A travelogue of our first trip to Buenos Aires


January 8 - Cats and Dog Poop in Palermo

Picture of the Day

I was my own on Thursday, January 8, and the day started very early indeed. Craig had a 9am flight from Ezeiza International Airport to Ushuaia so we were up at 5:30am. I packed him into a cab and waved goodbye as he in his radio taxi headed off at 6:15am. Then I went back to bed.

Later that morning, I considered my options. Traveling alone is a very different proposition than traveling with someone. The traveler is forced to pay attention, to make all the decisions and to manage all conversations in all languages. There are no distractions, no one to share observations with, no one to turn to for assistance. But... one's time is one's own, one is forced to experience a place and best of all, one doesn't have to compromise! I'd say that's a right fair trade off.

I wanted to take photographs with my Holga. I like the flat light in the middle of the day; it works well for the camera. So I took myself to lunch at El Sanjuanino (empanadas - cheese, spicy meat and veggie - YUM) and ran a few errands (bank, Staples, etc.), then I got on the subte to Palermo.

Time Out Buenos Aires was a great guide for BsAs, and one of my favorite parts was the walking tours in the book. I found one for the parks of Palermo, starting and ending at Plaza Italia. That was just a few stops up on the D line, so off I went.

Generally, the walk went through the parks in the northern part of the Palermo neighborhood, starting with the Jardin Botánico Carlos Thays. This is a lovely little park with fountains, benches, small little gardens... and dozens and dozens of cats! Everywhere! Since it was mid-afternoon, sunny and hot, they were lazing around, dozing and not moving too fast. None were mangy or diseased, although none looked particularly well-fed, understandable given the competition. They kept an eye on humans but didn't look overly perturbed by them. I saw a sign asking visitors not to feed them and I didn't see anyone feeding them, but the cats definitely were checking out people's hands, when they weren't snoozing. I was impressed by how clean the park was and generally well-maintained, with the exception of the occasional broken bench. It's a great place to have a rest and people watch.

I left that little bit of paradise and headed up Av. Republica de la Indie, past the zoo on the left. On the right I was passing Palermo Chico, apparently a very exclusive neighborhood. It was definitely quiet and the buildings were all in the good shape, but there was an amazing amount of dog poop on the sidewalks, worse than I've seen anywhere else in BsAs. I will say I was on the sidewalk next to the zoo and opposite all the apartment entrances, so maybe all those rich people considered the zoo sidewalk fair game for their dogs? I finally crossed over; it was just too much to deal with.

I crossed the Av del Libertador and headed for the Japanese Gardens. To get there, I had to cross through Parque Tres de Febrero, a really nice little wooded area. It was spotless; I didn't see a piece of trash anywhere. No benches or paved pathways either, but lots of shaded grass. There were teenagers, sitting around in packs, smoking and giggling and generally enjoying themselves.
It was irresistible so I had a quick lie-down and gazed up through the leaves.

By the time I got to the Japanese Garden, it had closed (at 6pm) so I caught a cab home; I was definitely getting too much sun! It was my last dinner in BsAs, and I wanted some steak. I asked a few locals where I could get a good lomo (filet) with some provoleto, my new favorite dish of grilled cheese, and decided to go to Don Julio in Palermo. I didn't show up until 9:15, but there was a table available outside and I took it. A waiter speaking English materialized, which was both helpful and a teeny bit disappointing; working through the language is half the fun.

As planned, I had the provoleta, and a lomo with a green salad, along with a glass of Malbec (of course). I took my time, which is easy to do in BsAs. It seems that if you're sitting at a table, you pretty much own it, and the waiters don't give you the eye to make you leave. By 10:15, there were a half dozen people waiting for tables and the staff were bringing two-tops outside and putting them into odd corners to seat people. By 10:45, I was out of there, walking home in the warmish evening, too stuffed to even get an ice cream!

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Eight Days in Buenos Aires by Valyn Perini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.