By Senor John Stringer formerly “coNZervative” (and perhaps again).
Today we decided to do the biggest flea market in Buenos Aries -the outdoor markets in Recolata. This is right next to the famous cemetery so you could combine both and make a day trip of both. To get there catch a cab. This will cost you about 40-70 Arg pesos ie $2-5 US dollars (1/15). It’s dirt cheap; so don’t worry about grabbing cabs anywhere. A radio cab (fitted with radio) will cost an additional $14 pesos (ie 93c US).
There are about 150-200 outdoor booths selling mainly crafts. I even find a guy selling wargames models. There is art and food and jewelry. I buy some original Argentinian art (three small pictures) signed by the artist. These cost me about $8 each – excellent value. There is no bargaining as such in BA; the price is the price (as in NZ) but at markets you can always negotiate and I am offered a nice discount to buy two and further when I negotiate for three.
Below: older Argentinian men shooting the breeze together – I like the man dressed as a South American dictator or Mafia boss. A famous tango dancer and flamenco guitarist is playing under an ancient rubber tree (about 250 years old) which has those horizontal branches which the municipality has creatively propped up with sculptures such as this metal Hercules (below).
Below: old cobblestones around the market and one of the 250 year old rubber trees that provide much needed shade as BA gets really hot and under which people busk Tango and Flamenco.
There is lots of food and mobile lemonade stands with real fruit and tango fills the air. It is incredibly (burning) hot so I recommend a good hat and sunglasses are a must. Wear loose cotton or you’ll be overwhelmed on hot days. Below some of the Frida Kahlo cacophony at the market – a very popular cultural meme.
Above: where ever you go in the world graffiti seems the same. And here are what the Argentinian police look like. We went in to a Mall and were constantly asked for money or pitched scams every few metres – which was a pest – and this mall area is patrolled by police. You will also get approached to exchange money at good rates but this is illegal so don’t accept – the money may be counterfeit. I recommend you use your hotel (at approx. 15/1 US) as we noticed long queues at the ‘bureau de change’ booths in public (ie at the malls).
Over all we were not taken with the food in Argy; lots of plain burgers and chips but Argentinians do take a herbal tea. These are served in an ornate hollowed out gourd and sipped through a silver straw implement with various ornate filters at the bottom (like a hookah). We had never seen this before. Note the prices $400 pesos ie $26.6 US approx.
Below: more Argentine architecture and a pirate restaurant we eat at on our last night at which I try not to order the #1 one blackboard special.
Tomorrow: South America is known for its dinosaurs and I’ll post on those as we visit Bernadino Rovadavia Natural Sciences Museum. ~ J.