Travel Blog 2010

Howdy Buenos Aires is not your usual city tour, but a tailor-made discovery walk for folks who don’t usually go on guided tours. Mike knows the city so well that he quickly figures out what his guests want and gets us all on our way, sometimes together, sometimes off the leash. He showed how to use taxis, subway, buses and introduced us to the Buenos Aires way of life.

We went to historic places hearing of Argentina’s turbulent history, took tours to unique buildings, lunched in a dignified traditional restaurantes with cured hams hanging from the walls, rode bicycles to explore neighborhoods and learnt about the early settlers and how Buenos Aires started. We had elegant coffee in the ritziest garden cafe, explored up and coming San Telmo and trendy Palermo, visited art museums with impressive exhibitions and tasted local beers, wine and the famous ‘bifo de chorizo’ – to sneaking into the back of Milongas to watch Tango dancers in full concentration over their complex moves.

Last but not least, our accommodation was a beautiful apartment with all comforts. A perfect place to relax and discuss what else we want to explore. I had a fabulous time with Howdy in bustling and classy Buenos Aires.”

Judith Kunzle, Rarotonga, 2010

Day One…

What a great way to start a trip …sitting ringside in an ornate old building in uptown Buenos Aires sipping Malbec and watching polo ponies trot by. US$5000 evidently buys you a sprightly little polo pony.  I was the guest of Ignacio Redondo…a young guy who has started up his own horse auction website - http://www.mundodecaballos.com/

But the country has a slight beleaguered feel at the moment – inflation has been quite brutal for the middle lower classes – and many fear they are looking down the barrel of a power-crazy ‘dynasty’ of the Kircheners – the Latin ‘Bill and Hillary’ who have done what the real Bill and Hillary couldn’t quite do – both have a turn at the wheel of the Presidential limo…with many saying hubby will be back at the next election. It’s never simple Argentina…it’s never simple… and what’s more on the 25th of May Argentina celebrates the bicentenary of its independence from Spain.

and then the new, very exclusive bunch of Howdy’s arrived…

Day 2 …

The 2010 bunch of howdy’s have arrived – one fresh from the Cook Islands –Judith Kunzle, Swiss but who’s lived in the Cook Islands for twenty years specializing in painting ‘dance’… check out www.jkunzle.com,  Maree Webster,  a lawyer and business woman from Auckland and Jane Kennelly, owner of Frog Recruitment www.frogrecruitment.co.nz thankfully the weather is bliss…23’ during the day and at night  a balmy 15’C.

First day was meeting up with Russell  and Gonzalo, old friends and locals who live just around the corner from Evita Peron’s Museum – A wonderful lunch followed by a leisurely stroll through the upper reaches of Recoleta  – then dinner at my favourite little restaurant in the world …a very very quirky Italian joint on in Palermo  – we arrived at 9:30, the place was quite empty, by 11 it was humming, we left at 12:30 am and headed for our first milonga (tango hall) where the ladies made friends with one and all…with Maree even being dragged on to the milonga dance floor which was a very gutsy thing to do (um, ahDutch courage?)

By the way, for Brazilian music nuts on the same night Caetano Veloso played a free concert last night to open the largest book fair in the Spanish speaking world. 

Day 3 – Bikes!

The 1st of May is the day of the worker – and a major public holiday in Argentina – and for four gringos it opens up a wonderful and very rare opportunity to bike up the middle of the wonderful wide avenues  – with no traffic…the streets silent!  So we rented bikes and cycled up Avenida de Mayo – one of the grandest architectural steet in BA –and after lunch at a family Spanish restaurant with a sherry to start  – we were off for a three hour meander on bikes to La Boca, Barrancas and Puerto Madero then straddling the green reserve that separates BA from the Rio de la Plata – a cool beer amongst the outdoor tables that look over the nature reserve then back up Ave Belgrano – Evening was dinner at Dadá and then 12:30 am sitting in a Plaza listening to a four piece flamenco guitar group with their flamenco dancer… Judith was furiously sketching live dancers and life the whole day through – it’s a privilege to see her talent at work….


Day 4

Of  course it’s the Antiques market – and then off to the FUTBOL. Persuading three females well in advance that they  would be going to a local football match was was sometimes a fraught task  – and there were furrowed brows when it was explained that we’d be off to one of the poorest parts of town to watch my team San Lorenzo – a team started 150 years ago by a bunch of pickpocketing lads living on the streets of Boedo… as usual ‘ the crowd goes wild’…and we loved it.

Dinner was in Las Canitas with an Argentine couple eating pizza and drinking Torrontes…the wine that will take the world by storm!…eventually.

A final word o football here – it’s a great snapshot of the Argentine family  – fathers with daughters, mothers taking their sons -and even new born babies…

The full day that felt like we had the key to the city finished in Puerto Madero….

