Buenos Aires is located on the coast of the Rio de la Plata, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Being south of the equator, we are currently in summer…but that didn’t keep it from raining ALL MORNING two days ago. We’re talking downpour, and it was HOT. So what do you wear?? Shorts, a scarf, and waterproof sandals with a rainshell in the backpack – duh.
We were so fortunate to have coordinated meeting up with our friend, a local of La Plata, only about 45 minute drive southeast of B.A. We had worked on our last two contracts with him, an international concierge from the front office. He greeted us with a car (thank goodness we didn’t have to walk in the rain!), smiles, and big hugs! Seeing him again in his country was so wonderful. I love spending time with people who harbor such pride in their origin. He drove us around the city, stopping to wander through the famous and extravagant Cementerio de la Recoleta, which is home to the tombs and sarcophagi of many of the city’s most influential historical figures, including Evita. A thunder and lightning storm danced in the clouds above us, adding eeriness to the surprisingly peaceful space.
From there we drove through various barrios of the massive city, settling on a very old restaurant for lunch in the San Telmo district. This area has a great feel with its historic buildings yet refreshing charm. After lunch we wandered through the street market as the rain let up. Unfortunately we had to split the day down the middle, as Rob had to work a couple hours before having the rest of the night off.
We met again with our friend for an evening drive to his hometown of La Plata, a large city with a small town vibe. We drove for hours as he showed us various areas and districts, among which we saw the largest museum and cathedral in all of Argentina. In true Argentine tradition, we had a late dinner at 8:30, followed by delicious, locally made ice cream.
Our drive back to B.A. got us to the ship just before midnight where we were confronted with the conflict of whether to go back out to the bars. It didn’t really matter that it was a Sunday night for most establishments – the city has a very prominent late-night reputation. Not sure what to do, we socialized in the crew bar as one of the groups left to go dancing. Around 2:30 am we made our decision to hit the town for some cervezas and empanadas. It’s a good thing I’ve been practicing my Spanish because of the four of us I had the least to drink and therefore enunciated the best.
We hung out and drank at the Plaza Serrano for a while before calling it a night and heading back to the ship to be in bed by 5 in the morning. Staying out that late is not a common practice for me – I don’t know how the locals do it, although I can most likely attribute my late burst of energy to the yerba mate I drank before leaving the ship. All of South America seems to run on the stuff, which is derived from a leaf related to holly. Maybe that’s why they can stay out so late.