My Last Ride into Buenos Aires
The cool morning in San Antonio de Areco was a reminder of the changing seasons. Heavy fog and light rain greeted me as I packed up my bike. Winter will be here soon. I only had two hours of riding to reach Buenos Aires, the final city on my journey. How could I already be here? It doesn’t seem like seven months have passed since beginning. The two lane road leaving the small rural town soon became a massive 10 lane highway leading me to the capital city. With the light rain coming down I kept the camera tucked away but had to mark the occasion with at least one photo.
I timed my arrival into the bustling city hoping to avoid any morning rush hour traffic and it worked. Soon I was making right and left turns through the capital’s neighborhood of Villa Urquiza. A few weeks earlier I had found a host on Couchsurfing who was willing to put me up during my stay. My post in the Couch Wanted section basically read “I’m finishing my moto trip from California. I want to learn how to make empanadas, grill assado, see lots of live music, learn the tango, practice Spanish, meet good people, and drink wine.” The invitations started coming in from people all over the city. Even before I arrived I knew I would love Buenos Aires.
Denise met me outside the tall highrise apartment building and let me park my moto in the gated garage. With an accent distinct to Buenos Aires she welcomed me to her city. I spent the next two weeks there with Denise and her cat Mollo (named after famed Argentine musician Ricardo Mollo of Dividios).
My routine quickly changed to adapt to life in the city. Wake up around 11am. Drink coffee. Walk to one of the ten local empanada shops for lunch. Hop on the bus or metro and explore Buenos Aires. Depending on the night, take a nap at 10 or 11pm followed by a cup of coffee, a late dinner, go out to birthday party, concert, club, or bar.
Buenos Aires is a historic city with a storied history and a vast population. The city of 3 million plus is the center of a metro area of over 15 million people. The city’s old european architecture and famed culture draw millions of visitors from around the globe. The locals in Buenos Aires are called “porteños” which means port people. It didn’t take long for me to figure out the bus system and metro stops. The city is easily accessible, it just takes some time to get across it. With the favorable exchange rate, getting around was incredibly cheap. To get across the entire city cost about $5 in a 40 minute taxi ride.
While there are enough restaurants in the city to never have to cook at home, I wasn’t going to leave Argentina without learning how to make empanadas. Thankfully, Denise graciously offered to teach me how I could make my very own. After a trip to the market we came back and spent the next hour making my favorite Argentine dish. Poor Deni was so patient teaching me how to properly fold over and over again. Eventually she just showed me the easier way.
Like so many other times on this solo journey I felt like I had a group of friends and family in this new city. Denise grew up nearby and has lifelong friends and family just a few minutes away. Always open to making new friends I accepted all the invitations to birthday parties and BBQs. At her friends bbq the night didn’t get started to well after 10pm. By 3am we were dancing in the living room. Parents and kids alike. By 3:30am I realized I couldn’t keep up with the locals. I was outlasted by a 3 year old, a few 8 year olds, and a nine month old. Buenos Aires is just a different place. It’s in the Porteños blood to stay up late.
There’s too many stories to share in one post about my three weeks in Buenos Aires so I’ll be posting many other stories in separate blogs. Stay tuned as I learn the Tango, discover Buenos Aires’ local music scene, a visit from an American friend, crate up my motorcycle, and make the most of my final days in South America.