 

Day 5

A wander up Plaza de Mayo…hit Palacio Barolo – the tripper building paid for by a Dante freak – although Italy never quite got around to shipping over Dante’s ashes as requested….and then it’s on the ‘A’ train for lunch at one of the original cafes of Boedo – with the day finishing in Cafe Poesia…

oh, and in between we also popped in to a new percussion group at the dis-used oil refinery in Abasto (above)- Pooped!

 

Day 7 – Art galleries…part one

La Proa = wonderful new gallery in chintzy part of town  – It’s perfectly formed gallery that currently has a Futurist exhibition…the Italian art movement at beginning of 19th century inspired to Cubism but at its heart an enthusiasm for science and technology… and Judith tackles the 1200 works in Belles Artes – she was blown away by the an exhibition of an Argentine art exhibtion at the beginning of the century that perfectly demonstrated the early sophistication of the Argentine art scene.  The rest walked across the city to Ave Santa Fe and to Zara it was ordered with and wallets appearing…actually Zara Now! said one…the Spanish chain store for hip young things…

Tour guide even purchased woolen jersey with hoody attachment.

Clara from Cordoba has joined the group…a lovely young woman who’s just finished her physiotherapy degree – she’s in town to hunt down the official stamp that says it’s ok to call herself a physiotherapist …

Lunch was a ‘picada’…lashings of meat and cheese…

La Proa has a wonderful exhibition on the Italian futurist movement…

The Evening – was a quiet one but an utter pleasure with dinner at a little diamond in the rough of of Barracas – the neighbourhood that was always going to happen has happened – a young female chef is cooking up a storm – and as one howdy said …this is the best we’ve had …9.7 out of 10.

Day 8

Today was serious retail day – we hit Palermo via the wonderful Bus 39 – from San Telmo to the edges of Palermo – although there wasn’t the ‘rabid retailing’ atmosphere from say four years ago…things a bit slower but still a wonderful little neighbourhood – and it’s incredible to think that it sprung up following the years when the country went bankrupt…young people moved into the empty warehouses to start galleries – then restaurants and retail followed – it’s spectacular.

Highlight was going to the wee optometrists shop where they are reading and dark glasses frames from the 40’s through to the 80’s  – e.g….

Later in the evening it was all punk -tango – and of course tango dancing… One immovable date on the howdy ba itinerary is always an outfit that mixes tango with a bit of clash and thrash…

and later another wonderful piece of passion and tango caught by Judith Kunzle …

(For finished works go to; Kunzle-Tango Originals)

Day 9

Saturday – part of the group headed off to San Antonio de Areca for a quieter, rustic day in the country and some stayed back to forge on and hit the fashion district for retail… and of course Day 9 ended with lashings of meat at the best parrilla in a rather dangerous part of Buenos Aires  – a great evening starting with deep fried small intestines, sweetbreads and ending up wtih bife de lomo…

heading in to last day…

but forgot to file on ‘FUERZA BRUTA’ the totally out there dance group from argentina who’ve taken their dance show all over the world and are now back in Buenos Aires to sold out shows (we booked 2 months ago for this)…

the crescendo to their act is lowering a plastic tank of water from the roof as they glide across it …

Check out the press review here TheArgentimes

Art Galleries…Part Two

As usual one of the hightlights was the The Malba –I managed a sneak ‘photo’ preview this time of the best (in my opinion) art museum in town – however Judith, a master of arts, and an artist was knee deep in Belles Artes’ 12000 works! Her expert opinion is that it has the best collection of modern argentine art  – but for those wanting a wonderful introduction to modern art and special one-off exhibitions (Cuban vanguard this week),  you can’t go past Malba or for that matter La Proa …both wonderful spaces design-wise, small and perfectly packaged…why? Cos Howdy BA says so!

This first piece is evidently a comment on the poor who ride the Buenos Aires trains – as well as the larger context of not being allowed in …anywhere. It is sculpture art with the body being of moulded plastic.

And of course Andy Warhol… you got to hand it to him… but is it art?

and…

The crew have left they came they walked they ate and raved about the restaurants …I might add…one sketched argentine life and dancing as it waltzed, tangoed and boogied by… we ate and gabbled with locals …all in all one of the true Howdy Buenos Aires experiences …

And some final pics…just to round off. (I am currently in a paradise called Mendoza – a lovely town that sits at the foot of the Andes and is the epicenter of the Argentine wine industry which has bucked international trends by having two years of year on year record growth.  This place is a mix of Queenstown meets Blenheim meets Feilding…but that doesn’t do it justice. However, am researching wine tours and in particular wines tours by horse! …or Caballo as they say in Spanish – watch this space.

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3 Responses to “Travel Blog 2010”

  1. Annie Guillemette May 7, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    Great work Mike! I love your articles….

  2. raymond May 8, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    Looks like you’re having a great time! Hope to meet you sometime.
    Raymond

  3. Celia May 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    Love it…want to go…badly.

    When’s your next trip?

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