Sunny and warm greeting in Argentina
03/18/2017 - 03/18/2017 75 °F
As I stepped out of the car ar John Glenn Airport in Columbus, a cold, wintry rain sent its icy tentacles down my neck. Remind me never to confidently sneer that we are done with Winter. Ever. However, when I landed in Buenos Aires 15 hours later, I discovered where the sun had been hiding since teasing us with a mild winter early. Setting out from my hotel in Centro district, the warm sun bathed refreshed me with its golden light. I had slept more than I expected on the plane last night, but was still a little groggy. The brilliant blue, cloudless sky helped wake me up, too.
I ducked inside the Teatro Colon, but decided to save touring its lavish interior for a day when it wasn't so gorgeous out. Instead, I worked my way steadily downtown, drawn downhill towards the waterfront. The Obelisk was a quick photo stop, then a short walk later, I arrived at Plaza Mayor. This is Centro's main square, and a festival was in full swing with a choir serenading a bustling crowd and teams of traditionally garbed dancer performing. I watched a few teams perform, then circled the area, taking pictures of its historic buildings gleaming in the sunlight.
I was disappointed I couldn't visit the Casa Rosata -- the centuries old Presidential Palace. This pastel pink building is where the President works, where Evita Peron addressed adoring crowds from the balcony, and where Madonna belted out her rendition of Argentina's famous First Lady. The tours were booked solid for the week, unfortunately. I compensated by taking a leisurely circuit of the classical, columned National Cathedral. Gold and stained glass shone in the afternoon sunlight. One interesting touch were the two Grenadiers in 1800s, Napoleonic-style uniforms guarding the tomb of one of Argentina's beloved generals. Drawn swords and martial attire usually aren't found in Catholic Churches!
Nest up was the Casa Rosata Musuem. There are lots of pictures of Plaza Mayor through the years, as well as Presidential relics through the years. Everything was in Spanish, but it seemed to do a relatively honest job of portraying Argentina's less-than-democratic past as it was. The displays were not thrilling, but it was a fee museum, and a change of pace from walking around downtown. The funniest part was what the ladies working there were most enthusiastic about -- a bizarre, nude mural in a small building constructed inside the museum for it. Apparently it is the first mural ever painted in the country. We had to put cloth boots on over our shoes and then entered a small antechamber where the enthusiastic tour guide rambled on in Spanish for more than 20 minutes about it. She knew I did not speak Spanish, but I had to sit there and endure her lecture for me and the dozen other people. I fought doIng off several times, then chuckled when I thought, "It took the dude less time to paint it than it is for her to explain it!" Once permitted in the mural room, I shook my head and left with a few minutes. Sorry, I am not a fan of modern nude art with distorted female body parts overwhelming a painting. I'd rather look at street graffiti than this overrated crap...ha,ha!
From there, I worked my way down to the seaside. There us a bird sanctuary on an island protecting the waterfront. The shore facing the city looks more like a marsh than a coastal scene, and egrets and parrots flapped above or in its waters. I sat, drank a cold soft drink, and caught up on some email and Facebook, enjoying the feels of the 70+ degree heat and the sun warming my back. On the way back, I stopped by and explored an 1890s era frigate docked along the waterfront. It was cool to see that transition period from sailpower to electric and steam. Then, it was back to my hotel. It had been a good first day. Dinner a bit later was an amazing finish, too - incredible Italian food, with great bread and olive oil beforehand. I had followed my typical plan after an over-night, overseas flight. Do outdoor stuff. Minimize or cut out any museum visits. And Argentina had cooperated, giving me sunny, blue skies and warm weather to welcome me.