Hispanic Adventures Round II

12 10 2013

This on it’s own is a good reason to move to Spain

Since I returned from South America to the UK I’ve never really felt fully settled back into normal life, not least because the job market is pretty poor at the moment. As Britain continues to lurch blindly on I have to decided to get out and experience more of the world while the going’s good. This became possible when I managed to secure a possible job in Spain as an English teacher.

I’ve often been vocal about how lucky I am to have a British passport, not least because it makes it possible to live in another EU country with very little in the way of work visas. Whilst I do have to deal with a small amount of red tape to work in Spain it’s pretty minimal. I don’t know why doing something like this represents such a big push to people. I guess I haven’t really allowed myself to get comfortable in my London life but it’s easier to live abroad than you think considering the lack of barriers and the ease of travel.

Whilst it is true that the Spanish economy is probably three times as precarious as that of the UK (as our government would have us believe that ours is getting better, whilst it very clearly isn’t), I do feel attracted to the life-style and weather. Especially considering the work life balance actually represents something a bit more human (well there are more national days off at the very least) in comparison to the London stress mills.

Staying in London seems less attractive as I only see my life becoming bland and repetitive. Sure there are lots of things I could do but I only think I’ll end up doing the same rotations of activities everyone does, i.e.:

• Go to work and moan about the hell of commuting which takes a sizable chunk out of my pay packet manages to be a draining and miserable experience.

• Creating some kind of an identity out of my career and status

• Get wasted at the weekend by going to some East London bar with a silly name that sells overpriced and piss weak craft beer

• Take part in a charity run of some description if I’m feeling particularly adventurous (seriously it seems like half my friends do this every other weekend. The market for putting on running races is seriously oversubscribed)

• Watch box sets

• Go to one of the billion or so festivals that seem to have sprung up all over Britain in the last 10 years (I think five straight years of Reading was enough for me to get over the thrill of  festival camping, not to mention the other festivals seem too niche or eclectic for me to bother with)

If I can do all these things does this mean that I’ve made it in life? It really doesn’t seem all that exciting.

Maybe it’s because I’ve just turned 26 but I’ve found myself questioning my future. I must admit the idea of career importance is not very attractive to me. I’m happy to turn up do my bit and just live my life. The way I see it importance only leads to dependence from others, especially in the world of careers and I feel happier with a manageable level of responsibility. Is that so crazy?

There is still a desire for adventure within me and I can’t think of a better way than actually living in a different country for a period of time. Especially when said country takes about the same time to travel to as it does the North of England from London, if not less time.
The biggest advantage of all this is that I get to explore a new country and be paid to do so. Something I’ve aspired to do for a very long time and who knows perhaps there may be some money left over for a couple of trips around other places.

This way also equals more chorizo. I love chorizo!

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Coping with the London goldfish bowl

2 09 2013

It’s a nice enough place to live as long as it’s cleaned out regularly.

Since arriving back in London I feel like I’m getting out and exploring more but not necessarily going out of my neighbourhood. It’s a very strange feeling where even the smallest change of scenery, even if it’s scenery you’ve seen before, seems like a refreshing change. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been moving around so much this year that it now seems strange. I certainly never gave this much thought before.

It’s very easy to do this in England. Being such a small country with such small towns you become almost trapped where you are and amongst the communities you live in. I think the feeling becomes even more pronounced in London as it can be all encompassing to live in. Returning from travel to here (or perhaps generally) really is like jumping back into a goldfish bowl and occasionally staring outside. Although, in the case of London it’s a top of the range bowl with an opening treasure chest, mini diver and little castle complete with all the mod cons.

This is how many of us live our lives really wandering around and retreading the same footsteps over and over. This is one area of my life where I know that I’ve been extremely lucky to see outside of. Some people never leave the city they live in. I see people from my school years fall into this trap sometimes. This isn’t always a bad thing if you approach it with curiosity. I’m still discovering new places in my home region all the time and that’s one thing that makes life a lot more interesting.

