We rode our final coche cama bus to Buenos Aires - arriving early on a hot, humid day to the city where it all began - for us that is. It's with a "world of experience" that we navigate the city again. With only 6 weeks under our belts, it really feels like we have learned a lot about the language, the customs and dealing with day to day life on the move. No more ham on every meal. Hardly a confused look on the faces of bus drivers, servers or shopkeepers we inquire. We rarely pull out our little black book of translations anymore and we are actually getting compliments from Porteños about our "bueno español" to which we reply "really?, thanks...er, gracias!"
Coming back here to Bs. As. felt good. Not only is it a fantastic city to look at and feel, but the neighbourhood we settled in - San Telmo - is rich in history and charm. Artists and musicians mingle and perform under the shade of trees aside antique shops selling silver from the 19th century, squeeze boxes decades old and seltzer bottles from days gone by.
There's Tango in the square during the day surruonded by some of the finest, classic cafes in all of Argentina where folks like Carlos Gardel - the 'songbird of Buenos Aires' - and South America's most famous poet/writer Jorge Luis Borges used to hang out and compose their art. These places still have their original espresso machines from the mid-1800s, admittedly more for show than use these days - some of them appear ready to fly away with all the crazy doo-dads coming off them.
San Telmo's charm rubs off into the cobblestone streets and narrow sidewalks - it's almost like visiting Europe but it's still a Latin American country we're in and signs of that are everywhere. Horses with carts sometimes compete with taxis under gorgeous, French-inspired colonial apartments that are hundreds of years old. Every doorway is eight feet tall, every key is of the old, hang-it-around-your-neck antique variety. Rooms are never under 12-feet tall and the attention to every detail, from door-knockers to intricate caritedades is incredible. It's a city that lives it's grandeur from the past, still reeling in some aspects from the hard times of a few years ago, but, creating a new reality that only adds to the concrete history all around.
Wandering the streets of Bs. As. really is a feast for the senses as this city never sleeps, in fact it only really seems to wake up late in the eve when the music starts up, the lights go down and the energy perculates into the night. We've got our work cut out for us in the next few days...