Just a Walk in the Park

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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The grounds at Botanical Gardens

Today I woke up, went to the living room and found a note left by Adam which read:  "3pm - going running; 5pm - meet back here to expore Recoleta".

I looked at my watch.  It was only 12:30pm!  What was he talking about "3pm - going running"?  His door was bedroom door was shut, so I assumed he wrote the note last night, implying that he´d sleep in (and don´t bug him) until 3pm, then go for a run, and then meet me back here at 5pm. 

I looked outside.  Sunny.  Saturday.  Buenos Aires.  Not a bad combination.  I wasn´t going to wait for Adam, or wake him.  I grabbed my shoes, sunglasses, camera, and suntan lotion - and left Adam a note saying "Ok, see you at 5pm" - and hit the streets.

Botannical Gardens
  I was going to explore the parks of Palermo on this gorgeous day. 

I walked down Avenida Santa Fe, one of the main thoroughfares in the Palermo district, to Plaza Italia.  There, I stopped at a pastry shop and indulged in a dulce de leche croissant.  Then I walked through the Botannical Gardens, which were nothing special I suppose, just a nicely groomed park with signs highlighting the types of vegetation.

From Plaza Italia, I headed up another main street - dont remember the name - on my way to a couple of the major parks in Palermo.  On my right, I walked past the city zoo.  People swarmed out front, waiting to enter.  As I rounded the corner and walked further along a fence, I could peer in and see a giraffe, an ostrich, and some buffalo.

A greenhouse.
  Cool.  I took a few pictures as I watched the giraffe strain - i mean REALLY strain - to reach some of the leaves dangling just inside his pen...and just out of his reach.  A couple of times, with the wind helping him, he was able to use his loooong tongue to grab hold of a branch and get a small taste of, um, leaf.  He did have a food bin at the center of his pen - not sure what was wrong with that - but I guess the more natural, straight-from-tree food was better.  Anyway, I moved on.

I continued up the street, where now parks bordered both sides of the street.  On my left, the park had a circular path where people were biking and rollerblading, a pond, and a planetarium (which was closed for a month - damn!).  On my right, the park was simply paths and trees where people were sun bathing, picnicking, or just stolling.

A giraffe at the zoo. I didn't go into the zoo, but just peaked through the gates and managed to get a glimpse of this guy.
  Continuing up the street, I hit an airport runway!  I stood and waited for a plane to roar into the air.  Awesome.

I headed right, along the runway, and then circled back down toward the parks, where I ran into a third park.  This one had an entrance fee because it contained something special.  It had a longer, more official bike/rollerblade path - probably a couple of kilometers in length.  In the "infield" was a restaurant, as well as an old velodrome!  So you could bring your bike here and ride around the main path, or I guess take it into the velodrome and ride the track, with its steeply slanted corners!  It looked fun - I might have to come back here and rent a bicycle to do that!  For this afternoon though, since I had a 5pm deadline and still had more exploring and walking to do, I decided to take a raincheck.

Planetarium.
  I asked the woman at the entrance for the hours of operation, as well as when bike and rollerblade rentals were available, and moved on.

As I headed back down to the first two parks, I happened to walk by a Japanese Garden park.  Interesting.  So I paid the 5 pesos to enter and have a look around.  It was nice enough, I guess.  But pretty crowded and just seemed like a better place to come with your girlfriend, child, or grandmother.  Solo, I guess I wasn´t sure what I should do.  So again, I moved on.

As I approached the first two parks, the itch to rollerblade was too strong.  The more low key, casual park had a guy on the grass renting rollerblades.  I just couldn´t resist.  For 8 pesos, I picked up a pair and skated for 30 minutes around the smallish path.

You can't read this, but it says the planetarium is closed for a month. Damn.
  He said it would take 15 minutes to blade around.  I guess the Argentinians aren´t very good at blading.  I did about 5 laps in the 30 minutes, weaving in and out of bikes, bladers, walkers, etc.  It was fun.  But man was it hot!  When done, I was a wet and stinky mess!

It was 4:15pm and I now had to hustle back to the apartment to shower and meet Adam.  On the way I bought a dulce de leche helado to cool off.  (And a big bottle of water.)

At the apartment, I went to the 7th floor, to our door....and my key wouldn´t work!!  I tried for 20 minutes, trying to open it, pulling / pulling / lifting the door. (Last night the doorman had to help me as well - he had kind of tugged on the door while turning the key.

Another park that has a circular bike path, as well as a restaurant and old velodrome in the center. Pretty cool. I didn´t go in, though.
  Today, that trick just wasn´t working.)

Well, I´ll just go the lobby and wait for Adam.  It´s 5:10pm and he must just be a few minutes late, I thought.  In the lobby, I sat down on the cold tile floor and waited.  No Adam.  5:20pm.  Tired and still hot from my skate and walk, I laid down on the floor.  No Adam. 

An elderly woman resident apparently walked by me, and then used the outside telephone to call the property manager, complaining that there was a strange man on the floor of the lobby - concerned I was homeless, hurt, or dead.  The manager´s wife came out of the downstairs apartment to investigate.  Awake now, I explained to her the situation, and asked her for help - maybe she knew a trick to get my key to work.

