Toto, I’ve A Feeling We’re Not In Korea Anymore

It has now been one full week since we arrived in Buenos Aires. Sometimes I’m not sure where we are, and then I hear a snippet of Spanish on the street and I remember. Or I see the real cheese and deli-sliced ham in the fridge and it reminds me – we’re not in Korea anymore.

We’ve been busy in this past week – the life of an unemployed tourist isn’t all long novels and exquisite baked goods (though it’s some of that, too). Every day, we walk. Anywhere. Everywhere. Nowhere.

We step out of our beautiful little rented apartment and we set off in the direction of a new barrio. At first, we started small, exploring our immediate neighborhood of San Telmo. Despite the many debates over which barrio is the best, choosing San Telmo was a no-brainer for us. It’s the oldest area in the city, all treacherous cobbled streets, sidewalk cafes, and antique shops.

San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
I don’t even know if this place is good, but the shopfront/bicycle combo makes me want to eat there.
Llama graffiti in San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
I want to frame this and hang it in my home.
Skeletons in San Telmo, Buenos Aires
Reminds me of my favorite childhood book, “The Funnybones.” Please tell me if you know this book.
Rooftop in San Telmo, Buenos Aires
Our apartment building has rooftop access. All this for $26 a night.

After some experimentation, we’ve chosen our go-to fruit and vegetable stands and roamed happily through the aisles of the local supermarket shouting about our latest finds.

“Look, over here! Brown bread!”

“Oh, my god, look at all of these varieties of pasta.”

“Wine! Two whole aisles of wine!”

“Jared. Hummus.”

Our town in Korea was really small.

Aside from the maniacal buses zooming down the narrow streets, I love it.

Tomorrow will be our first taste of the San Telmo Sunday Market: eleven blocks of antiques for sale, tango dancers, street performers, and food hawkers. I’ve already decided that tomorrow’s lunch is coming from one of those street vendors, though what I’ll eat I don’t know.

We’ve yet to go out for a meal (4 months of travel calls for a budget), but I’ve managed to squeeze in a daily sugar fix – be it gelato, alfajores, churros, or a submarino with dulce de leche brownie cheesecake.

Florencio, Recoleta, Buenos Aires
A submarino: frothy hot milk and chunks of chocolate. Unbelievably delicious cake optional but recommended.
Submarino at Florencio, Recoleta, Buenos Aires
Drop the chocolate in, stir, and enjoy. Cheesy grin optional.

I know. How do I even make time for regular meals?

But I figure it’s okay, because we’re doing a lot of walking.

To get our bearings, we took a free walking tour of Buenos Aires with BA Free Tours. For three hours, we walked around the city center in the last of the winter wind, taking in sights like the Obelisk and the Pink House. We even saw our first protest. Apparently the porteños (BA natives) stage 3 to 4 protests per day. Long live freedom of speech, right?

The pink house, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Pink House. Think 10 Downing Street or 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The obelisk, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The obelisk, smack in the city center. This is where the hordes flock to celebrate Argentinian football victories.
Protest in Buenos Aires, Argentina
“Get a picture of me and the protest,” he says. So this is what gets Jared jazzed to pose for a photo.

A couple of days later we walked, open-mouthed, through the Recoleta Cemetery, the most amazing collection of crypts I’ve ever encountered (OK, maybe the only one). It’s a little architectural wonder of a village, filled with crumbling statues, climbing ivy, and lazy cats.

Oh, and dead people, I guess. Best not to think about it.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Not a place I’d like to visit in the nighttime, but it provides hours of daytime entertainment.
Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Eerily pretty. Never thought I’d want to hang out in a cemetery.
Cat in Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires
I really wanted to pet this cat, but really didn’t want to lose an eye.
Eva Peron's grave in Recoleta, Argentina
After vanishing for 16 years and being flown to Italy and Spain, Eva Peron’s body was finally interred in the family crypt at Recoleta Cemetery. Don’t cry for her, though.

And as if all that walking wasn’t enough, we’re also in the final stages of training for a half-marathon. This seemed like a brilliant idea months ago when we signed up, but now that September 9th is a week away, I’m just ready for it to be over.

We’ve been alcohol-free and diet-conscious (okay, Jared‘s been diet-conscious) for the month leading up to the race. Once we cross that finish line, we’ll be free to try all of these enticing San Telmo bars and I can finally crack open the Argentinian red wine that’s been taunting me.

Llama Cabernet Sauvingon in Argentina
Yes. I bought the wine solely because it had a llama on the label.

Until then, I’ll probably eat cake. And run through the nearby nature reserve. And walk anywhere I can. And start our 4 weeks of Spanish lessons. And fall stone-cold asleep at 8:30 every night because apparently jet lag still has me in its clutches.

And I’ll love every minute of it.


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    1. That thing alone was worth the flight to Argentina! The problem is, there are so many things I want to try, I haven’t had a chance to have a second submarino!

  1. First, the submarino is GENIUS! As is the cake.

    Second, I must have that hanging in my home too.

    Third – I know the Funnybones, too! It was also a television show in the UK.

    Fourth – please send me a crate of cheese, pronto. It has to arrive before March.

    1. 1. Can you believe I haven’t had a second submarino yet? I don’t know what I’m thinking.
      2. I pass it every day and it only grows more endearing with time. I’m going to try and replicate it in my sketch pad. If it goes well, copies will be made available to all and sundry.
      3. It was a SHOW? How did I not know this? Ugh my whole childhood was a lie.
      4. One crate of cheese, coming right up.

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