I have been back in Switzerland since quite a while but I still haven't finished my blog completely...
So I go mentally back to Buenos Aires and tell you about my trip.
After having arrived at Buenos Aires I tried to quickly find out what I could and should do in one day there. I was really curious about this big city and I wanted to avoid to only be waiting there for the next flight because this would have stretched the duration of my trip a lot.
In the morning I go out for a short walk and at 1030 am I meet the “city walkers” at Plaza Colon. Until the opera of Sydney has been build the Teatro Colon was the biggest opera in the world and it's of great renown. You can find free city walking tours in many towns. The idea is that you can walk with the guide, learn a lot not only about the history but also about the people living in the town and in the end you pay as much as you estimate the value of your experience.
I decide to go for the “Recoleta Tour” because I really want to discover this famous cemetery. Buenos Aires (BA) is a real “mish-mash” of different styles of architecture. The reason is that the aristocracy of BA always looked where else there are representative buildings and copied them – of course bigger and even fancier. If you stand on one place in BA and turn around you will therefor see at least five buildings of different styles and epochs. Unfortunately this is also the reason there is no historic centre of the city. Many of these splendid buildings today serve for embassies.
We have nice spring weather what makes it perfect to walk around.
Besides getting to know something about the city I also take advantage of the group to use my camera. The D800 I took with me is my small camera but in a country where even some professionals use small consumer cameras it looks very conspicuous. As I am coming from safe Switzerland it's difficult for me to decide where it's safe and where not...
Sometime in the morning I receive a call that I can go to a private street art tour in the afternoon. Im looking very forward to this because I will be able to see a different face of the city.
The city tour is very interesting but we are still far away from Recoleta... I know that I have to go back to my hostel at 2 pm in order to be ready for my street art tour at 3 pm. But still we are not on the cemetery... The tour should have been finished around half past one, now it's past 2 pm and I can eventually catch a glimpse of the entrance gate to the cemetery. I start thinking about going back to my hostel by bus or metro. But what if I take the wrong one or miss my station? Taxi? I remember that my guide book warned of fake taxis... So which ones are the good ones? The radio taxis, ok, good. We finally arrived on the cemetery and I like it immediately. (The rest of the tour was interesting and nice to see but I chose this tour because I fell in love with this kind of mausoleums on cemeteries a long time ago.) I take some photos and head to the taxi stand.
The taxi brings me fast (and cheap) back to my hostel.
Shortly after I meet Matt for my private street art tour. He immediately begins to tell me about the street art in BA. Unfortunately I cannot remember all the details! In order to get quickly from one mural to the other we have a private car with a driver. This is quite luxurious! I know that not all the places we are going are considered as safe but I trust that Matt or the driver would tell me what to do if they had any doubts. (I wouldn't dare to come here alone!) As always in BA the car's doors are locked as soon as you are inside.
The murals we are going to see are breathtaking. Most of them are paintings not graffitis. Often I am so concentrated on one work I only discover the one besides when Matt tells me... We visit murals in San Telmo, Barracas and La Boca. It would be nice to have little bit more time. For the experience and for really good photos. And of course a tilt-shift lens and a tripod would be great...
We meet some people who know Matt. Even we visit some very poor quarters the people are open and friendly.
It seems that here in Buenos Aires street art has some different roots: some artist decide to live somewhere and start painting their surroundings. Sometimes also authorities initiate street art in order to improve live quality in a quarter. The art works often are very political or full of social criticism.
Unfortunately time passes way too fast, I have to go back to my hostel to get prepared for my flight back to Europe. But I'm very happy with my day here in Buenos Aires. The private tour cost me USD 150.- – a lot of money – but it was really worth it! And I don't know if I will ever go back to BA...
My transfer to the airport arrives little bit too early and I hurry a bit because I don't want him to wait. The driver and I begin to talk, he first says that his “Inglés es nada” but it turns out that it's definitely better than my Spanish! The drive takes about an hour. He speaks to someone on his walkie-talkie and I learn that his mother has cancer a should have a certain medicine and he doesn't know where you can buy it in Argentina... I haven't really understood how that works but I know that massive taxes are put on all products from abroad (around 30 %) and therefor you can hardly find such products. There is a growing inflation of around 30 % per year what means that Argentinian people can hardly save any money. They would like to change their pesos in USD but they are not allowed to.
I realize that I still have my hostels key in my pocket... Gosh!
Arrived at the airport I join the queue. But soon I get informed I should first go to the auto-check-in. Typically south american, many people with not so much to do... (at a gas station in Chile we counted 2 customers and 5 shop assistants, one to make coffee, on at the cash desk, one to control the one at the cash desk and so on...) I line up in front of the auto-check-in and try to take as less space as possible with my ski bag. The machine prints me an information that auto-check-in is not possible... I go back to the first queue which is much longer now. I get checked in by a very nice man who even speaks English.
Now I have time to eat something. Afterwards I go through the security check and again I don't think they take it very serious... At least I have to open my back pack. And then I have to wait until my flight leaves at 1155 pm. I have a look at my pictures and reflect my day.
This time the plane is much newer and also the crew seems more motivated than when I was coming. I'm happy about having an aisle seat, little bit more space for my legs! After some time I get sleepy but unfortunately they start to distribute dinner... At 0130 am...! 0630 am in European time...! I just think when we will have food the next time and decide not to eat. It's difficult to sleep now... After dinner the window curtains have to be closed. I fall asleep. I get awake around 0800 am (Argentinian time) but it's still dark in the plane. 3 hours later, around 4 pm in Europe, we get our breakfast. Another 3 hours to go! Still dark in the plane...
At Madrid I have to directly pass a new security control. I hear a “beep” and I get body checked, have to take off my shoes and so on... I spend the 3 waiting hours with walking around, working on my pictures, eating.
The last bit for today. I again have a business class ticket for this Swiss flight. This is so great! “Madam, would't you like to sit here, it's less noisy”, “would you like to have a news paper”, “can we bring you something to drink” and so on... I could get used to this...!
Arrived at Geneva I have to find my ski bag and a taxi. As soon as I tell the address to the taxi driver he begins to swear. After his opinion I could have taken a shuttle bus because the hotel is so closed to the airport. Later I ask at the hotel if there is a shuttle. No.
The trip back was much more pleasant because it was shorter (only from BA, not from Ushuaia), less waiting time in between the flights, newer airplane on the transatlantic flight and the business class to finish).
At Zermatt I first look for a laundry facility and then go on a spending spree...
Link to the street art tour: http://buenosairesstreetart.com