La Recoleta is an area with tree lined streets, elegant homes, fashionable restaurants and shops and the famous La Recoleta Cemetery where Eva Peron is buried. You could wander for hours in this amazing city of the dead with impressive statuary, marble sarcophagi, tombs, mausoleums and crypts. The city’s most elite sector of society made it past these gates – past presidents, military heroes, influential politicians and the just plain rich and famous. Evita’s grave is down one of the side streets and easily missed. For about $50,000 and a $3,000 month fee you can still be buried here.
One evening we enjoyed a home hosted dinner with a young couple and their 6-year-old daughter. Aida and Mario live in a small condominium and Aida greeted us in the lobby then took us on a little tour of her neighborhood as she shopped for some last minute groceries. Within a couple of blocks she had access to a bakery, grocery store. On the walk back to her home we passed a pasta shop where, she said, they make fresh pasta every day. We were surprised to learn that the second largest group of ethnics is Italian.
Aida was originally from Spain and came to Buenos Aires to work on a yearlong project at the embassy. Mario is Argentinean and from La Pampa, land of the gauchos. When Aida moved here she wanted to learn something very Argentinean and enrolled in tango classes. She would venture out to the tango clubs in the evening to practice her newfound skill and eventually that is where she met Mario, at a tango club. They have a 6-year-old daughter who was very shy, keeping to herself until late in the visit when she finally joined us but still clung to daddy.
Mario is the cook and along with a delicious dinner he prepared for us the traditional dessert of Argentina, flan, the best I’ve ever eaten. We had a delightful evening enjoying the company and conversation very much; they were candid about their life, their politics, their passions (tango, meat, wine, soccer and matte) and made us feel like part of their family. Aida did most of the talking, Mario was a bit shy because he is still learning English but we encouraged him and with more wine he began to feel more comfortable. They are a charming couple. After dinner they surprised us by dancing for us on the patio. It was quite wonderful; their condo is one of a few in the building that has a large patio area that Aida has turned into a garden. We watched as they gracefully tangoed under the stars, it was magical.
Puerto Modero is an upscale redeveloped waterfront area and one of the trendiest boroughs in Buenos Aires, occupying a significant portion of the Rio de la Plata riverbank and representing the latest architectural trends in the city. In the 1990’s this massive regeneration effort recycled and refurbished warehouses into elegant lofts, offices, hotels, and restaurants, cinema and theater. Old cranes have been left in place as a reminder of the past. Two old saling ships contrast with the modern high rise buildings and the riverside promenade is a lovely open space to stroll or just sit and people watch.