As much as we all love Buenos Aires,
and I decided that we desperately needed a change of scenery. Thus, we decided
to take an excursion. Initially, we all wanted to go to Uruguay for a
day, but looking at our expense accounts, we decided that it would be more
prudent to go to the Argentine country side. This way we could save a lot of
money but still be able get away from the city. We looked through the sacred
guide book and decided that El Tigre would be our best bet.
our journey by taking the subte, the subway, to the Retiro Omnibus Station.
Papparazzi aka Brandon
This is the main bus and train terminal in Buenos Aires
. Everyday, massive amounts of
people catch trains and buses that shuttle them outside of Buenos
into other cities and around the Buenos Aires
province. Since it is the main
bus and train terminal, the Retiro station is enormous. It is shaped like a
giant dome and has almost an Italian architecture feel to it.
paid our 95 centavos, that’s about $0.32 in American dollars. Thus, compared to
the 186 pesos, approximately $62 American dollars, it would cost to travel to Uruguay; all
three of us agreed that we made the right choice.
One of the historic churches in El Tigre
We boarded the train and sat
down for a nice pleasant ride. Now, for those of you who are going to make this
excursion, I highly advise that you get on the train about 15 minutes ahead of
departure. The train ride is about an hour long and so it will be a long and
tiring ride if you do not have a seat. The train fills up very fast and can get
quite crowded so make sure you give yourself time to find a seat.
ride to El Tigre was quite pleasant. Luqman and I got in some quality reading
took a nap. I enjoyed looking out the window and watching the concrete
buildings and skyscrapers turn into country homes and the riverside as we made
our way closer to El Tigre.
in El Tigre and instantly could feel the difference on being outside the city.
Another view of the river
The air was so much easier to breathe! There was clearly an absence of smog
from the air that is very prevalent in Buenos
. We walked around the city for a while and
decided to find a place to eat. As we were walking by restaurants, we were
inundated by fliers from people trying to promote their restaurants. For those
of you who go to my alma
matter Georgia Tech, it was kinda like walking down Skiles at 11 AM on a
Tuesday… you get the picture. After examining the fliers from the various
restaurants, we decided on a local parilla, that’s the word for traditional
Argentine restaurant. We sat down and enjoyed a nice meal and discussed our
All three of us agreed that we
wanted to do something on the waterfront. We saw ads for kayaks and paddle
boats as well as boat rides.
Luqman relaxing on the boat
suggested that it would be fun to ride paddle boats so we made our way the
tourist stands. When we arrived, we found out that paddle boats were not
available due to the winter season. Thus, we found a company that gave boat
tours for 15 pesos and decided that it was our best bet. We had about 20
minutes until the river tour would leave and opted to grab some smoothies at a
fruit stand. I was so glad we decided to do that because those smoothies were
DEE-LISH-OUS! Unlike many smoothies in the US
, these smoothies were PURE fruit.
There were no preservatives, powders, sweeteners, etc that were added to the
smoothie. After finishing off our amazing smoothies, we made our way on to the
boat dock to get on board for the river tour.
The crew hustled us into the main
cabin and told us to have a seat.
The view at the Retiro bus and station before taking off for El Tigre
We were confused at first because we wanted
to go upstairs so we could sit outside on the top deck. When we asked why we
couldn’t go upstairs, the crew assured us it was due to safety and that we
could move after about 15 minutes. Although this is a valid reason, I still
think it was a ploy to try to get us to buy something from the bar.
Anyways, after our 15 minutes of
“safety,” we made our way to the top of the boat. When we got to the top, all
three of us instantaneously smiled. It was so relaxing and calming to sit in
the sun, with the wind gently blowing through our hair for an hour. The tour
guide told us about the many vacation homes, small beaches, and some old, rusty
ships. We also saw some historic houses
and museums as well. The tour guide told us about El Tigre’s history of being a
river town that hosts about 290,000 people. It is a popular weekend retreat
famous for attractions such as Puerto de los Frutos and an amusement park
called Parque de la costa. There are also markets and stores where you can buy
wicker articles, carpets, furniture, adornments, and native handicrafts. El
Tigre is also the location where you can see the house, and now museum, of the
national hero and former Argentine President from the province of San Juan,
Domingo Faustino Sarmiento.
After the wonderful hour river
tour, we got off the boat and decided that we should probably head back into
the city. We sadly left the riverside and got back on the train to journey back
into the metropolis.
We decided to walk around Florida Street in
order to show Brandon
the major shopping area that Luq and I had already visited numerous times. We
walked around and found that there seemed to be an unusual amount of black
people around. Argentina
is not known for its black populations, so we found this to be a pleasant
surprise. None of us ended up purchasing anything so we made our way back to
When we arrived at the apartment, I
got in touch with our friend Deona and made plans to meet up with her and her
roommates. We took the subway to the corner of Deona’s apartment and walked to
the local strip of bars called Plaza Serrano. We settled on a bar called Tazz
and played some pool and hung out. Tazz is a known hot spot for Americans and
it was very obvious by the barrage of English that was being spoken. We met
many Americans there and it almost seemed as though we weren’t even in Buenos Aires. We all
commented that we felt as though we were in a pool hall back in Atlanta. After spending
some time catching up, we made plans to meet up for my birthday, which I found
out was also the birthday of one of Deona’s roommates, Brendan.
We made our
way back to the apartment, content after spending a fun filled day breathing in
fresh air at El Tigre.