Pickpockets, priests and Texans
Aug 16- Went to dinner last night at TGIF near the cemetery. We had steak fajitas and bacon covered ribs. Very tasty. We decided watching a subtitled movie would probably be annoying, so we opted for St Patrick's Irish Pub and sat down for 2 Argentinean "Beerenpot" stouts. Very strong flavor and we were so full from dinner it took us an hour to drink a pint. We had to leave though, they started playing disco music... That alone was enough to make you nauseous!
This morning we took a taxi across town for 200 pesos ($7 USD) to San Telmo. Our plan is to spend 2 nights in each district until fly time. The hostel wasn't expecting us to arrive at 11 am. So we sat in the lobby to wait. The front desk staff took pity on us and brought us a tray of small ham and cheese sandwiches, croissants, OJ, and coffee.
She went away and upon return told us she had woken up the college tenant that was in our designated room and told him they needed the room.
"No, no, no! " We said, "it's ok! We can wait! "
But she'd already evicted the poor chap. We felt really bad. We trudged our packs up the stairs and unpacked. Then we headed out on foot to explore the area.
San Telmo is really close to central downtown Buenos Aires, which means there are ALOT of people here! Buenos Aires has 3 million people, I think we crossed paths with half those today... I've never experienced this many people in one area before. It's a bit much. But we made the best of it, minding our situational awareness with every step. Everything written and everyone we've met has warned us about heavy-duty professional pickpockets in this area. So on guard we were, all day as we weaved our way thru crowded sidewalks and hordes of people in the parks... Mentally draining is what that is!!
We went into a Catholic church during mass, saw a confessional booth (never seen one before) and there was a priest sitting in there. I considered kneeling on the confession thing, but didn't have a clue what to do and didn't feel like getting dragged out of a church by my ear again (long story from my rebellious teen years)... But we took pics and videos of the singing priests and beautiful architecture inside.
We walked a couple miles to see the famous Obelisk of Buenos Aires on 9th de Julio street. We walked thru Central Plaza and saw the masses, marveled at the architecture, stopped in and perused antique stores, bypassed an overpriced comic book store, walked thru a Christmas store and laughed at the ridiculously priced gawdy ornaments, had coffee in a Starbucks store, watched street musicians play soulful music in the square, then stopped into a bank to withdraw money from the ATM only to realize we had left our cards in our packs back in our room...
So we headed back to the room. We were both just plain exhausted!! So we took a much needed siesta!! We woke up at 8 pm, just in time to head to dinner. Both ravenous from our 4 mile walk and nothing substantial since last nights dinner, we went to a steakhouse named Desnivel, a highly rated local joint that had rave reviews on their steaks.
Nate got a ribeye with fried eggs and salad, I got a tenderloin steak covered in mushroom sauce. I couldn't even finish mine, but it was really good!
While we were sitting there, we noticed two ladies sitting behind Nate were speaking English and sounded very American. We guessed they were from the South. Nate struck up a conversation with them. We found out they were travelling thru Argentina as well and were headed for Brazil. They were from Texas.
After basically going 5 weeks without talking to anyone who was fluent in English (Eddie Cohen and Dee Garden in Colonia, Uruguay being our last English-speaking contacts many weeks ago) we reveled in the conversation. It was so great to connect with fellow Americans with such an easy going casual conversation, it made us realize how much we really miss home!! We gave them our blog info and parted ways.
Happy travels to the two ladies we met tonight, we hope you have safe travels and wonderful memories made! Thanks for chatting with us tonight! It was refreshing!!