After more than three months on the road (15 000 km), I was glad to stop here for three weeks before my flight back home. I first took a room in the Hotel O'Rei on the crowded but interesting pedestrian Lavalle street but climbing up the stairs was hard on my knee so I changed to the King's Hotel, on Corrientes near Florida, where I enjoyed the luxury of an elevator.
This is looking west on Corrientes towards the Obelisk that you can barely distinguish in the distance. Below, two shots from my 12th floor window, looking east towards the Rio Plata and looking west towards the Obelisk.
It was a great location, in the center of the action and not far from subway stations.
I met a lot of people I had been corresponding with on the Internet but did not take pictures of all of them so let me show you a few more landmarks to add to those on the first page of this trip.
This is the elaborate Teatro Colon built in 1908, a world class opera, ballet and concert hall seating 2500 spectators in classic elegance of which porteños (residents of Bs. As.), are justly proud.
Across Plaza Lavalle from Teatro Colon is the impressive Palacio de Tribunales, the country's supreme court.
North-east of the Teatro Colon at the northern end of pedestrian Florida street, is a quiet park with this monument to "El Libertador General San Martin" and the "Torre de los Ingleses" in the background next to the Retiro train station.
Moving north-west from the Retiro area along the Avenida del Libertador, we cross the fashionable Recoleta, Palermo, Belgrano and Nuñez barrios on the way to the elite suburb of Vincente Lopez.
The modern sculpture in the UN park on the left below is in Recoleta and the "Monumento de Los Españoles" on the right is in Palermo.
Thanks to the Internet I had made the acquaintance of Mirta Lidia Schefini de Trefiletti who invited me to share asado with her family, sons Fabiano and Diego, husband Arnoldo and daughter Analia (the picture was taken by her 9 year old granddaughter Iara).
Meeting this family was priceless to understand the complex laminated Argentino society. Arnoldo is a small entrepreneur manufacturing a line of special fasteners for which he has developed a market over the years. Mirta is also an entrepreneur, she breeds Coton de Tulear and Ovejero Belga thoroughbred dogs. It is an established business but it is also a passion.
They were lucky to survive the peso devaluation without too much damage because they were self employed and because all their savings were invested in their two businesses. Most middle class families lost all their savings during the crisis and many also lost their jobs when unemployment reached record highs in 2002.
One fine Sunday, Arnoldo and Mirta brought me to Tigre where we went on a catamaran tour of the delta where the Paraná joins the Uruguay river to form the Rio Plata. Tigre is a popular weekend destination reached by road or by the pleasant "Tren de la Costa" that stops here, not far from the "Estación fluvial" where a variety of tour boats tie up.
Naturally we started with asado. I chose "cabrito" (baby goat), a delicacy that I had discovered in the Middle East that is just not available in North America.
We boarded one of these for a two hour tour.
All kinds of boats can be rented in Tigre from kayaks to cabin boats like this one.
Launches also offer transport along regular routes like busses in town.
The delta islands have become valuable real estate occupied by a variety of beach resorts.
They are all similar, a pier where customers arrive by launch, a beach, a restaurant and a few cabins but they offer more or less sophisticated services at different prices.
Here is one of the launches making its scheduled run.
Some of these resorts appear to be private.
Others are obviously private! There are many luxury hideaways in the islands but most are tucked away on smaller canals where the public transport services do not pass.
Urban legends speak of whole islands fenced in and protected by armed guards where the ultra rich entertain their politician friends. I have not seen any but it's quite possible considering the unequal distribution of wealth in Argentina.
One day I took a bus to visit La Plata, the capital of the Buenos Aires Province that surrounds the Federal Capital, Buenos Aires.
This is the "Casa de Gobierno" (executive branch), of the Buenos Aires Province.
And across the Plaza San Martin, is the provincial "Palacio de la Legislatura" (provincial parliament).
A few blocks away is the "Palacio Municipal" (city hall) in front of the wide Plaza Moreno.
On the other side of Plaza Moreno stands the neo-gothic Cathedral begun in 1885 but inaugurated only in 1932.
After looking around for a while, I got on another bus and was back in BS. As. within the hour.