Buenos Aires: It's a town you will never want to leave

22:07, Dec 16 2012

I'm in love.

Before I left for South America, I was most excited about spending a week in Buenos Aires.

But as we all know, often when you get that amped up about something - ie, New Year's Eve - it doesn't quite live up to the hype.

Buenos Aires does.

As I write this, I've been here just over 24 hours, and I haven't had a chance to explore much beyond the barrio where we are staying, Palermo. I barely understand anything anybody has said around me - turns out I should have listened harder to those who told me to allow plenty of time to brush up on the old espanol. The warning that dog poo is one of the most frustrating things about the city, was spot on.

Buenos Aires is gritty and noisy and sometimes the sewer smells a little gross.


But none of that matters.

I've been lucky enough to see a couple of places overseas now, and I don't think I've adored anywhere as much.

To me - in my very limited experience, of course - seeing a man crossing the Avenida del Libertador as cars zoom past, with a few bouquets of beautiful, full-headed roses slung over his shoulders, says so much about this city.

(As one of my all-too-frequent asides, those cars are likely to be one of three types Portenos seem to prefer: small European, run-down and rusty, or, inexplicably, a bad-ass ute complete with spotlights and bull-bars. Weird.) The footpaths might be cracked underneath your feet, but the sun is warm and the bougainvillea is lush and the buildings are very Continental and sumptuous.

Lots have graffiti on their lower levels, but we can't all be perfect, can we?

I was quite perturbed to realise that as it turns out, those Argie rugby fans who visited during the World Cup actually weren't all models, they were just really ridiculously good-looking average Joes. It is rather unfair.

There are beautiful statues galore, and the food - oh, the food! Here in Buenos Aires, when you order one of the country's famous steaks at a restaurant, that's exactly what you get. As in, just a slab of steak plonked down on a plate. No sides of roast potatoes or salad, let alone something as - ick - health-conscious as steamed broccoli.

Just steak.

Then you order some papas fritas - that's chips, for all you Philistines - and a flaky pastry stuffed with delicioso melted cheese called an empanada, followed by gooey, silky caramel thing called dulce de leche.

You then wash it all down with some quality Argentinian wine, of course.

It's a good thing I love Buenos Aires so much.

At this rate, they're going to have to roll me out of the city, and that could take some time.

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