In my case there’s an additional factor too, walking around familiar haunts has an air of unfamiliarity now as I encounter the six months of change that have occurred since I’ve been gone. Things have inevitably changed since I’ve been gone. I happened to walk past my old school recently, which has undergone a multimillion pound rebuild since I left it in 2006 and was unsurprisingly unrecognizable. Even that had changed dramatically in the six months since I’d been gone as the last remnants of the old place I knew had been swept away. That’s progress however and thinking about the world in that way makes me appreciate how many elderly people must feel.

Then again it’s better to get out and do something rather than dwell on the regrets of your previous years. If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from this year it’s probably that.





London firsts: Notting Hill Carnival

27 08 2013

I’ve lived near to London all of my life but there are still many elements of living in the capital that I have yet to sample. One of these was the Notting Hill Carnival in North West London, which I decided to rectify.

London and England especially are not thought of as carnival venues in the way that Rio or New Orleans are on a world-wide level. In Europe that kind of celebration is normally reserved for the likes of Spain and Germany, which both have extensive nationwide carnival events every year.   Sadly the closest we have to that nationally are the old May Day events or Morris dancing and if that’s not depressing I don’t know what is. However, Notting Hill is one of the exceptions to this rule boasting an inclusive and energetic event that anyone can attend.

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The carnival started around the beginning of the 1960s as a cultural event to improve relations between the indigenous English and the many West Indian migrants living in the Notting Hill area, shortly after the disastrous race riots in the preceding years. Since its humble beginnings as a small local celebration it has become one of London’s most colourful parties.

There’s much to experience. There’s a huge wealth of music to enjoy, ranging from Caribbean steel drums, London’s own local RnB sounds, retro classics or the latest dance music. The atmosphere is really infectious so don’t be surprised if you find yourself dancing to whatever’s playing. Many people spend hours raving to the music and often for as long as the local noise rules will allow; if not beyond.

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As the carnival has its historical roots among the Afro-Caribbean community in the area the food you can buy onsite is mostly influenced by West Indian cuisine. Naturally, almost every food vendor boasts tasty jerk chicken, curried goat, rice and peas, or fried plantain. You also can’t seem to go anywhere without the smell of barbequed meat wafting around you due to the volume of these stalls.

Of course, it wouldn’t be possible to talk about any carnival without discussing the elaborate costumes. Like any major carnival you can’t walk anywhere without a procession of large, sparkling costumes, which sometimes leave little to the imagination. That being said it can’t be claimed that the costumes are unimaginative as some are gigantic creations.

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Whilst the carnival had developed a bad reputation for violence and troubles with police a few years ago, much of this seems to have been forgotten today. Certainly every year there will be a few arrests which are par for the course with an event with this many people, especially when alcohol is added into the equation. However, it’s clear to see that the organisers and the police on duty seem to have taken a leaf out of last year’s Olympics Games Makers book by taking a friendly and good humoured approach to the crowds. Hence many more shared stories like this are appearing online.

The carnival boasts a little bit of everything for whatever your age may be and definitely deserves its place on the list of top London cultural events.





4 often overlooked facts about famous London landmarks

23 08 2013

London is truly a premier world city with people from all over the globe flocking to bathe in its history and culture. However, there are many truths that have been forgotten over time about some of its best loved landmarks; facts that tourists often don’t realise until they visit the city itself.

So named after Britain’s greatest bouncer?

“Big Ben” isn’t really called Big Ben

I think more and more people are aware of this fact now but Big Ben refers to the large hour bell used in the clock tower rather than the clock tower itself. The tower is actually called Elizabeth Tower and is part of the Palace of Westminster. It’s the biggest four faced chiming clock tower in the world and was built in 1858 as part of a renovation project to rebuild the palace after the previous structure was damaged by a fire. It is easily London’s best known landmark, often appearing in film and TV and attracts millions of visitors year on year.

Just to be clear this is NOT London Bridge

Old London Bridge ended up in the Arizona desert

In 1967 the 19thcentury built London Bridge was showing its age and the Council of London decided to sell it and construct a new bridge in its place. Along came Robert P McCulloch an oil man from Missouri, who bought the bridge nearly $2.5 million. The reason for why McCulloch wanted to buy this bridge and move it across the Atlantic is slightly unclear, although it’s often been joked that he meant to buy Tower Bridge which is often confused with London Bridge. Nevertheless, the bridge was taken to pieces and shipped to Lake Havasu City in Arizona where it was reconstructed and still stands to this day.

