Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Circle complete! (19-21/Nov/06)

Ushuaia, Argentina

Arrived back at our starting point after more than 10 months of hard travelling. The circle is complete, but the trip isn't - there are still quite a few things to see, but we plan to use Buenos Aires as a base to leave all our gear as we shoot off in various directions.

As it was Sunday, the first thing we did was to go to San Telmo, which as fans of our blog will remember, we visited when we first arrived but it was raining. This time we saw the Sunday market in all its glory. And I finally had a steak I could cry over. Everybody goes on about how wonderful Argentinean beef is but until now I had only one steak I could call mind-blowing. And that was in an Argentinean restaurant in Mexico. My lack of amazing meat may have something to do with the kind of budget restaurants and the cook-it-yourself dinners you have to do when on a travellers budget. So after the mouth-watering treat; what better than a four hour siesta?

Next day we set out to hit the shops. Mountain gear shops to be specific - we had to buy a few things for the upcoming Antarctic adventure. It was a hard day, but in the end we got everything and more - the gear here was ridiculously cheap it being nearly summer here now. After that we went to a tango show.

Now, we had been recommended one, which on second thoughts we decided to avoid. The Lonely Planet describes it as "the closest thing to Vegas", it even has a horse on stage, and a chunk of an Evita musical. No way, we wanted something more real and authentic, so we chose the oldest tango theatre in town. You'd think that would mean escaping a puerile, superficial touristy crap quasi-tango show, but you'd be wrong. The price of the tickets should have been a giveaway - no Argentinean could afford this, it was the same price as the total price of three other tickets we had also bought: a performance arts show, a concert with 2 of Argentina's best singers, and another with one of Spain's best artists.

Don't get me wrong - the tango was all right. But it was fluffed up. Too much costumes, too much acting, and a very annoying Andean band (which could at least have been introduced by explaining to a clueless audience that Argentina had a bit of Andes up in the northwest) which didn't even play typical Argentinean Andean songs; instead we had 2 Ennio Morricone themes from spaghetti westerns, one Peruvian classic (Peru doesn't even border Argentina), and the most hateful song of all: El bloody Condor bloody Pasa. I hate that song for what it stands for: the dilution of a great culture into something superficial and bland, ready for mass consumption for clueless tourists.

Needless to say, the Andean dudes got the loudest applause at the end of the show.

Anyways, after that, the next day, we went to the airport to see Jaime (Esther's brother in law), who was on his way to the Antarctic. He's going to a Spanish base for a second time to do some measurements on glacier formation. Sadly it doesn't look like we'll see him there, but you never know. After he left (he was just on a short stopover) we took the bus down South to the beach.


At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JOsh if back in B Aires and want a real tango experience go to la Cumparsita in San Telmo. We were there this summer and it is a place that some tourist go but also a lot of people form BAires, it is very small, cosy and worthwhile!


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