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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Buenos Aires - on the way to Antarctica!

We arrived Thursday, January 16 in Buenos Aires. Our flight time from Detroit, connecting (and laying over for 4.5 hours) in Miami was 16 and a half hours. Long flight, but what a city!

Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city in Argentina and the second largest metropolitan area in South America after Brazil's Sao Paulo. It is located on the Rio de la Plata (which your novice Spanish speaker now knows is the River of Silver). The population of Buenos Aires is 13 million.

The architecture is beautiful and surprising. Many building are European in style and the city is known as the Paris of South America. Many Europeans settled in Buenos Aires and a surprising percentage of residents in Buenos Aires are Italian or of other European descent. Our guide's name was Martin Solari.

The political situation in Argentina has been tentative for many years. Presidents come and go and inflation is a way of life. We spent time with Joel Goldman, who is a journalist for ABC. He is an American, married to an Argentinian woman with two children. He has lived in Argentina for 25 years. He explained that over the last 20 years, the Argentinean peso has added 13 zeros to its currency. There were periods where educated Argentinians fled the country. Canada solicited Argentinian physicians and many left the country. (Do you know how Ecuador has dealt with their inflation?  Remember that President Correa was friends with Hugo Chavez. - they use the US dollar as their currency!)

Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) attempts to share political history as part of the experience. We have found this information very interesting in many countries where we have traveled. Usually the discussion takes place during bus travel, as not to expose our guides true conversation.

We enjoyed dinner at a Tango Club and learned about the dance and the music. Did you know there are famous Tango singers? We do now! Do you recognize this couple?

Did you know Pope Francis is from Buenos Aires? How about his history as a chemical technician and a night club bouncer before entering the seminary? He was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires and we visited his church in Buenos Aires.

Finally, what visit to Argentina would be complete without stopping at Recoleta, where Eva Peron is buried in the Duarte family vault. I really wonder how happy she would be to be buried in the wealthiest area of Buenos Aires in the most expensive cemetery. Seems like the working class poor cemetery might be more appropriate for her wishes. Needless to say, she is revered in Argentina and her likeness is emblazoned on one of the large buildings along the main street of Buenos Aires.

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