I’m now into the third and final leg of my great adventure, ten days in Buenos Aires. My Concordia friend Juan Corradi, Westray, suggested his favorite, the Unique Hotel, which is in the heart of the Recoleta area where he grew up. The hotel is funky, quiet and seemingly in the center of almost everything that I’m interested in walking to.
My initial impression of both the hotel and the city is that they are like an elderly wealthy dowager who is running out of money at the same rate that she’s running out of time. The city is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but it needs a good scrubbing behind the ears, a bit of TLC and she’ll be set for another century. I can’t help compare Buenos Aires to Paris since much of the architecture and design here derived from the best of the turn of the last century’s equivalent in Europe, particularly Paris and Madrid.
Sunday, yesterday, my first full day here, was spent walking around the old dockyard area which has, like so many other waterfronts, been turned into a tourist destination. And, of course, I cannot get away from Antarctica, it seems. Tied up along the quay is the Buque Museo Corbeta A. R. A. Uruguay, a barque-rigged, steam-powered, steel-hulled ship built in 1872 and acquired by the Argentina Navy two years later. She was used extensively by the navy before being modified for use in the Antarctic. One feat includes an early rescue of a Swedish scientific team that lost its ship to the ice in 1903. Later, she functioned as a supply ship for the Argentine Antarctic stations. But, I’m glad I did our Antarctic adventure on Pelagic Australis. Creature comforts for the crew seemed lacking on Uruguay, and Rupert’s cooking is probably far better than the real gruel served aboard this ship.
Off to the museum of modern art [Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires (MALBA)] today to check out what’s happening in that scene. One problem I have is that the not-so-cheap point-and-shoot camera I brought specifically to photograph here had a stroke and went into a coma at about the time we stepped aboard in Porto Williams. The advice is not to carry or flaunt a real camera here, or for that matter, anything else of value, so I’m not sure yet how to deal with images. Play it by ear, as they say.