Having said that, Buenos Aires...
Having said that, Buenos Aires has by far more European than Latin flavor to It. Including its people, which are mainly descendentans of Italian, Spanish and from other European countries. Buenos Aires, also has the largest Jewish community in all of South America. There is also a large, Lebanese and Middle Eastern community in this City. In any case, people watching is a favorite in Buenos Aires. Way back when, I was there, It was extremely hot, around 35 degres celcius, still I decided to take a walk from the hotel exploring the city. When I left the hotel, I got some of the dirtiest look from other people, I did not understand, why?, later on, I found out, since I was wearing shorts, this was a (no,no), in such a sophisticated city, people will frowned upon you. I really do not know, if they still do, at this time.
Buenos Aires is the home of Tango.
While you are in the city do your best to visit a tango show. I thought that as I hadn't booked in advance I wouldn't have a hope of getting to a show at a few hours notice, but in fact our hotel had a choice of two available to us.
We were also offered a third show at a new hotel, but be wary as this is not a tango show.
One interesting thing to note is that although Argentina is recognised as the birth place of Tango, in fact the most famous tango music of all, La Cumparsita, was composed in Uruguay.
There are loads of stray cats in Buenos Aires... most of them live in groups in parks, hospitals or abandoned houses. There's always someone who takes pity of them and feeds them. You'll see many at Jardin Botanico (Botanical Gardens).
Unless you were looking for the Piazzolla Tango Centro de Arte, you could easily pass by the entrance to the arcade that leads of Florida at No 165, down near the Peru subte station but, believe me, the very ordinary entrance and parade of shops down the length of the Galería Güemes hide a real gem of Buenos Aires early 20th century architecture and the one of most beautiful interiors in the city.
A splendid mix of styles, Art Nouveau, Neoclassical and a touch of Gothic, all marble, bronzes and magnificent glass, the 14 story building was designed by the same Italian architect as the Cafe Molina. With a lower level theatre, cabaret venue and restaurant, the 116 meter long shopping arcade on the ground floor, offices overlooking calle San Martin, apartments overlooking Florida all culminating in another restaurant with an observation deck on the 14th floor, there was nothing to in the city to compare with it when the doors opened in 1915. One famous resident French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
As with so many of BA's wonderful buildings, the depression and political upheavals of the 20th century saw it fall into neglect and disuse, the theatre close and the grand fittings become shabby and worn. A recent restoration has restored all the wonderful details to their former glory - the glass domes in the roof are stunning, the marble gleams and the gilding looks like new. Even the theatre has ben reopened to house the Piazzolla Tango show in what is considered by many to be the most beautiful Tango palace in the city.
Shopping for all things literary....
El Ateneo is primarily a book store, but has other merchandise, too. Our son suggested that we stop here and we were glad he did. I've never seen so many books in one place before! He was hunting something to take back to the kids--he found a fantastic book about dinosaurs.
We perused the book shelves and the place in general. It was a beautiful former theater that has been renovated to house a bookstore. There are traces of its old glory-- elaborate carvings and touches of elegance that came from a bygone day. When you are in Buenos Aires, be sure to visit El Ateneo! Books, CD's, postcards Average