December 23rd, 2007 – by: ekondra
A picture of the fam on Christmas Eve
Getting older brings its benefits. All of my siblings and I are finally at the age where we can take cool family vacations. As children we were really lucky to have parents that valued taking us on camping trips, showing us beautiful sights and trying to make us experience new cultures. Unfortunately we weren't able to go together to another country besides Canada/Mexico until very this Christmas. It was so neat to not only experience another culture/community myself but I also got to be there with my family. We got to see so much together that we won't forget anytime soon.
Buenos Aires is so culturally diverse. We were in BA from the 23-30 but I still don't feel like I had time to see it all We had wanted to go to Uruguay but we just didnt plan to far in advance (note to self: if going to Uruguay.
BA on Christmas Eve night
..book ferry tickets early!). Oh well...we had forgotten our passports anyways. Oh, I forgot to mention that instead of staying in a hotel the entire time we were in BA we rented an apartment. I feel that renting let us experience this culture in a different way. We were able to go grocery shopping, cook our own food, learn about our neighborhood, and stay away from the touristy restaurants/areas. I was actually told that BA would be crawling with tourists around December holidays but because of where we stayed I think we missed that. I didnt really see a lot of tourists until our last day when I was leaving. There are so many fun markets and areas of town to check out. We saw live music shows, tango shows, street performers, art displays, clubs.
A view of Recoletta Cemetary from the top
..basically so much its hard to even comprehend. Christmas in BA is different than in the States. Their big celebration is actually on Christmas Eve and they have fireworks and everyone parties. I was sick so I wasn't able to go with my sister and brother as they went to a random party in the neighborhood. That's what travelling is all about!
One of the major sites we visited was the Recoletta Cemetary. This place is famous for being the place that Evita Peron was buried in. This cemetary is unlike any I have ever seen. Basically it is a city of mausoleums. You have to have a map to get around and know where everything is! I took a lot of pictures here. We found one mausoleum from a man who lived to be a hundred years old (1788-1888).
Eva Peron's mausoleum
He was a very old man for his time. His mausoleum was made of round stones. Most of the other ones (some are VERY new) were made of marble, granite or some other nice looking material. Eva Peron's didn't really stand out besides the amount of plaques on the walls and how many people were snapping pictures. I think it would be weird if a family member was buried in there because you have to visit with a lot of tourists. Maybe it works for people...
By the time I got to BA I was totally pictured out. I didn't really take a lot of pictures here except in one area of town, called El Caminito. All of the colorful pictures are from this area of the city. Some say that it is the birthplace of Tango.
El Caminito, BA
..but everyone tells you a different story. What I do know is that Caminito is the port area of the city. This is where all the major ships would come in and dock. So obviously music and dancing was around this area because that is where the sailors come in. Interesting fact though...the reason that there are many colors on the building is because residents of the area, wanting to make there places look better, would take the leftover paint from the ships and paint their houses with is. I'm not sure why there are so many paper mache people around, but I do know that you can get some great paintings and other crafts. I scored a really cool 3D painting here.
After Caminito we went to see a live Tango show.
An action shot of my sister Tango dancing...
Everyone talks about tango in Argentina, as well they should. This place we went to was so small and intimiate. Probably only 50 people at most could fit into the cramped space. They had four professional dancers and three completely different music acts that would rotate throughout the night. You could stay as long as you wanted for one flat rate (which is different than other shows that only let you stay for the dinner hour). It was so small that the performers would come out and get you to dance with them. So not only did we see a tango show in Argentina, but we PERFORMED in a Tango show in Argentina. That was one of the coolest experiences ever and I am now in love with Tango music.
Having even this small taste of South America has really inspired me to learn Spanish and go back.
A tree lined street in BA
I do not speak Spanish except for a few important phrases. But I was still able to communicate with the people around me. I think because we were staying in a neighborhood away from the tourist areas, we were forced to speak more Spanish. This was a good thing. At the end of the two weeks I was getting more comfortable with the Spanish I did know and I even felt confident enough to get my hair cut!