 

You can buy misspelled nick-nacks here too.

The name Covent Garden is actually a misspelling (sort of)

Covent Garden used to be one of London’s busiest fruit and vegetable markets before its transformation into a shopping centre but the name is actually a centuries old misspelling of sorts. The land it was built on was originally called the Garden of the Abbey and the Convent. However the word Covent crept in around the 1200s due to the inconsistent Middle English language used at the time. In any case the name stuck and Covent Garden it has remained.

 

I wonder how long before the ghost of Maggie Thatcher moves back in?

10 Downing Street is reportedly haunted

How many jokes could be made at any incumbent Prime Minister’s expense about the house being haunted by him or her? However, it’s been said that the house is actually haunted by the spirits of long dead politicians. The most famous of these spirits is the purported ghost of former Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, the only British Prime Minister to ever be assassinated whilst in power, who is said to appear in moments when Britain is facing a crisis or a great danger. There are also some people who believe that the ghost of Winston Churchill likes to lurk around his old residence after reports of a strong cigar smoke smell were reported by some. This would probably have more credence if Number 10’s whiskey and brandy stocks kept on mysteriously emptying themselves.





Travels in the UK: Camping in Pevensey

12 08 2013
To be honest I probably overpacked.

To be honest I probably overpacked.

Despite travelling to 14 countries in the last 12 months I’ve gradually come to realise that I do little exploration in my own. Seeing that Britain has over 11,000 miles of coastline to play with a trip to the seaside was on the cards at some point and a family camping trip was all it took to make it a reality. Compared to my more recent excursions this felt like a stay in a five star hotel. There was no lugging my bag around crowded public transport, instead I just loaded everything in my car and pulled up at the campsite. Supermarkets were nearby, we’d brought all the mod cons with us and there was even a damn toilet block, with toilet paper. It was a world away from my last time camping.

The destination was Pevensey: a small town between Hastings, where the last invasion of Britain took place in 1066, and Eastbourne a pleasant seaside town where people go to die. Whilst I wouldn’t be exploring anywhere new it was good to get out into the Great British countryside.

It's simple but pretty

It’s simple but pretty

I came upon a few realisations whilst making my way through said countryside. Firstly, I’ve never truly appreciated how small Britain is. Driving from where I live in South London to the coast covers about 60 miles or a drive of about one and half hours. Compared to the city to city drives of 8 hours plus in the likes of Peru, Argentina or Bolivia this seemed like nothing at all and was as if I’d hardly even left London. I also realised how old this country is. When you get out of London it really is easy to happen across towns and hamlets that look like they’re perpetually in the 1600s. It really is a different world out of the capital.

Let's hope you brought sandals or your every step will be filled with pain and misery

Let’s hope you brought sandals or your every step will be filled with pain and misery

Beaches in the UK will also come as a shock to many who are unfamiliar with them. The biggest problem is the pebbles. Many beaches on the South coast of the UK are shingle meaning little to no sand, just foot jabbing stones. When you’ve made your way through that bed of nails you’re then met with a cold sea, however once you’re inside it isn’t too bad. The tides are probably one of the biggest concerns when you’re lying on a beach in England. They come in fast and retreat just as fast. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your gear or how close the sea is creeping. Otherwise you may be going for a swim whether you planned to or not.

It's all so comparatively civilised

It’s all so comparatively civilised to the treks of South America

Camping in Britain is quirky, most of the time it could be compared to lugging a smaller home to a field for a few days. This has always been my experience as my uncle has owned an camper van (or RV if you don’t know what that is) in some shape or form all my life, obviously this time round it invited fun comparisons with the RV in Breaking Bad. Naturally one of the biggest factors with an outdoor activity like this here on our little island is the weather. Luckily this time it held although a persistent downpour can very easily turn your light-hearted weekend of outdoor fun and frolics into a miserable one. Despite the sometimes dreary outlook we still do it and owning a camper van or caravan makes life a lot easier in these cases. There’s nothing worse than being trapped in a cramped leaky tent all day. Then again that never stops thousands of Glastonbury revellers every year.

