Buenos Aires Day 2 (Rich)

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After sleeping in a little we finally got motivated to leave the hotel around 11AM. Of course this also was the beginning of the hottest part of the day on a day that would reach 107 degrees.

We trudged through the busy streets on our way to the Pacificos shopping mall in search of flip flops for me, something I realized I had forgotten on the plane ride over. After about 30 minutes we arrived covered in sweat and began our search for size 12 flip flops. Of course we had no success in and in fact many of the stores didn't even carry flip flops of any size. We decided to take a quick lunch break in the food court and found a healthy food place that looked promising. We split some sushi which was quite good and decided to head back since we had glanced at each store in the mall. Outside we found ourselves on Calle Florida (Florida Street) which is a pedestrian mall and a fairly famous tourist destination in the city. The street itself was a hub of activity with various shops lining the street, many with their own touts yelling about the deals inside from the front of the store. In addition there were guides hawking tours and most surprisingly a LOT of young men trying to change money (and offering rates 30% higher than the official rate). I have been to a fair number of countries and the general rule of thumb is that you should never change money on the black market and of course the general life principle that if it something appears to be good to be true, it likely leave you broke or bleeding in a foreign hospital, but more about the money changers later. I finally did find some flop flops after a trio of very helpful women at the shoe store searched through the back stock, and we made our way back to the hotel to prepare for the wine tasting we scheduled for 3pm.

The wine tasting was quite nice, we had a lively crew from the New York, San Francisco, Washington DC (a woman who we would find out later was a friend of a friend), France, and even a couple of locals from Buenos Aires. We sampled a delicious sparkling wine called Hom, and then had a famous Argentinian white wine of the Torrent├Ęs variety. The small snacks they served were delicious and we ended the day with three different red wines (including, of course, a Malbec). We learned a lot about Argentinian wines. After the tasting we wandered around the Palermo Soho neighborhood a short while and then headed back home to take a short siesta and get ready for dinner.

We decided to head to the Palermo Soho neighborhood for dinner as it is supposed to be a lively and fun area at night time. One thing that was quite unique was that we drove through many parts of the city was that block by block some places had power and some did not. This was apparently a source of contention that had led to protests in some parts of the city. I suspect (although I don't know) that the government is controlling what areas have power and what areas are subject to blackouts, as we noticed that the nicer neighborhood we stayed in (Recoleta) had no areas without power. In either case, the residents of Buenos Aires were unbroken in spirit, as we noticed that even in the 90+ degree heat many bars and restaurants without power still have customers eating by candlelight into the night.

We started at Plaza Serrano which is supposed to the center of the area and we decided to walk around until we found something that caught our eye. The restaurants around the Plaza were sort of underwhelming. It reminded me of Adams Morgan (in DC), mostly an emphasis on drinking and the restaurants appeared to be more like bars that served some food rather than vice-versa. We made our way away from the Plaza and found a nice Mexican restaurant that had seats outdoors and a guitar player that was performing. Although there was a slight drizzle we bought a bottle of wine and generally enjoyed the people watching for the next couple of hours. We caught a cab home and noticed our driver was playing Arctic Monkeys which is a band I really enjoy from the UK. We struck up a conversation about music and it turns out he is in a local band called "The Breakfasters" which plays locally in Buenos Aires. He even played us a couple of songs as we drove home.

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