April 13, 2006
Andrea Visit Day 5
On the agenda for today was the zoo, art museum, and a tango show. Dan called up his friend Kathleen, who he met on the Antarctica cruise, to see if she wanted to hang out with us for the day. She did and we made plans to meet her at the zoo at 11am. This was one of the earlier starts for us. (Dan Says: 11am might as well still be the middle of the night.)
We grabbed a taxi and had one of the more enjoyable and safe rides I've had here or anywhere. (Dan Says: I would call it a slow-and-boring Grandpa ride, not a fun one like we normally get.) Although the weather has been very nice here it's is fall. Which is strange because back home it is spring. (Dan Says: For some strange, unknown reason, the seasons are backwards in this crazy land. Hopefully, scientists will figure out the reason why someday.) Using Dan as a translator, I found out from the cab driver that the leaves on the trees would turn various shades of yellow and most trees would drop there leaves. The driver also pointed out a lot of the sites along the way. One thing we hadn't heard about was the Japanese and Botanical gardens, which we might check out tomorrow. The funniest thing was that the driver thought I was Dan's wife. I was rather horrified at the thought. (Dan Says: Hey, you could do a lot worse.)
We arrived at the zoo a bit early. This gave Dan some time to try and figure out what our ticket options were. Kathleen arrived on time and it was very nice to again meet someone new. Kathleen is originally from somewhere in the Boston area I believe. She is also a teacher and applied to graduate school in Madison, which I where I am currently attending. I had a great time talking with her throughout the day and it was especially fun for us to gang up on Dan. (Dan Says: I knew it was a bad idea to go walking around with two s all day.)
The zoo here is very nice. Dan said it was the nicest zoo he's been to in South America. We saw the basics of every zoo: lions, elephants, apes, giraffes, etc. There were some I hadn't ever seen, but since all the signs were in Spanish it was almost impossible for me to get much out of it. They did have 2 Andean Condors, which are endangered I believe. They even had a few Holsteins! (Dan Says: Are those endangered too?)
It was about 2pm when we finished at the zoo which meant it was time for lunch. We went to a little cafe to get pasta. Mealtime has probably been the most frustrating part of the trip. I can't read the menu and I'm not going to have Dan read the whole thing. Even if he did I wouldn't remember it anyway. I just never know what I'm going to get. (Dan Says: What you call "frustrating" I call "exciting.") I've never really ended up with anything that bad though. Lunch probably took about an hour and a half so it was a nice to take a bit of a break.
Kathleen continued on with us to the museum of modern art. It took us almost two hours to view the whole first floor. We were quite tired towards the end. We had done a lot of walking that day and weren't done yet. Most of what we saw was European art. I saw pieces by Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, and Picasso. When we got to the end of the first floor we realized they had a whole other floor of art from Argentina. We were pretty tired though and still wanted to go to the cemetery where Eva Peron was buried. Besides you can only look at so much art in one day, so we decided to move on.
On the way to the cemetery we went to take pictures of this flower monument we had seen several times driving around the city. It is a rather large metal flower that opens in the morning with the sun and closes in the evening. I think it might be one of my favorite things I have seen in the city. As we made our way towards the cemetery someone was setting up metal frameworks for the market. Kathleen said that there is a craft market on Saturdays, but since tomorrow is Good Friday they must be setting up for tomorrow as well. She said it's very good, so it might be worth checking out. At this point it was decided we were due for another break, so ice cream it was. About two days into trip Dan and I realized we had either beer or wine and ice cream or something close to it everyday. We thought it might be good if we kept up the tradition. We stopped at a place called Freddo, which was pretty posh for an ice cream shop. We were in the Recolota neighborhood which is very nice. I like all the shops and parks. It has a very upscale atmosphere. We had to wait awhile, but it was worth it. The ice cream was excellent. We have gone to different places and tried different flavor each day and it just gets better and better.
Kathleen had already gone to the cemetery so we said our goodbyes and she headed back to where she was staying. It was about 6pm now and we quickly realized we were out of luck as the cemetery was closed. This is a must see attraction so we will have to go back tomorrow. We had spent all day walking so we grabbed a taxi back to our hostel. However, we were not done yet. We still had to see a tango show. Two different tango shows were recommended and we went with the cheaper of the two. We had just enough time to clean up a bit and it was time to go again.
The show was at a restaurant only 5 blocks away so we walked. There was a short line outside and only certain people were being let in. I'm not really sure what was going on, but I guess it was just a free for all. Whoever was more aggressive in talking to the door guy, got in. (Dan Says: The concept of standing in line doesn't really exist here, which sucks for me as a tourist. If I push my way to the front, I'm just a rude tourist who thinks he's better than everyone else. If I wait patiently, I never get to the front.) We didn't have to wait long though before we were let in. We were led through a rather fancy dinning room, downstairs were the show was. Dan and I were seated at a small table with another couple, in front next to the right side of the stage. We took a brief look at the menu, but drinks were way overpriced, so we decided to skip it. I figured that the whole show couldn't just be dancing as that might get a little boring. In the end, I wasn't overly impressed with the show. There was very little tango and the rest was signing and dialog, which I couldn't understand a word of. Although from what Dan explained there wasn't much of a plot. It was a bit of a disappointment, but I'm still glad to have experienced it. Although the city is known for tango, not that many people dance it. Tango is only popular in one or two neighborhoods. La Boca has several well know tango bars or clubs. We might have been better off just going there to watch everyday people dancing the tango for their own fun.
The walk back to the hostel was rainy and windy. By the time we got back I was cold and soaked. We stayed at the hostel hoping the rain would stop. It wasn't long before it was safe to venture out again. Green olives are found on pizza all the time here so we got that for supper. There were only five whole olives on the pizza with stones in yet and it was too greasy for Dan to eat. (Dan Says: That's the type of pizza I usually get here, which is why I don't like it.) It was even a bit greasy for me, but it was still good. While we were eating we kept hearing the sound of either a dying cat or a screaming baby. We couldn't quite tell which. After the first few times I heard it I started looking around to see what the heck was going on. Dan seemed unbothered by it, but eventually the noise got to him as well. We could see that the sound was coming from this guy would occasionally pound on a box on the ground with a stick. Every time he did that you would hear the terrible cat scream. No one seemed to even notice, so we were curious as to what was going on. Dan asked the waitress what was going on. The guy was selling a device for your mouth that would make the dying cat noise. Who would want to buy that? I do not know. (Dan Says: It's always been a dream of mine to pretend I'm beating a cat to death in a box. Now, thanks to this miracle device, my dream is a reality.) Mystery solved anyway. We had to leave soon after because two different hungry bums wanted our left over pizza.
We decided to go out to an actual bar as we hadn't done that yet. The first place we went into was crowded, very loud, and smoky. Typical bar, I know, but not quite what I was in the mood for. Besides we had been waiting at the bar for five minutes and still hadn't gotten served. We ended up going into an Irish pub, that wasn't very Irish. It was Irish in decor and that's about it. They didn't have any Guinness or any other Irish beer for that matter. They did have a small Miller Lite sign up, but none for sale. :( (Dan Says: The drinks were way too expensive, and we were exhausted after a long day of sight-seeing, so we made the extremely long walk back to the hostel after one beer.)