Tango, Desaparecidos, Maradona

“What do you know about Buenos Aires?” That’s the question posed to Barcelonan detective Pepe Carvalho at the beginning of Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s excellent crime novel Quinteto de Buenos Aires. Carvahlo’s response mirrors what mine would have been: “Tango, desaparecidos, Maradona”. I suppose I might have added Evita. Not much else.

Tango Dancers at Boca Buenos Aires

Neither Jürgen nor I had ever been to Argentina before. Or South America, for that matter. I can’t say exactly why we chose Buenos Aires for our next three month stay; for some indefinable reason, the city has always tempted us. The words “Buenos Aires” conjure images of smoky tango clubs, chaotic street life, and beautiful, rotting decadence. The very idea of the city is alluring. Maybe it was the promise of steaks and pizza, or the reputation which Argentines enjoy of physical beauty. Whatever the reason, we arrived in February of 2011 to find a huge metropolis teeming with culture and history laid out before us, just waiting to be explored.

It’s a bit daunting: our last two stays were in the smaller cities of Oviedo, Spain and Savannah, Georgia. Our experience in Buenos Aires would be massively different. There was no chance we’d ever get to know this megalopolis as intimately as we did Savannah, or as thoroughly as Oviedo. The idea of comprehensively experiencing Buenos Aires in three months is ridiculous. Instead of our normal maturation from “bewildered newcomers” to “almost locals”, we’d never progress further than “slightly less bewildered newcomers”.

But our education began quickly. Within our first couple days in Buenos Aires, I became addicted to both mate and Carlos Gardel. By the end of the first week, I was using the word “Che” with the newspaper vendor, pronouncing my “ll”s like “zsa” and comfortable with the various cuts of beef at the parrilla down the street. Basically a local already.

Whether you’ve lived here for years or never been, we hope you enjoy our pictures and the accounts of our experiences in Buenos Aires. As already mentioned, we don’t yet know much about the city, so if you have any great recommendations, we’d love to hear them… shoot us an email. Our 91 days in Buenos Aires is underway!

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Tiffany

    Stunning photograph!!! The guy looks a lot like Matt LeBlanc. Look forward to hearing about your adventures. Buen suerte!

  2. Kristin M

    Can’t wait to read about what y’all find while you’re exploring the city!

  3. CP

    Like most big cities Buenos Aires has that intoxicating “je ne sais quois” thing that either draws you or repells you but nothing in between.
    I have been living in BA for the last 18 years and from time to time I find some new sector, corner, or dome I had never seen before. That is how big this city can be.
    It amazes me how a foreigner would usually remark the friendliness of “porteños” (those born and raised in BA city)when I consider them harsh and rude. Maybe it’s because I am a small town boy and come from the “interior” (word used to express anything located outside of the Buenos Aires bounderies)where people still treasure good manners and hospitality. But I have to admit that Porteños are not rude they are just in a hurry. For instance, to greet and say “Hey, what’s up?” they’d use “Qué hacés?”, meaning “What you’re doing?”. You got to be doing something!

    Greetings from the barrio of Congreso, just 20 minutes from wherever you are. That is also BA, anything is located within 20 minutes.


  4. Jimena

    Hope you love our BsAs as we do, yes, it seems we are in a hurry all the time, but you’ll get used to it within one week 🙂
    Have you been to Palermo?? It’s beautiful, with the Planetario, the zoo, the Japanese Garden, and beautiful parks 😀

    Enjoy! ^^

  5. Juergen

    CP – I guess it’s like in any other huge city but compared to people in Berlin for example people are super friendly.

    Jimena – we haven’t explored Palermo yet but we will soon but saw the gardens when we took the bus to the Barrio Chino.

    Again, any times (secrets) you wanna share, let us know 😉

  6. Vicky

    I’m loving your pictures! You’ve got an eye for it!
    Keep enjoying BA and sharing a experience that lots of us would love to do.

  7. Luisana

    Like most big cities Buenos Aires has that intoxicating “je ne sais quois” thing that either draws you or repells you but nothing in between. By the way i love your pictures

  8. Franklyn

    Fabulous Tango couple picture!!!! says it all.

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