I have officially been traveling for six weeks. Six weeks, four countries. I have been booking. There so much to see and do! Yesterday my mom asked me what my favorite country has been and I have no clue. Too much going on to even step back and think about it all. I am finally slowing down a bit. I have taken a day and a half out of my time in Santiago to take a break from exploring. To just sit and relax. Read a book. Take a nap. Take another nap. It has been lovely. These days have also come on the heels of staying out till 4 or 5 in morning with friends I originally met in Argentina and just by luck re-connected with here in Chile. So while it was my plan to just have some lazy time it was also somewhat mandatory for survival!
Lots to catch up on so here are some more details of my 11 days in Buenos Aires. I did several tours while I was in BA included one that did a great job of explaining the history of the city. I had learned previously that BA was truly an immigrant built city. The tour then most focused on two other, more recent periods of their history – the Perons and the following dictatorship. We toured Evita’s office that has been turned in a museum and got more insight into why she was so loved. She was really a woman of the people. She never held office but she had a lot of political clout. She was incredibly generous, hard working, loving and she died of cancer at only 33. The curator of her museum gave our tour and he was so passionate when he spoke that he nearly broke down in tears. He was a young boy when she died he waited in line to see her body and say a final goodbye for 14 hours.
After the Evita period came the coup and dictatorship that overthrew Evita’s husband. I knew a little bit about the Dirty War in Argentina but it was incredible to learn more. We walked around and saw the area where the mother’s of the disappeared still walk today. They originally marched in hopes that they would have their children and grandchildren who had been “disappeared” by the government would be returned. Then, eventually they gave up hope of their loved ones being returned and they marched to ask for their bodies. Today they have no hope of the bodies being returned and instead march so no one will forget. Its tragic and inspiring all at one time. We also saw some of the various torture centers that are scattered throughout the city. There are small memorial plaques in front of the building to remember the victims. Once you realize that is what the plaques are you start to see them all over the city. One of the other horrible things that happened was that pregnant women’s babies were taken from them in the torture centers. The babies were given to families of the supporters who weren’t able to have children. There is a new movement now for the people who were adopted during that time to get DNA testing and find out what their lives were before they were adopted. Pretty emotional stuff. We ended in a cafe with a tango performance and lots of beers. I had been absorbed into the Spanish speaking half of the group so I sipped on my beer and told people how their names would be pronounced in American English. The name Leonardo got a particularly good laugh. Even more when I explained the Ninja Turtles.
That night I got sick for my first time on the trip. Lots of running to the bathroom. Extra fun because it was also my first night sleeping on a top bunk. I f-ing hate top bunks. You clammer up to the top only to realize you have forgotten something. Or in my case I would pull myself up only to then need the bathroom again. I tried every possible approach to get off the top bunk keeping in mind that this was a particularly high top bunk. Here’s the thing about traveling and in particular about sharing a room with several strangers. You just get to the point where you don’t give a shit. No, you don’t look cool. Yes, you just hand washed your underwear and draped it around the room. That’s right – I get to pee in the middle of the night. And yes, my bag has exploded and my shit is everywhere. You lock and unlock your storage unit at least 4 times before being ready to go. But the thing is that everybody does it. No need to feel like an idiot. Or so you try to tell yourself.
I felt like total crap for a day and half. Then I felt better and it was time to get out and about again. I went to an amazing show (which is also in NYC) called Fuerza Bruta. Its nuts. Its about an hour long. You stand the whole time. All sorts of different stages appear. Amazing drumming to your left and then suddenly people are suspended from the ceiling running and flipping along the walls. After that a stage appears in the middle of the room. The wind kicks up and someone is running on a bubble that covers your head. Another stage appears, more drumming and amazing dancing. Finally you think you’ve seen it all and someone starts swimming above your head in a Plexiglas pool. It just insane. So cool! Super energizing. I would completely recommend to everyone! There we some kids, lots of 20-30 somethings and a few older grandparents in the crowd – quite a mix.
The next day I went to Recoleta Cemetery. Wandering around a cemetery may not seem like a must-do tourist stop but it is in BA. The cemetery is amazing. I spent about 4 hours wandering through it and only saw a tiny portion. It was also a fun place to experiment with my camera.
There was lots more to of my time in Buenos Aires but per usual this seems to be going on and on! Thanks for reading! Besos.