Grounds at the Japanese gardens.
  So she went up with me to try.  No luck.  And still no Adam.

We went back downstairs and waited a few minutes for her husband to return from the store.  He arrived, and we went back up to the aparmtment.  No luck.  And still no Adam.

The husband thought maybe the key was "broken" and needed sharpening.  So he took the key with him down to the dark basement, while I stayed in the lobby, my new home.  (The wife and old woman meanwhile had gone on their merry way, leaving the men to handle this situation.)  From the lobby, I could hear scraping and scratching noises from the basement.  What was he doing to my key, I wondered.

He emerged from the basement, and we again went to the 7th floor apartment to try the new-and-improved key.

Carp in the Japanese gardens.
  No luck.  No Adam.

Then he called some kind of on site technical handy man dude.  Or maybe it was just a neighbor.  Whoever it was, he tried the key.  Then he sprayed about a pint of WD-40 into the lock to "loosen" it. No luck.  And no Adam.

I don´t even know what time it is now.  6:15pm? 

Next the husband called the "landlord" of the aparment - Maria - the woman who had originally shown us the place.  She got in her car and came over.  She was all dressed up and looking good - we obviously interrupted her evening.  She armwrestled with the keys (my keys and her own set of master keys) and door for a few minutes - all decked out in her white (and tight) pants and high heels.

Me at the Japanese gardens.
  Quite a sight.  No luck.  No Adam.

Finally she (and the rest of us) gave up - and she got in her car and went (somewhere) to bring back a locksmith.  Meanwhile - and sort of randomly - the husband took me on a brief walking tour of the neighborhood showing me 2 places to get good empanadas.  Not sure why he thought I was more interested in empanadas than in getting into my apartment - but I went with him anyway.

When we returned, the locksmith and apartment manager were there - and they had gotten into the apartment!  Finally!  The locksmith said something about the lock itself being jammed - it wasn´t the key.  (It might have been the way we shut and locked the door.)  Regardless, I tried my key again and it seemed to work.

At the park where they rent rollerblades and bikes. Hmmm, should I go rollerblading?
  Phew.  So with that, the lock/key party disbanded and I went into the apartment to figure out next steps. Where the hell is Adam - it´s 7:15pm and we were supposed to meet at 5pm!

As I had suspected, though, Adam had changed the plans and left me a new note inside the apartment - which I of course couldn´t read until now.  He said that he had totally screwed up the timing because of his cell phone clock or something - and when he said 3pm run, he meant 12pm run; and when he said meet at 5pm, he meant meat at 2pm.  His new note just gave me 2 addresses and times to meet him in Recoleta....one at 5:30pm and one at 6:30pm....because he assumed I´d get the note at 5pm! 

Here it was 7:00pm and by the time I showered and got a cab, I wouldn´t be in Recoleta until 8:00pm.

Yep, I think I should!
  Would he still be at the second location?  I didn´t know.  But despite the basic rule of thumb - if you´re lost, stay put - I decided to give it a shot.  I showered quickly and hopped a cab to the second location.  And left Adam a note in the apartment requesting that if he does come back before I get there to "Stay Here! We might have key problems!"

Lo and behold, when I got to Buller Pub in Recoleta (next to the famous Recoleta Cemeterio), there was Adam relaxing with a beer on the outdoor patio.  I sat down, immediately ordered a beer, and proceeded to vent to Adam for 30 minutes - which he was nice enough to listen to. 

We then both headed back to the apartment, where I was delighted to find that my key still worked.

Here I go!
  We changed clothes, and since it was now about 9pm on a Saturday night, we headed out for dinner and clubs. 

Tonight we decided to keep dinner easy, quick, light, cheap.  We hit one of the recommended empanada places I had toured earlier in the day - El Sanjuanino.  We each pounded down 4 empanadas that were very tasty, and them some desert which was really bad. 

Then we headed over to the Palermo Soho neighborhood where we hung out at Soul Bar, and then Jackie O Bar.  Good crowd, good venue, ok music, pretty late night.  But nothing crazy.  Sorry to disappoint.  Again. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The grounds at Botanical Gardens
The grounds at Botanical Gardens
Botannical Gardens
Botannical Gardens
A greenhouse.
A greenhouse.
A giraffe at the zoo.  I didnt go…
A giraffe at the zoo. I didn't g…
Planetarium.
Planetarium.
You cant read this, but it says t…
You can't read this, but it says …
Another park that has a circular b…
Another park that has a circular …
Grounds at the Japanese gardens.
Grounds at the Japanese gardens.
Carp in the Japanese gardens.
Carp in the Japanese gardens.
Me at the Japanese gardens.
Me at the Japanese gardens.
At the park where they rent roller…
At the park where they rent rolle…
Yep, I think I should!
Yep, I think I should!
Here I go!
Here I go!
Cool-looking condo building.  I wa…
Cool-looking condo building. I w…
Street closed for Dakar - a 15 day…
Street closed for Dakar - a 15 da…
Locked out of room.
Locked out of room.
Adam nicely color-coordinated his …
Adam nicely color-coordinated his…