this post. We’ll update you on the contents of our stomachs as the situation develops. Also, on the Buenos Aires party scene, which we will do our best to stay awake for tonight!

Ciao!

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