Day One in Buenos Aires

So far I haven’t really been that impressed with BA.  The city is run down and polluted.  Monuments and buildings would have been more impressive had the city put more effort in preserving and cleaning things up.  Sort of reminds me of Athens.  Graffiti is omnipresent.


Can’t quite fairly comment on the food yet, as we’ve only had one meal at La Cabrera in Palermo SOHO.  

Argentina is known for their steak, but what we had last night was tough and a little overcooked to my liking.  However, the price can’t be beat.  The rib eye steak (400 grams or 0.9 lbs) and sides were only AR$45 ($12 US), and the bottle of wine was AR$41 ($11 US).  Anywhere you go in the US, the steak itself will cost you at least $25-$30 (at a steakhouse, not Outbacks or other chain restaurants), and a bottle of cheap wine will set you back another $30-40.  So as you can see, eating in Argentina is very affordable.
Helado here is the equivalent of Italy’s gelato.  We tried a place in San Telmo, and thought it was just OK (nothing like Italy), but rest assured, we’ll be doing more taste testing in the next few days.  A funny thing happened yesterday at the heladeria.  I had wanted the waffle cone, but we didn’t know how to say it in Spanish.  So J told the guy at the counter ‘numero ocho‘ (number 8), not knowing that the ‘8’ next to the the waffle cone was actually the price, not the number.  This reminded us of the funny incident while in Rome, when J ordered ‘pepperoni’ pizza; instead of getting slices of pepperoni, he got bell peppers scattered all over his pizza.

Running in the city was a total nightmare this morning.  The streets are dirty and the air is thick with smog.  I’ve never felt nauseous while running in the past, but I did in BA.  The fumes from the buses and old cars just choke you up.  I have one more run in BA, and am not looking forward to it.  However, the alternative is unthinkable – running 7 miles on a treadmill.
Tango in San Telmo
The people are polite and friendly.  Perhaps so when you approach them speaking in Spanish instead of in English.  Sort of like the Parisians, when you approach them with your broken French, not only do they help you, they switch to speaking in English (I guess to avoid hearing their beautiful language being butchered).  We met an old lady in the Subte station yesterday.  She saw us looking at the map and proceeded to give us directions (in Spanish) without us even asking; even advising us to be careful of shady characters.  Luckily the two of us understand some spoken Spanish (J more so than I), so we were able to give her the impression that we knew what she was saying.  On the flip side, you should alway be wary if someone is too friendly and helpful, because they’re probably looking to rob you.
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