May 02, 2010
Buenos Aires is definitely one of the coolest cities I have visited. Buenos Aires reminds me of Montreal, a blend of old world and new, taking the best of each. This is my second day here, and I will be staying till Tuesday at least. I need to get visas for Uruguay and Paraguay, and there is a lot to see here, not the least are the fall colors in May. It even feels like fall even though the temperature is just about perfect for comfort.
Today I mostly walked around downtown. Buenos Aires is huge, 13 million people, it has everything you would expect in a city this size, subways (Subte) and above ground light rail transit, commuter trains, the usual buses and taxis, excellent freeways and wide downtown roads to accomodate traffic. BA is the best city for riding the bike this side of the Mexican border. The local moto pilots ride their motorcycles like Edmonton's bicycle couriers ride their leg-motors, apparently traffic laws do not apply to motos. I try to set a good example, but it is too hard to not to join in the fun. The French influence extends beyond the plumbing, Citroens, Renaults and Peugeots are everywhere, a lot of Fiats as well.
The other lines are newer and so is the equipment, it is cool that they preserved the original, but it wouldn't have hurt to have washed it coupla time in the last 97 years.
The Palacio del Congresso is one of the most imposing capital buildings I have seen, I don't know if this picture gets that across, but standing in front of it certainly does. It is supposedly modeled after the capitol building in Washington DC, but somehow it comes across as much grander.
Great restaurants too, if you have been to Montreal, the Buenos Aires restaurants are managed the same way, even in ordinary neighborhood cafes the wait staff is mostly mature males wearing a white shirt with black pants and they do not introduce themselves as being 'your server tonight'. The food is good as well, Argentina has its own ideas on how food should be prepared, and for the most part it is excellent, but also unlike other cuisine I have tried. If you have high cholesterol you may want to cross Argentina off your list of places to visit, everything has beef, eggs and cheese in it or on it. Beer is normally served in one liter bottles as well, so no wonder the drivers are erratic.
Click here for a few more photos.