We arrived back in Buenos Aires this morning at about 11 o’clock. The Hurtigruten tour people met us and gave us all the information we needed for going to Antarctica early tomorrow.
A few of us went out for a walk in the city. When we reached Ricoleta Park, we saw several of these huge trees. Later in the day I was told that they are called Gomero Trees and I read that they are some kind of rubber tree.
So, of course, we had to get a photo of Jerry, Ann, Carl, Kris and myself in front of the tree.
The fruit from the tree looks like a dried up fig. I looked it up and it says that the fruit is a small yellow-green oval 1 cm (0.39 in long), which is barely edible. It will only contain viable seed when the relevant fig wasp species is present.
We all went to the Recoleta Market and spent a couple of hours looking at the things they were selling. Andy took a photo of Ann and me at the market.
Andy was looking for a mask but he didn’t find one. Of course I didn’t buy anything to take home. My carry-on only suitcase is full. Actually, I did buy t a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in the market. Since I am not using the tap water in Buenos Aires, I had to have it without ice so it was pretty warm. Getting fresh orange juice reminded me of the Camino.
After we walked back to the hotel, we sat around for a bit talking to each other while we were waiting for our afternoon tour. Carl, one of the people in our group, had been walking around by himself and returned to the hotel more than an hour after us. He told us that he had not known how to get back to the hotel so he asked a few people if they knew where the hotel was. They did not. Then he saw a policeman and asked him if he knew how to get back to the hotel. The policeman, instead of telling Carl how to get back to the hotel, put him in the back of the police car and drove him. After Carl l told us the story we noticed that the police car was still parked out in front of the hotel. Of course, we had to take a photo of Carl with the police car.
In the afternoon we went a city tour. One of the places we visited was the La Recoleta Cemetery.
- It contains the graves of notable people, including Eva Perón, presidents of Argentina, Nobel Prize winners, the founder of the Argentine Navy, and a granddaughter of Napoleon.
- The cemetery takes up 14 acres and holds 4691 vaults.
- It contains many elaborate marble mausoleums, decorated with statues, in a wide variety of architectural styles such as Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Baroque, and Neo-Gothic.
- Most materials used between 1880 and 1930 in the construction of tombs were imported from Paris and Milan.
- The entire cemetery is laid out in sections like city blocks, with wide tree-lined main walkways branching into sidewalks filled with mausoleums.
This is a view of one row of mausoleums.
This is one of the very old mausoleums located here.
This one belongs to Eva Perón.
One of the most interesting places we went to today was the Caminito – La Boca. La Boca means the mouth in Spanish. That is an appropriate name because it is situated at the mouth of the river that runs along the capital federal’s southern border: the Riachuelo. The proximity to the river is in fact the reason for La Boca’s existence. The barrio used to consist solely of shipyards and of the houses of people who worked in them. The people were very poor. The houses were built with cast-off ship building materials, meaning that they were largely constructed of materials such as planks, sheet metal and corrugated iron. The most striking thing about it is its varied and garish colors. It is this way because the sailors who have lived there all painted their houses with paint residues left over from the boats.
Although it is very touristy, La Boca is a great place to visit. People from all over the world get to see the universe in two or three blocks, revel with tango dancing in corners, with samples of street art, and good and cheap grills that look over the street art. Even locals and other Argentinians and locals visit the area.
This area was also the site of the very first fire department in Buenos Aires. I found that out when I asked about the significance of the following mural.
We then drove through one of the poorest areas in Buenos Aires. Our guide said the 30% of the people in Argentina are below the poverty levels. The previous president distorted that statistic that said that only 5% of the people below the poverty level. These photos were taken from the bus.
We learned that the Puente de la Mujer (Spanish for “Women’s Bridge”), is a rotating footbridge for Dock 3 of the Puerto Madero, commercial district of Buenos Aires. A number of streets in the Puerto Madero district have women’s names, thus giving the bridge its name. It is of the Cantilever spar cable-stayed bridge type and is also a swing bridge. Somewhat unusual in its asymmetrical arrangement. It has a single mast with cables suspending a portion of the bridge which rotates 90 degrees in order to allow water traffic to pass. The far end comes to a resting point on a stabilizing pylon. The guide said it is to honor women in Argentina. It was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
One of the last places we saw was the monument that was built in celebration of the Independence of Argentina. It is located in Plaza de Mayo. Many protests have taken place here over the years including an attempt to overthrow President Perón. The plaza was bombed during one of the populist leader’s many rallies there on 16 June 1955, killing 364 people.
The plaza, since 1977, is where the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo have congregated with signs and pictures of desaparecidos (the children who had been taken away during the dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo took advantage of the symbolic importance of the Plaza to open the public’s eyes to what the military regime was doing. The mother’s know that some of their female children were pregnant during that time. It is believed that the children of these children were then adopted. They have painted shadows of bodies and put names on them to signify these lost children.
They they are searching for people who adopted children during that period and asking them to please have DNA tests done so they can possibly identify some of them as their grandchildren.
Protests have continued on taking place, with the major last one being during the December, 2001 riots when five protesters were killed and several others injured by police as they rioted around the Plaza de Mayo.
Our group had a party tonight and then Ann, Pat, and Dorene and I went out for dinner. I sure like the empanadas.