Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fast Forward: Buenos Aires, Day Two

Spent the morning at Recoleta cemetery - a long walk after getting spooked by BA's byzanthine bus system. Found Evita's tomb easily thanks to a cheat in my guidebook. The place is certainly impressive, but it reinforced my preference of cremation: I don't understand the self-obsession that leads people to construct such elaborate postmortem edifices. In BA's main church, there is a tomb of the nation's greatest general, draped in a flag and guarded by two live soldiers in full regalia. This I can admire: a living memory for one's achievements, on behalf of those for whom they were achieved. Not a tomb celebrating someone who merely existed and was rich.

The plan was to go to the Eco Reserve and rent a bike, maybe find a capybara to hug. After a long walk through the renovated dockside (reminiscent of Bratislava's Euroembankment), I found there was no bike rental on Fridays; a minor disappointment. Decided on the restaurant of the local Catalan cultural center for lunch, hoping for an outstanding seafood risotto; not a regional specialty, but geographically appropriate and I had a great steak yesterday. That place was on vacation, so I fell back onto a dingy but cheerful Patagonian place serving unexpectedly good waffles with melted roquefort. Back to the apartment to catch up on work in the company of chocolate milk. It's unsurprising given the role of beef in Argentina's economy, but really, I can forgive many things to a nation with outstanding dairy. Got a ticket to a tango theater show for the evening, and since I didn't pay for the inevitably mediocre dinner, I don't need to get there before 10pm; so I am writing this on my phone in a local pub playing an inoffensive rock'n'roll mixtape and serving microbrews, one of which was recommended by a Brazilian friend. The Antares scotch lager was not bad, but my sixty pesos bought me a happy hour special, so my second choice was a Gambrinus Stout - unabashedly chosen for the name, identical to my hometown's artisanal beer shop. The stout is a revelation, smooth and very smoky, like something Manfred Macx would have someone buy for him. Then again, it's almost a quarter past eight and I really should down my pint and get going.


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