Coming back to Buenos Aires felt like putting on one of your favourite old pair of jeans—I just didn’t know if they still fit.
I have a love and hate relationship with Buenos Aires. I do find it interesting: I appreciate the sights, the various barrios that each have a distinct identity, I like the food, the pedestrian streets, the old historical buildings, the European flair, the energy and the late-night life. But on bad days, I hate the pollution, the overflowing trash cans, the overpriced restaurants and the gimmicks the city is trying to sell, from tango dancers to football memorabilia. Buenos Aires can either feel old and tired or young and energizing.
I wasn’t sure which Buenos Aires I was going to get coming from Brazil. We had both agreed we wouldn’t stay, it was just a stop on the road. Argentina’s capital is a big hub and we wanted to explore places we haven’t been before.
We had two nights and one day in the city to make the most of it.
We were only a two-hour flight from Brazil but it was obvious we had stepped into a whole different culture. Spanish, again! Old bills, sugary treats, people sipping mate, convenience stores, this “old world” urban flair instead modern metropolis. Even the usual Argentinian challenges, like getting money from the ATM, made us laugh. Yeah, been there, done that. We know how Argentina works… or doesn’t. We didn’t waste time. We checked into the hotel and looked for our favourite places, our favourite foods. I knew what I wanted and I knew where to get it and how to get it… for a change.
That Sunday night, I was looking forward to walking around after sunset and to a late-night dinner. Argentinians are night owls, unlike Brazilians. I knew the city would be alive until late at night and I wanted to be one of these shadows, lost in the crowd of people eating pizza, having coffee, sitting around in parks and just strolling the busy streets.
We lucked in with Expedia and the hotel was very nice, as in clean and modern. I liked it. Everything was perfect. Buenos Aires was just what I needed. An easy and familiar place.
We spent the following day revisiting parts of the city under a clear blue sky. I was curious to see if Mark remembered anything about it but it was hard to tell. The Obelisk, maybe? The playground we took him to so many times? We skipped La Boca, way too touristic and crowded. We headed to San Telmo, more relaxing. We strolled the streets in the Centro, crossed the Avenida 9 de Julio like pros (hint: you really have to stop in the middle, you can’t cross all the lanes in one attempt), walked miles and miles feeling comfortable and welcome.
In Brazil, people assumed I was from Argentina. In Argentina, people assumed I was Brazilian. In both cases, I found it flattering, I find Latinas super hot.
Where am I from? I don’t even know anymore. Where are we going? I’m not sure either!