You never know what crazy beasts you'll meet (although I should point out mad cow disease is no longer an issue in the UK)

You never know what crazy beasts you’ll meet (Although mad cow disease is no longer an issue in the UK)

There are only three types of food you tend to eat when you camp in the UK, especially in the case of a seaside trip. First is the customary fish and chip dinner. Oh yes, because you’re by the sea you have to shovel some deep fried battered sea life down your throat, that or a savaloy (which looks like a hotdog but in truth I have no idea what the hell it is). Then of course there is the obligatory barbecue complete with burgers, sausages and vegetarian option for those who prefer that. Picnics are also a commonality with sausage rolls; scotch eggs (basically an egg in bread crumbed meat) and other quintessential favourites. You’re more than likely to encounter all three on your trip and with intermittent pre-packed ice creams such as cornettos, magnums or FABs. The food on a camping trip like this is certainly odd and eclectic but it’s surprisingly satisfying.

The key thing about a British camping trip is the balance between treading slightly into the wilderness and having your home comforts. Obviously when you camp in a commercial camping ground you’re opting for a greater share of the latter but that doesn’t mean you don’t get to enjoy the outdoors. It gives you a foot in both worlds.





Settling back: A travel retrospective

1 08 2013

Tea and rain. Britain is the same as ever

It’s now been a few weeks since I returned from my Latin American adventure and it feels already as if an age has passed since I did anything remotely interesting. So, what better way to try and then to look back on the last few months.

I had some pretty high expectations for the Latin American world and for the most part I wasn’t disappointed. I definitely had favourites and places that let me down but luckily there are more of the former.

So, because the Internet seems to love lists, here are some lists about things I saw on my trip.

Countries I liked best on this trip:

Peru
This country attracts thousands of visitors every year and it’s easy to see why with it’s blend of desert, Pacific coast and Inca treasures. Unlike many of its neighbours it also has probably some of the best dishes and drinks that the region has to offer with its mix of ceviche, lomo saltado and chaufa washed down with the likes of chicha morada, Inca Cola and Pisco Sours. Oh, and who can forget the delicious local brew Cusquena (which mercifully is available in my local supermarket). A real treat of a country.

Guatemala

Guatemala has a lot to offer a traveller, whilst giving you the feeling that you’re moving off the beaten track and into the unknown. Amongst its top sights are the beautiful Semuc Champay, the spectacular temples of Tikal and many volcanoes and lakes. It’s like nature and the ancient world decided to chuck everything at Guatemala and succeeded.

Argentina
Going from Bolivia to Argentina as I did felt like I’d moved decades into the future. Argentina has a mix of the modern and Latin insanity about it. Everything runs, but it runs in a strange way. It’s well known but Argentines know how to party and the Portenos of Buenos Aires even more so. As if that wasn’t enough, when you go out to eat the wine flows and the steak is plentiful, tasty and not as eye wateringly expensive as the chop houses or Argentine parillas of central London.

Belize
I didn’t spend very long in Belize, not more than a few days, but it was definitely one of the countries that stuck with me. The few days I did spend on the Caribbean paradise of Caye Caulker were tranquil and relaxing. It’s a great place to unwind and disconnect from the world, as you genuinely feel like you’re miles away from everywhere. I suppose that much is factually true too.

Places I liked least:

Honduras
This country has problems and you can tell just by walking its streets. Thankfully since I was there there have been some encouraging political developments and maybe some hope for this em-battered country’s future but it will be a few years before it gets there. However I don’t have much praise for this run down and crime riddled country, not so much because of the dirt and squalor but more due to the fact there just isn’t much to see there.

Mexico

Way too many Americans. Way too many. This isn’t because I don’t like Americans as a rule but just because the Americans that do travel to Mexico are awful for the most part. Package tourists with no knowledge or interest in learning about the culture that prefer to swagger around drinking tequila and wearing idiotic-looking sombreros. It’s frighteningly similar to what we British have done to neighbourhoods on the coast of Spain.

