Argentina and the Women's District
Argentina has long been on my radar screen, and over the holidays, when it is summer down under, my family and I finally went. Buenos Aires was very hot, Patagonia cooler, and all of it was fascinating.
We arrived at four in the morning. I detest overnight flights. But our indefatigable guide made us move around and see lots of things that afternoon (including an amazing cemetery city that houses the remains of Eva Peron.) Then the first of many excellent dinners offering various forms of beef--but also other forms of meat and fish.
Buenos Aires was a surprise in some ways. One could see the effects of long term financial uncertainty--including the inflation now affecting the peso. Cash machines would not give enough cash and were often tapped out. And one heard different things from different people about the current administration. Views seemed largely based on perceptions of the President's father and what he had done decades ago. And absolutely no-one thinks the Malvinas/Falklands dispute is over.
The city is very elegantly old Parisian in some respects, except for Porto Maduro, a renovated area that had been an industrial port. In that very new creation, all of the streets are named for women (there were no streets named for women anywhere else), and it is reached by several bridges, including the Women's Bridge, a beautiful work by Santiago Calatrava. We were in Porto Maduro for New Years' Eve. Lots of families out along the canal, all in high spirits despite relative cool and high winds.
I had no interest in driving to a ranch, or estancia. But I was wrong! We went to Los Patos, and rode horses in a beautifully designed forest of elegant trees, thousands of them in rows, like an art installation. Its proprietors were fantastic hosts, great conversationalists. We had a lovely time.
Finally, we spent a few days in Bariloche, a town in Patagonia. We did all kinds of things that for me are life threatening--climbing on rocks, rappelling down rocks, sitting on rocks for lovely picnic lunches. Kayaking in mountain lakes surrounded by rocks. All in very high winds. Our guide, JJ, just exuded confidence and good cheer when met with my expressions of fear, and pushed me to meet the challenges. And I lived to tell the tale! He also told us all kinds of things, including that stands of bamboo all procreate and then die at the same time after several years of life. Weird.
We came back on another overnight flight, after New York had been under siege from a bomb cyclone. Remarkably, we landed on time, though Kennedy looked like the North Pole. We somehow missed the delays that affected everyone else, as well as the floods!
Great vacation. Especially in winter. Go sometime.