Monday is moving day and an odyssey it is, due to banking regulations in Argentina. The challenge: get $3720.00 pesos out of a cash machine or find a bank that will give us lager amounts at one time. We ended up at Bank National a public government run bank where after much shenanigans we find out that our limit is $1000 pesos ($300) each per day. It takes us about 2 hours to complete this task leaving us $1720.00 pesos short. Down the street we go to HSBC and hit the cash machines limited to $300 pesos per withdrawal takes 6 transactions. Oh, I forget to mention that adding to the task at and poor Rachel was not feeling well this morning and had to find bathrooms frequently. We finally have the money we need to pay for our apartment and when we arrive Mister Esposito is heading our and cannot meet us until 5 PM at the apartment, it is now 1PM. Off to find a vegetarian lunch and then back to the B& B where we are welcome to hang out till we can meet Mister Esposito. I watch the news while Rachel naps. There is a huge anti-FRAC demonstration in Columbia hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets and Columbians all over the world are out protesting, even in BA as one of the latest hostage situations included a girl from Argentina.

Finally we move to San Telmo the Avenue A (circa 84) of Buenos Aires. It also makes me think of photos I have seen of recently partially renovated streets in Havana. It is a neighborhood in transition just north of LA Boca, a neighborhood not in transition. There are lots of Antique shops and a big open market on the weekends. I am willing to bet that in 2 years this will be the most sought after place to live in BA. Lot’s of renovations going on but two of the supposedly popular restaurants we wanted to go to here have closed. I like this neighborhood, as it is still a neighborhood. I guess all my years living in NYC have left me liking a little grit in the ambiance. There are families, friends and lovers roaming around. Our first evening out we ended up a corner bar/restaurant. Rachel had a beer to settle her stomach and I have some a fabulous Argentinean white wine. We sat and chatted and made friends with a few locals, one who is a food stylist and gives us quite a few recommendations for other places to dine around the city. The other refers to himself as a surrealist poet and gives us a book. As I don’t read Spanish I would need to translate his work and that would take some time; and I wonder is it even possible to translate surrealist poetry?

Rise and shine time seems to be at 1ish PM and getting out into the world of BA takes us till at least 2PM. But we have been staying out till 3AM so it is not like we are missing out on the 24-hour city.

Yesterday we went to The Microcentro and it was noisy and claustrophobic. It left me feeling grumpy. Actually I was a little grumpy even as we headed out, so I was just even grumpier. We tried to go to two different places to eat and they were either closed (Granix) or there was a line (Cafe Tortino) so to ease the city pressure we went to Puerto Madero and enjoyed a breeze infused, patio late lunch dining experience overlooking Dique #4, where the Yacht Club resides.

After lunch we decided to cruise the hotel swimming pools for a future adventure. First stop and supposedly the most dazzling is The Hilton, whose exterior is a hostile grey metal and looks like it should be in and industrial business park between Stockholm and the Arlanda Airport. As we approach the door there are Business men some with families and other with their co workers . I spot two American Brooks Brothers Bobbsey Twins in their navy blue blazers, kaki pants, light blue shits, black belts and loafers. We venture in and feel that the view is nice from the 7th floor, but the place it self is lacking in any ambiance and the clientele is, well, traveling businessmen. From here we walk over to visit the Faena Hotel + Universal to check on prices for the use of their pool, ahem, it is US$300 per day to mingle at this exclusive Philip Stark poolside, but it is pretty. Rachel has come to the conclusion that is it too expensive to be hip, I couldn’t agree with her more. We stop and eat ice cream at Freddo, I have an amazing Dolce con Leche.
Puerto Madero is home to an expansive Ecological Reserve and we are intrigued, but to tired to adventure further at this time and also, it late in the day. Leaving the Puerto Madero district we cross over a bridge and spot hundreds of Police and Riot Squads lining the street for no apparent reason, maybe it has something to do with the Anti FRAC demonstrations? I thought the Riot Squad uniform were kind of hot, with their tough kneepads, but then that is me. We choose to walk along the Dique but a few 100 yards in we find the smell off of Dique #1 is not so good so we head inland.

This is the first I have seen of stray dogs. They seem well nourished enough and pretty happy, not like some of the tragic mutts that I have encountered in Costa Rica and Mexico. Street smart too! They hang out with the police, people working the gas stations or the casual park dwellers.

One we get back the apartment we have a little down time before we head to Bar Sur now in business for 41 years, we enjoy an intimate evening of Tango, Milongas, and boleros. In the windows there are photos of celebrities who have been here and that includes Liz Minnelli. I forgot to tell Rachel that the show is interactive and as there are only front row seats in this tiny bar it is hard to avoid getting pulled in to the act, as Rachel soon found out as she was promptly whisked away to tango with the very serious and intense looking dancer who stood just about as high as her shoulder. We seem to be the only Americans in attendance this evening, I only hear Spanish being spoken and most of the audience seems to know all the songs that are sung as they gaily sing along. The owner of Bar Sur is probably in his 70’s and asks one of his servers to come over and ask where we were from. He sat next to our table to watch the show as some other patrons had left. He never spoke to us but bought us a round of champagne at the end of the night. We trundle home to sleep.

Wednesday was declared Tango Shoe Shopping Day!
We dressed up to go to the most exclusive shoe shop Comme il Faut, where you must ring a buzzer to enter and give your shoe size, color preference and they bring out what they have that day. They receive new shipments every day and the designs are always changing. We spend about an hour here, Rachel feels a little envious as she is a size 40 and the selection for her size is limited today, even more so as she is interested in a higher heel. We do however manage to leave with 5 pairs of shoes between us. I was not allowed to take any photos in the shop.

Lunch! A long and arduous walk ending in a very disappointing salad at Cafe Bila, we decides to go the Museo Xul Solar located in the former home of the surrealist painter of the same name. Well, it’s as surreal as it gets, the windows are covered in brown paper and we can’t get in. Closed for Renovations! This seems to be a theme for many of the cultural activities s we have selected to participate in, as it is summer The Modern Museum in San Telmo is closed, many of the tango halls are closed, both Fuerzabruta and De la Guardia are on tour, and sometimes we are just up and out too late in the day and find that even the cemetery is closed! But we were able to walk into the beautiful church located right next to the cemetery whose name I never got, but the statues in there were gorgeous. It must be Ash Wednesday as I start to see multiple people with the equivalent of rather large ashen Bindi dots right in the middle of their foreheads.

We have dinner at Oviedo one of the best Spanish restaurants in town, where I am still not wowed by the food offerings. The wine however, GREAT!

We are tired and decide to make it an early night it is 11PM. We take a taxi home and receive a standing ovation from 4 men down the street as we exit the cab, for what we believe is an appreciation for our personal style.