Los Angeles
LA has a bad rep around the world and having been there myself I’m forced to agree. Hollywood Boulevard is tacky and grimy, it’s impossible to walk around the city and everything feels slightly fake.

Puno, Peru
This town is horrible. Yes, it is on the shores of the beautiful Lake Titicaca but Puno itself is a dive. If you do go get in, see the lake and leave as fast as you can for Bolivia, Cusco or Arequipa, which are all much better.

The best natural and ancient wonders I encountered:

Misty and amazing

Iguassu Falls, Argentina and Brazil
I know I’ve said it before but the sight of these falls takes your breath away and it doesn’t matter which side of the river you’re standing on.

Tikal Guatemala
In Tikal not only can you take in the ‘Manhattan of the Mayas’ with its towering pyramids but you also can enjoy the wonders of the jungle and the many creatures that live within it such as monkeys, crocodiles and exotic bird life.

The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, Peru
Booking the Inca Trail may need to be done months in advance and may cost a fortune, not to mention the walk itself can be hard work, but it’s definitely worth it. In the few days it takes to walk the trail you’ll spot loads of Inca sites and encounter cloud forest, mountains and see amazing panoramas. Machu Picchu itself isn’t too bad either.

Semuc Champay, Guatemala
Guatemala with its tropical climate is hot, very hot. What better way to cool off than to take a swim in these natural limestone pools. It’s like nature’s municipal swimming pool complete with natural limestone water slides and kiddie pool.

Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

If you love rainforests and wildlife then this is the place to go. This pretty park is full to bursting with sloths, lizards of all kinds, coodimundies, monkeys and birds. Also if you are feeling the heat there’s a beach for you to chill out on within the confines.

The Salt Flats of Uyuni, Bolivia

Have you ever wanted to see a horizon like no other? The salt flats seem to stretch on forever and if you ever wanted to stand in the middle of nothing then this is place to go or see the sky meet the land on the flattest land you could imagine then this is definitely the place for you.

Fun Facts about my trip:

I visited 12 countries in 5 and half months

Of the 12:

  • 9 spoke Spanish
  • 2 spoke English
  • 1 spoke Portuguese
  • Only the United States needed a pre-arranged visa (or visa waver). For the rest I simply turned up with a British passport and walked in
  • I spent the most time in Argentina: 5 weeks
  • I spent the least time in Brazil: 3 hours
  • All accepted US dollars in one way or another
  • 3 boasted cities that are amongst the top five highest in the world

Other things of interest:

  • About one week of my trip was solely dedicated to bus travel if you add all the time up
  • La Paz is the world’s highest capital
  • Colca Canyon in Peru is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon
  • Iguassu falls is taller and wider than Niagara falls
  • Tikal in Guatemala boasts the tallest Mayan pyramids in the world (which you can climb)
  • Potosi in Bolivia has one of the country’s last working silver mines, which you can tour around and even blow up dynamite within. Best not let your health insurance provider know about that one…

Now that I’m back home in ‘Blighty’ I’m hoping to keep the blog running in some capacity or (hopefully) journey somewhere new and continue as before. Who knows? Either way stay tuned for more world ramblings.





Argentina Part V – Tango, beef, music and Evita

8 07 2013
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It really does take two to tango

After a final 20 hour bus ride I arrived in the final destination of my long journey, Buenos Aires.

One of my first impressions of the city was that it certainly lives up to its name. The air is indeed very nice there, as I was initially met with Mediterranean warmth and a cool breeze to balance it out. Good air for sure, albeit with a hint of pollution.

It’s easy to see why Buenos Aires is often talked about as one of the great world cities, owing to it’s size, Parisian architecture and lively atmosphere. The city is truly alive and there is always something new going on and surprises to be found everywhere. Not only that but the public transit system is fantastic and the city streets and landmarks all within a walkable distance; a stark contrast to the start of my trip.

Like some of the cities Buenos Aires has a very good English language free tour run by knowledgeable and interesting guides. There are two offered by the company, one at 11am and a second at 5pm.

