First adventures on the way to Argentina. Buenos Aires: Watching Tango and waiting for my luggage.

Travelogue Argentina 2003
Buenos Aires

February 4th, 2003

Dear Friends,

Sunday morning I arrived in Buenos Aires . Getting there was the first adventure. We had just boarded our plane in Munich when they announced that there was a snow storm over Paris and our takeoff would be delayed for 15 minutes. Then they served an orange juice and told us, that we had to wait about two hours. And finally we had to leave the plane because the flight got cancelled. There was another flight at 1900, but it was not even sure if this plane wouldn’t be cancelled, too. Together with Zuleidi and Ingo who had to catch the same connection flight to San Paulo at 2100 we talked to Lufthansa. The first employee did not even want to book us to Paris because the risk that we would miss our plane and they had to pay a hotel was unbearable for Lufthansa. Fortunately her shift ended and someone else handled our problem. As it was impossible to contact anyone of Tam (the Brazilian Airline) we decided to risk the flight to Paris , hoping that the flight to Brazil would also be delayed.

Minutes before 2100 we left our plane in Paris and we found out, that our plane was still there, but no-one could tell us, how long the delay was. We had to sprint, take a bus to a different Terminal, sprint again and deal with wrong information and an Air France employee who didn’t want to check us in because it was to late anyway … we finally made it, were the last to enter the plane and got the best seats possible.

In Buenos Aires my backpack wasn’t there, but it wasn’t a surprise, because it was quite likely that our sprint through Paris Airport was too fast for the luggage crew … They meanwhile told me that my luggage was seen in San Paolo and was to arrive "one of these days".

Argentina, Buenos Aires: Tango at the Plaza Dorrego
Tango on Sundays at the Plaza Dorrego

I took a hotel in San Telmo one of the oldest parts of Buenos Aires . The weather was cloudy and it even rained a little, temperatures slightly above 20 C and humid. This gives me a little time to get used to the heat because only days before they had up to 42 C and it will be like this soon again. In the afternoon I walked through the city and so my first Tango demonstrations in a little park, drank a coffee and let the country, the mentality of the people and the atmosphere sink into my mind.


Argentina, Buenos Aires: The President's Palace
The President’s Palace
Argentina, Buenos Aires: La Boca
La Boca: Home of the famous Soccer club, a former bohemian side of town and now very touristy.

I booked a city tour which turned out to be a kind of taxi driver driving me through the city. So I didn’t get the usual anecdotes of tourist guides but could tell the driver to stop whenever I saw something I liked. Buenos Aires has beautiful places and looks more (South-) European to me than Latin American. If you do not know the city it is hard to see signs of the crisis though there are many closed shops and empty houses.

I had lunch in a little restaurant and had the best steak of my life: this quality is in Europe neither available nor affordable.

Wandering through the city I saw an announcement of a Tango show and tried it though in the theatre where it was supposed to happen I couldn’t spot the same announcements. There were Tango lessons (couldn’t participate, no suiting shoes and a little smelly as I couldn’t change my cloths for a few days) and then a show: It was not what I expected, it was variety (?), comedy, songs and travesty, quite funny and good though my Spanish was not good enough to understand everything. But after the show there was public dancing: I had stumbled in one of the few places were Argentines go to dance the tango. All of the couples danced fine, some extremely well: What a dance!


They said my backpack was to arrive today in the morning … hopefully it does. If the UN inspectors would find my socks in one of Saddam’s palaces they might sue him for possession of biological weapons.

This might be my last day in Buenos Aires . I want to visit some parks and plan my route to the Iguazu falls, maybe passing through Uruguay and southern Brazil . Tonight I will visit a real Tango show which is said to be very good though very touristy. Read about it in my next report.

All the best from Buenos Aires, Argentina


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© Volker Umpfenbach

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