Time to Say Good-Bye

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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One of the many murals along the buildings of Buenos Aires

            Our final day in Buenos Aires did not really include anything extraordinary. Instead we predominantly spent the day doing Luqman’s favorite activity-shopping. If there’s one thing I know about my friend, it’s that come hell or high water, nothing stands in his way of buying some nice souvenirs. (To his credit, much of the shopping is on account of his family and friends).

            Both of our mornings started off with some quality alone time. Luqman and I both went for different runs through Palermo one last time. Afterwards, we came home to pack and eat some leftovers. Then we left for our last minute shopping extravaganza.

            Our first stop was in the colorful neighborhood of La Boca.

El Caminito de La Boca
For those of you who have not been reading this blog (shame on you), La Boca is a neighborhood in Buenos Aires that is famous for its soccer team of Boca Juniors. This is the team that revered international soccer star, Diego Maradona, played for at the beginning of his career. Since time was of the essence, we gathered that we would have to make the sacrifice of taking taxis everywhere instead of using the subway which is far cheaper. We traveled to the south-east part of Buenos Aires to this neighborhood and got off to a wonderful site of street tango dancers, traditional/indigenous dancing, shops, street soccer, musicians, artists, and street fairs. Luqman and I gathered our favorite snack of sweet roasted peanuts and made our way around the celebrated main street of El Caminito.

Now let me explain something about Luqman and I’s shopping strategy. Most people see something they like and buy it.

Even the animals show allegiance to their favorite soccer teams
For example, if one is looking for a pair of black pants, if they see a pair they like, they will buy it. But not us. Luq and I will do what I like to call “rounds” and “investigate.”

·         Round 1: This entails an initial perusal of all possible merchandise and stores. We will literally walk up and down and up and down to see every possible item we may be interested in. During this round, we make our first “investigation,” which pretty much means we annoy and badger the shop owners with questions such as “is this all you have?” “do you offer any discounts?” “do you have more in this style” and of course, Luq’s favorites of “what’s the biggest size you have this in?”

·         Round 2: This includes us processing all the prospects from round 1 while usually munching on a snack or drinking some sort of beverage. We discuss which products we really want and how we can obtain them for the cheapest price. During this round, we also try to investigate what level of shopper’s remorse we may experience by purchasing these products.

·         Round 3: This is the round in which we go to the chosen stores of the chosen products and negotiate with the shop owners. We usually make small talk and try to charm/flirt our way to getting the best deals possible.

·         Round 4: This is when we make our final assessments and contemplate the value/worth of purchasing the product. Sometimes there are tears involved in this round because we have both had moments where we realized we may not be able to eat meat for months because of a purchase.

·         Round 5: This is where we exchange the goods for the money. It is sometimes very painful parting with the cash or hearing the sound of the credit card machine swipe away our finances.

·         Round 6: This is the round that I like to call the “aftermath/aftershock.” This usually consists of us looking at our purchases for a few minutes to try and reinforce the notion “it was worth the money.” This is also the time that we really fight shopper’s remorse. To combat this, we usually find Freddo/Munchis and/or any ice cream store to satiate ourselves with AMAZING Argentine ice cream.

 

 

Well now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on.

 

We spent some good time in La Boca making some great purchases. Luqman and I both walked away with wonderful gifts for ourselves…..and for others. We both bought some great Boca Juniors gear and also some crafts from the market as well. I bought a hand carved/made mind/strategy puzzle that is on a similar level to a Rubik’s cube. When I saw the game/puzzle, I was absolutely appalled that Luqman referred to me as his “obsessive” friend who was going to buy the game because of her “unquenchable” competitive spirit. Clearly there is some projection going on there.

 

            After finishing up our La Boca shopping extravaganza, we took a cab to Recoleta to hit the markets there. We again implemented our “round” system of shopping and purchased more goods. My favorite item that Luqman purchased was an army green jacket with a Ché Guevara facial imprint on it. Luq feared being persecuted by the government bringing the jacket back home, but I reassured him that I would protect him with my suave Asian ninja skills. When we finally hailed a cab to go back to our apartment, I was almost embarrassed at the amount of bags we had between the two of us. I kind of felt like Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan.

            We got back to the apartment and rushed to finish up packing. We had to check out very soon and we still had to repack all of our new purchases into our bags. We had a refrigerator that was full of food and decided that we couldn’t let it go to waste. Thus, Luq made himself a plate of the leftover Indian food and I wrapped up a piece of my leftover birthday cake. We took one final look over the place and said our good-byes to our beloved apartment.

            We came downstairs and got into a taxi to take us to the airport. Our poor taxi driver had the most difficult time getting all of our bags into his Volkswagon vehicle. I think I heard him curse us under his breath. We had so many bags that we filled up his trunk, the front passenger seat, and we also had bags in the back. It was a very tight squeeze in the back and thankfully Luqman and I are good friends enough that being that close wasn’t that uncomfortable.

            Finally, we arrived at the airport 3 hours before our departure. I thought that this would be ample time to check in, however, I was wrong. We actually barely made it in time to our gate. The pace at which we moved was very slow. If you are traveling back to the States from another country, I recommend you always allowing yourself an almost obnoxious time to check in and get to the gate.

            As the plane lifted off to carry us back home, I took one final glance at Buenos Aires and felt a pain in my heart. I was anxious to get home, but at the same time, I was so sad to say good-bye to this beloved city. Buenos Aires is truly one of my favorite cities in the entire world and it has been very good to me. Last year, I fell in love with the city because I got to experience so many firsts and unique experiences. This time, I fell in love with the city all over again because I got to experience some of my favorite aspects of the city such as the ice cream, the soccer games, the markets, etc. with some of my favorite people. This experience truly reinforced the reasons why I love Buenos Aires and this trip will also always be one of the highlights of my life.

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One of the many murals along the b…
One of the many murals along the …
El Caminito de La Boca
El Caminito de La Boca
Even the animals show allegiance t…
Even the animals show allegiance …
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