Friday, April 29, 2016

What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?


Our B&B in Buenos Aires was a massive palatial house with four floors and many, many rooms. Built in the early 1900s, I could picture people walking around dressed in their elaborate Downtown Abbey like dresses, drinking wine and making merry. The owner was a Tango Dancer who had purchased this place with plans of turning it into a Tango Dance Studio cum Hotel, but still lived outside the country. How marvellous and authentic I thought! Let’s go!

This was the last leg of out 10 day Argentina Trip. The first few days in Buenos Aires were fun and sunny, spent around the Obelisk, walking around, eating yummy Empanadas & Milanesas, Even sipping great Cortados, and soaking up the energy. While this last leg was gloomy and rainy. *And* was 2.5 kms south of the Obelisk (Near San Telmo)

It’s Buenos Aires after all! How bad can it be!

So we arrived. There were two massive 20’ tall doors and we were warmly welcomed by an energetic student who was house sitting. Come in! Here’s the map! Here are your keys and here are the instructions to use em! We dumped our bags and immediately ran to the closest restaurant to eat. It was dinner time and we ordered Risotto and Goulash. 

It was terrible. and stale. Nothing like the stuff we savoured in the restaurants around the obelisk.

We got back “home” and fumbled with the keys and the elaborate process of getting indoors for a bit. We got in- yay! Only to be stuck at the bedroom door. We turned the key twice but the door wouldn’t budge.

Maybe it’s the wrong key? Let’s call the house sitters. But they were gone. and the number they had given us was unreachable too. It was 9 pm after all.

huh. We waited. Turned the keys again, and again, for twenty times.

          It can’t be the wrong key if it turns- right? Shall we push hard on the door?

          “No! what if it falls off!”

          Right.

          after 15 mins:

          “lets just effing push hard!”

and we did. the door opened…and surprise surprise..it didn’t break!

Then we fumbled with doors and the door knobs came off… Taps wouldn’t work… Lights kept flickering…The TV didn’t have cable to watch the match. While my 4 year old loved exploring the huge place, I couldn’t help wondering how much would it cost to do the whole place up.  


Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?



Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?



This area was apparently abandoned by the rich long ago, fleeing from a bout of yellow fever. They settled a bit north of the city in the now richer areas such as Recoleta. Which explained all the dilapidated yet admirable old fashioned architecture.

While we spent all day walking around, we finally spotted a toy car in a shop window (We’d forgotten to pack any toys!). The shop was open, but the grill door was closed. We were about to walk away when an old lady peered out through the grill asking (in Spanish) “what do you want?”

          “we want that toy car- how much is it?”

          “49 pesos”

         “Uh. do you accept dollars?”

          No!

          Credit cards?

          No, sorry.

My husband took out his wallet to count the remaining pesos he had. There was no exchange place in sight. 

          “10-20-30… I have 40 pesos”

          “oh good! you can have the toy for 40 pesos then”

We were thrilled. Stupid Indian mentality, always happy to find a bargain! (So what if it was a toy that should've been actually priced at 10 pesos!)

We paid her while she gave us the toy- all through the space between the grills!

This was in broad daylight. Normal working hours. Only a block away from the main 9 de Julio Avenue, and only 2.5 kms south from the Obelisk. 

Is Buenos Aires like Detroit? I remember being told stories that the stores in Detroit were properly locked up after dark. If you wanted to buy something you slid your money in a box into a small hole after which the shop owner slid back the item you want. Or risk being shot by a gun bearing drug addict. 

Huh. Of course it's not like Detroit! We felt pretty safe.... even though the shutters went down by 9.

2.5km NORTH of this place was a complete different story. Swanky architecture and money. Energy still buzzing at late hours. We even changed currency at Midnight! 2.5 kms SOUTH of the Teatro Colón, is old worn out architecture and buying stuff through grilled doors. 

We walked hopelessly, avoiding dog poo, banana peels and puddles regretting the last leg of our trip. We should have left with the memory of the Obelisk in our hearts. Not grill doors, bad weather and jammy doors. But this was real. Shouldn’t we be glad to have experienced the real stuff? Outside the tiny touristy & fancy bubble of the large metropolitan?

Here are some pictures of the place we spent our last two nights in:

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?

Globetrotting Mom: What’s outside the touristy & fancy bubble of Buenos Aires?






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Until later! Stay in touch!




36 comments:

  1. I don't mind off the beaten path occasionally, but you definitely have to be in the right frame of mind for it. At least you got some great stories out of the experience!

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    1. That's true, for us it came as a surprise. Thanks Jessica.

