|Buenos Aires, Argentina - January 2006|
We left for the airport bright and early on January 25. Our first stop was Los Angeles, then on to Chicago, then non-stop to Buenos Aires. Approximately forty hours from our home to the hotel! I’m too old for this stuff. Ray, of course, slept on the plane so was raring to go, while I just wanted to crash. We went out for a quick dinner, then I went to bed. Ray went out walking the area, which it turns out was not a smart move. The character of the town changes considerably after dark when the tourists are safely tucked into their hotels.
The next morning, after a horrible breakfast at our Sheraton Four Points Hotel, we went exploring. One of the must-see touristy things is Florida Street, a huge pedestrian mall with shopping at the most exclusive American and European designer boutiques and at little dollar-type stores. The street was teeming with hawkers, locals and tourists. We stopped to watch some street dancers doing the tango. When they finished, the crowd was breaking up, and I felt a tap on my shoulder. When I turned around, there were some square dance friends from California. They were on a four-month world cruise and were in Buenos Aires for that day only! What are the odds? THAT’S ONE!
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California friends, John and Ginnie with Ray - Buenos Aires - January 2006
Buenos Aires was originally founded in 1536 by Pedro de Mendoza, who was commissioned by the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. By 1541 they abandoned this settlement, and forty years later the Spanish conquistador, Juan de Garay refounded the city. By the 18th century Buenos Aires had street lamps, cobblestone streets and a printing press. In 1816 Argentina won its freedom from Spain, but civil strife continued for many years. The city today is a typical urban center with elegant neighborhoods and very poor areas. Since it was their summer, the temperature climbed to Arizona heights in the afternoon, so we squeezed our sightseeing in quick doses.