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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Buenos Aires

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Buenos Aires, Argentina - 2013

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 22/09/2013 11:46:54
Updated by Joel Dixon at 13/01/2015 12:08:17

Our final city in Argentina started with a long car ride from Bombal to Buenos Aires. Due to the distance (about a 4 - 5 hour drive) our trip contained a quick stop in San Pedro to catch up with a couple that I met during the Rosario wedding. After more delicious meat and an enjoyable tour of San Pedro we continued on to Buenos Aires.

After watching Boca Juniors defeat their rivals River Plate on the hotel television, we went for a quick walk around the city in search of some dinner. This is when I was first struck by the two sides of Buenos Aires. We had just stepped outside of our semi-fancy hotel, looking out towards the widest street in the world and the impressive Obelisco de Buenos Aires (plus the largest McDonald's I've seen) when my gaze was diverted to the three homeless people rooting through the dumpster right in front of us - presumably collecting items of value. This was a common theme - very visible poverty right next to grand displays of excess. We finished the evening with a spirited few games of bowling - which is neither here nor there - but just some great fun.

Pointy and tall - exactly what I'm after in an obelisk

I figure this is a good time to point out that I have now eaten McDonalds on all 6 of the 6 continents that contain a store. As soon as Antarctica gets a Mickey Ds - I'll be on my way

How most of the dumpsters look due to local forragers. Not sure if they found any babies

Over the next two days we decided to catch the sites from the ease of a tourist bus, presumably the quickest and safest way. I've engaged the services of "hop-on, hop-off" buses in many cities before and always found them an excellent method of getting around the city. That is, of course, until I tried the Buenos Aires Bus. An hour long wait standing in the queue, not nearly enough buses for the number of patrons and a terrible audio/visual component that infuriated rather than informed combined to create a very unpleasant experience. Oh - and one of the buses we were on actually broke down and we all had to get off for 30 minutes to await the next one. Still, we were able to see an acceptable amount of sights and started to get a little feel for the city (not the nicest of feels as you can imagine) so I guess the bus served its purpose.

The number of people waiting to get onto the tourist bus (this particular bus in frame did not allow any passengers on the top level due to a maintenance issue)

Boca Stadium is not in the nicest part of town, but the blue / gold colour scheme is pretty impressive

La Boca is full of these colourful houses due to the locals putting together whatever materials they could find. Perhaps they should have setup a website which they could use to keep all the same coloured metals on the same buildings

It wasn't all bad, we found this nice park in the Puerto Madero area

These two were pretty funny - I prefer to not think about what happened to this chair before I sat upon it

This Buenos Aires post is quite short as we only really stayed there for two nights and had a very superficial visit. But fear not as I will now provide some further thoughts on Bombal and Rosario.

During my driving tour of Canada and throughout my time in Europe I enjoyed the sights and sounds - but I always felt I was missing the local experience. I wished I could meet and communicate with the locals in a more meaningful way, and really know what it would be like to live as part of that culture. Fortunately, with Pao as my conduit, I was able to achieve this during my stay in Argentina. Unfortunately, it wasn't as enjoyable an experience as I had been hoping.

Don't get me wrong - the time I spent with Pao's family in Bombal was awesome - and although it was very tiring it was time well spent. Pao's Dad and brother harvest corn, soy and wheat around Argentina - and I got to see the inner workings of his combine harvester. We also took a tour around a few of the paddocks that they had harvested - as well as an Uncle's farm in the area. Meeting friends, heading down to the local bakery and celebrating Pao's brother's birthday all added to the feeling of being part of an amazing family.

I suspect Inspector Gadget was welded together by somebody with as much experience as me (see the welding on the left). It's no wonder his roller skates are always coming out when he wants his umbrella

Just one part of the inner workings of the harvester (I got to climb in and all around it) - you can almost smell the glorious spice from here

The part of being an Argentinian local that was less enjoyable was the rest of the time.

As well as not experiencing the complete culture of cities in the past - I have avoided thinking about the full negatives of those cities. This time, as I was evaluating the idea of living in Argentina, I paid a lot more attention. I picked up on the little things that would grate on me if I ever lived in Rosario or Buenos Aires. Things like graffiti and litter everywhere, horribly selfish and dangerous driving (with a terrible pedestrian experience that almost rivals Italy) and a crime problem that requires you to "buzz in" to any store you wish to frequent are just the start of the problems I could see with living in an Argentinian city. That being said - I could see myself enjoying life in a small town near Bombal and Pao's family. Not sure how strong the job market is for a .NET developer in those regions however.

Not all of Rosario is bad - Pao almost forgot to take me to see this impressive flag-designed building

Then again - if Joel is the new City Councillor - how can I not consider living in Argentina

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