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We spend most of our "tourist time" walking around town and breathing in the city's wonderful energy. There aren't many museums worth seeing in Buenos Aires and sadly, the most famous sight in the guide book is the Recoleta cemetery, which is indeed a landmark, but could hardly symbolize a city as alive and vibrant as our temporary hometown is. We didn't waste the evenings either, which were mostly put to use to sample the town's excellent culinary offerings. Just so we don't get disgusted with so much grilled meat we decided to alternate the foods at dinner - one day parilla ("grill" in Spanish) the next day something different: Indian, Thai, Italian, Chinese, you name it; there's something for every taste.
The weather has been quite unfriendly to both tourists and locals, with temperatures hitting the lowest point in more than 80 years. The cold is annoying as it is - as if we hadn't had enough of it in Peru and Bolivia! - but the cloudy skies and the rain make it worse by taking away even that last pleasure which travelers can usually still enjoy when everything else goes wrong: taking pictures. That is, until today, when we were blessed with perfect blue skies and shirt-worthy temperatures; you know, the kind of winter weather that in Seattle makes a part of the population leave the house wearing shorts and T-shirts while the normal people still have their jackets on. I spent my daylight hours outside, clicking away at streets, parks and people.
On Sunday we changed apartments and moved from the downtown-shopping district to the upscale Recoleta neighborhood. The new apartment is a little different and that difference takes in both advantages and disadvantages. The studio we had for the first week was nice and modern, close to cafes and restaurants bursting with patrons all day long, had cable TV, central heating and a great view - but it was, well... a studio, quite small (more like a hotel room than an apartment,) lacked Internet access (I was able to catch a very weak, unencrypted wireless signal out on the balcony,) and the kitchen area was minuscule - there wasn't even enough space to dry the dishes.
The new place is larger and has a real bedroom, which makes it easier for us to do different things at the same time without annoying each other, like say, watching TV and sleeping. It has cable Internet and a larger kitchen, but it has no central heating - air conditioning instead, fine - the windows look to an inner shaft of the building so there's not much light, and the noisy elevator engine is right next door. On top of this, the TV set is a wreck and although there is cable available, the old Toshiba box is quite inept at scanning channels. It took me some time to figure out that by scanning multiple times, different channels populate the TV's 30 slots each time. There might even be a method to the madness, as if scanning once would get you the sports, scanning twice the music, and a third time would bring you the movies.
We reunited again with Michael and Mor, our friends from the Galapagos cruise, and we'll be spending some time together. It's the end of the trip for them and the end of a chapter for us. There are lions and elephants ahead...