A very nice overnight bus, complete with meals, blanket and pillow, got me to Buenos Aires from Posadas. There are no world heritage sites in the city although I did take a day trip across to Uruguay to visit one there, for which see the next post.
For the other four days here I poked around the Sunday antiques market, explored the city centre and the now smart docks, attempted to visit museums on a Tuesday when they all seem to be closed and indulged my love of graves (and cats) in the Recoleta cemetery.
The cemetery contains notable Argentinians, including Eva Peron, but for me the appeal was in the architecture of the family tombs, almost all of which are an above ground chapel ranging from the tiny to the grand with a deep crypt below accessed by steps or ladders. Coffins are stacked up on shelves below ground but also in the chapels themselves, sometimes covered in lacy cloths.
Not all of the tombs are still cared for of course, with the glass in the grilled doors broken and in a few cases the coffins coming open. I really wanted to see what was left inside but sadly could not.
The range of tomb styles is wide (although not quite as much as those I saw in Havana) and because they are crammed in next to one another, they make the placed feel like a miniature city.
The bulk of them made me think of houses, modern glass fronted ones look like shops, the gothic ones are churches, whilst the poor houses are just concrete boxes, presumably those of families on limited budgets.
I liked Buenos Aires although I did feel slightly nervous now and then – a feeling not helped by being told that two people from my hostel were relieved of their backpacks at knifepoint just around the corner at midday. I was also the target of an attempted pickpocketing – the kind where someone squirts something icky on your clothes and then offers (or an accomplice does) to help you clean up thereby getting close enough to rob you. This failed on me because I wasn’t especially bothered initially, being so inured to travel grubbyness, and then realised what was going on and got well away from the woman proffering tissues. I did have go back to hostel to the hostel to wash my clothes though.
I should mention tango, the dance of the city. I’m not really into watching dance of any kind and did not plan to go out of my way to watch any tango. There were a few couples tangoing out in the square at the centre of the antique market area though and I stopped to watch them. And was entirely underwhelmed, quite failing to see what the fuss was about. Then later, I was having lunch in a tiny cafe on a balcony in a big house converted into market, when two of the staff started dancing and finally I got it. They smouldered.