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  2. great images! interesting post! #practical mondays

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  3. Wow, what a unique experience there! Love the pictures you took, stunning!

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  4. I think if you're mentally prepared for it, it can be ok - but I'll be frank when travelling with my kids in tow something like this would be likely reduce me to tears of jealousy and/or frustration! Fascinating story though! #citytripping

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    1. It wasn't frustration, it kinna seemed like a waste at that point of time. Like why did we bother to stay those extra nights when we could have left with a fantastic memory! Thanks for stopping by:)

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  5. Your pictures are stunning! It's always a shame to feel disappointed with the last leg of a trip, but at least you still have fantastic memories of the fancier side, and some great new stories and experiences to share. Thanks for linking up with #FartGlitter x

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  6. ... Just popping by for a second visit - thanks for linking up with #passthesauce x

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  7. It definitely looks very picturesque and a good story to tell - although maybe not quite so amusing at the time! It's always interesting to get a little way off the beaten path and explore if you can, I think. #citytripping

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  8. Well, you can always have bad luck with pre-booked accommodation... I still remember vividly a night in a B&B in Vienna, Austria, where at midnight a radio alarm clock came on in the room next to ours - separated from our bedhead by nothing but firmly locked double doors. I knocked on the wall, tried to contact the caretaker, and finally broke into the main desk to get room keys - only to be able shut off that dammed radio. By then it was after 3am. The next morning we were evicted for doing so...
    Be assured: Buenos Aires is a lovely city if you explore the right parts of it! And there's lot to see.

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    1. that's quite a story! how frustrating! After a coupla B&B experiences I think we should all take em with a pinch of salt!

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  9. I like to see the "reality" of places I visit but, after all, what is the reality. Buenos Aires like any big city is conformed of many neighborhoods. Each neighborhood may have its different personality and the limit between areas can change very quickly. But, does a specific neighborhood represents the reality of Buenos Aires or is the city's personality seen as a combination of the different areas? I think most "touristic" cities has an outside the bubble area (and it is probably not going to be pretty).

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    1. That's true! Even in Santiago, the city we live in, we see stark differences between neighbourhoods. Thanks Ruth :)

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  10. We are a huge fan of Airbnb, but if there is one thing that will go wrong we've found it to be locks and doors. I got stuck in between two doors in our entrance in NYC - that was scary as I was by myself and had no phone. Eventually I calmed myself and tried a few tricks and got out.

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    1. Staying calm is a skill only a few can master! Thanks Jan:)

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  11. You certainly got some interesting stories out of the experience. Seeing other parts of a city can be eye-opening - each area has its own story to tell...although sometimes is good not to experience it quite so closely #citytripping

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    1. I know, every neighbourhood has it's own story, thanks for stopping by:)

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  12. Aww thank you, I've really enjoyed reading this because you are absolutely right, this is real. On my recent trip to Amsterdam with my little one we turned up at our hotel and the room was a disaster. It all turned out well in the end as I found a nicer and cheaper hotel despite being in peak season. As travellers we can't expect to have wonderful times all the time and we never know where we might end up. But that adds to the excitement I think. As least with this trip you can appreciate the obelisk area even more :-) Thanks for linking up with #MyFavouriteTrip Polly

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    1. haha! Thanks Polly, will head over to yours to read about your trip:)

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  13. You might just have saved me. David was suggesting only just last night that we rent an apartment on our next visit to Buenos Aires - maybe we will just stick to the Hilton.

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    1. hahaha, it may be for the best! We got a value deal in one of a popular hotels at the obelisk but it as old as the hills desperately in need of renovation!

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  14. Sometimes its all about the timing. What might seem adventurous and quirky at the beginning of a long trip turns nightmarish at the end of that same trip. Still, what an experience!

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    1. it wasn't a nightmare actually, just that we left with a shoddy image instead of a great one! thanks for stopping by Jim ;)

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  15. Ah well... It was an experience to remember. You definitely got the real non-touristy deal! Your photos actually make it look not that bad... Except for the window with are those cob webs??

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    1. Yes! They are! That was my super artistic shot btw ;)

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  16. love your photos - such a different perspective. Thanks!

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  17. I have a very different experience in Buenos Aires. I really love it. I stay in 3stars hotel in San Telmo but never felt or seen abandoned places. Recoleta is wonderful. San Telmo unique. For sure there is poverty and unlike places but the city is without doubts magnificient. I really miss it.

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    1. I had both the good & different experience! This post just talked about the unexpected one. We *loved* Buenos Aires the first 3 days! Thanks Chiara! :)

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