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Itineraries Archives

Guniganti Girls Take Buenos Aires

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With both of my sisters visiting for the next few days, I'm really focusing on what's worth seeing and doing in this city. What follows is a very tentative, front-loaded plan, because I know that all sorts of factors may alter the outcome. I've already been foiled in "listen to live jazz" tonight, because Notorious, a record store-cum-restaurant-cum-performance space, made an exception to its usual jazz-supporting policy to have a klezmer orchestra play instead. Charming fellows with a cute "Fiddler on the Roof" medley, but not a good example of Buenos Aires's famed jazz scene.

- Morning: Greet my older sister, coming off the overnight flight from Texas. This and other events will obligate being up and about before 9am.
- Noon: Recoleta cemetery. We've walked by dozens of times, but never yet gone in, though it's probably the most famous site in the neighborhood where we've rented an apartment. What better way to welcome someone to Argentina than to show her where Evita's remains lie? Nearby, we can get coffee and medialunas ("half-moons" or croissants) at La Biela, a historic cafe.
- Afternoon: Sirop Folie. I think I've made clear my views on the desirability of a cream tea, and I'll have been awake early enough to justify it!
- Evening: Tango lesson and show, along with dinner and a drink. All this has been promised for 190 pesos per person, thanks to the help of the great South American Explorers club.

- Morning: Plazo de Mayo. Another place we've walked by but not closely explored, and breakfast at Cafe Tortoni.
- Noon: Lunch at Clasica y Moderna. Like La Biel and Tortoni, it's a cafe notable, i.e. a restaurant with an interior protected by historic preservation law.
Afternoon: Shopping in Recoleta. I haven't bought much clothing on this trip, but even I can admit that my existing wardrobe, bought for both its durability through multiple washes and its cheapness that allows me to be indifferent if it falls apart, is just not working for going out in this city. When we had dinner and cocktails a few nights ago, I wore a $10 dress from Macy's with flats; the woman who preceded me into the restaurant was wearing a fur coat.
Evening: Dinner at Cafe Garcia, famous for its multi-course meals dispensed essentially at the owner's whim.
Late night: Putting the results of the afternoon shopping to use at a dance club -- maybe Tequila? KiKa? Suggestions are very welcome.

Sleeping off the previous night, getting one sister on her flight and hitting the to-dos on my other sister's list. Also, perhaps visiting Persicco or Chungo, two of the most-recommended gelaterias that I have yet to try, and another late night out.

A day in Colonia, if we can get on the boat to Uruguay. Otherwise, retreading the San Telmo and Recoleta markets for gifts and souvenirs, and checking off the missed items of this list and my sister's.

Getting Sister 2 on her flight and putting ourselves in order for an upcoming trip to Patagonia...

Based my admittedly non-extensive research, there appear to be three main ways to ticket a round-the-world trip:

  • The first is to book tickets as one goes, taking advantage of the skills of local travel agents, trusting on one's ability to obtain visas, and generally being willing to be flexible. This method appears to be heavily endorsed by Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding, and I can see its attractions, but I believe that had we tried this method the uncertainty and risk would have quickly driven me mad.
  • The next option is to contact a round-the-world specialist travel agent, such as Airtreks or Air Brokers. This approach is favored by the author of The Practical Nomad. We looked at these, largely because I was attracted to the idea of having an experienced agent who had a vested interest looking out for us as we traveled, and to whom we could send questions. But these operations did not seem to be price competitive for the trip that we wanted to take.
  • So in the end, we decided to try booking a RTW ticket with an airline alliance, in this case One World. Of the various options, they seem to have the best coverage in the southern hemisphere, and although their options in Africa are limited, this appears to get us most of the way around the world in one package.

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