The 11am tour begins outside the Washington Capitol-esque Congress Palace. This is frequented by daily protests by one of the many loud union organisations and pressure groups to demonstrate against job losses, poverty and the ongoing problem of currency inflation amongst other things. All of this is carried out with the gusto, drums and obligatory brass instruments you’d expect from a South American protest.

Strangely, adjacent to the Congress is a small Parisian style cafe with a Moulin Rouge-like windmill sitting on top. At one point this is where politicians worked when the Congress was closed by the ruling Junta between 1976 and 1983, however now it is held by squatters who are claiming squatters rights. This is not the only architectural oddity to be found in the area, as less than a block away on the same street is a large office building based on the Divine Comedy. There is a floor called hell as well as a floor called heaven, and the floor structure is based on Dante’s vision of the afterlife.

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“Why is there a picture of a guy eating a sandwich on that building” – Genuine tourist question

Believe it or not, but Buenos Aires boasts one of the widest avenues in the world. Avenida 9 de Julio spans an impressive width of one city block (or about 110m) and contains about six lanes of traffic and a dedicated bus lane and station system (under construction). Along this monstrous highway is a building with an outline drawing of Eva Peron upon it as implemented by President Christina Kirchner in memorium to the nation’s beloved Evita. Evita pops up everywhere in the city, in murals, statues and obviously on buildings and it’s clear to see that she is still remembered for her work with the nation’s poor.

At the opposite end of the street that the congress building’s is on is the Plaza de 25 Mayo and the Presidential offices. The offices themselves are painted pink, nobody knows why this is. It’s been suggested that this is because of a white wash shortage at the time of it’s final construction but this is unsubstantiated. It was also here I learned that there is a dedicated helipad for President Kirchner, who actually travels to work and home by helicopter paid for by the tax payers, which seems a little frivolous. I can only wonder how this would go down here in the UK if it turned out David Cameron had his own private tax-payer funded helicopter to travel between Downing Street and, well, anywhere. The plaza also boasts a small temporary wall full of protester messages. This stands to keep the protesters a safe distance from the offices whilst allowing people to protest nearby, but in reality allows the politicians to effectively drown out the noise and proximity of political unrest. This is just the crazy nature of Argentine politics (and I think we have a similar concept in Westminster too). In addition to the frequent demonstrations, every Thursday Plaza de Mayo hosts a vigil from the mothers and grand mothers of people who disappeared during the Military Junta. Somewhere in the region of 30,000 people went missing during this era and it’s something that the Argentine people still remember with a strong sense of bitterness.

It’s possible to do a tour of the offices and on Sunday’s it’s free to the public. Inside the palace is as lavish as you would expect for a head of state and her cabinet, although there is a strange room which seems to act as a shrine to Evita and contains one of her outfits and many posters and pictures of the great lady. It’s at times like this when the national adulation comes across as a little creepy and shows us how far things could have gone in the wake of Princess Diana’s death here in the UK.

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One of the premier tourist destinations in Buenos Aires is La Boca, home of traditional tango dancing, colourful buildings and the infamous Boca Juniors football team. It’s an interesting area to visit but by god does it live up to it’s touristy reputation. The main streets are full of token tango dancers, tourist restaurants and the usual souvenir tat. That being said, it is an area with some character if you walk a few streets from the main tourist drag, although I think the area has a dubious reputation when it comes to crime so take care where you go and keep your eyes open if you do wander off the beaten track.

At the other end of town is Recoleta, where the free 5pm tour takes place. The neighbourhood is a pretty and affluent area full of embassies, parks, museums and, morbidly, Evita’s grave. This is where you will find the high end fashion boutiques, expensive hotels and wealthier residents. However, this being Buenos Aires, where the locals are not big fans of the show offish or bling bling mentality, there’s actually not that great a display of wealth to be seen although I’m told this is where you’ll find many plastic surgeon patrons wandering round. Recoleta is additonally an excellent place to find bars and places to drink in the evening. There is even one infamous example modeled on the prohibition speakeasy, with a flower shop upstairs leading to a basement bar below. Why this need exist in a country that has never banned alcohol is unclear, but it’s a fairly cool idea all the same. One thing that confused me slightly however was the presence of a Vatican City embassy in the neighbourhood. I have been to Vatican City and it is quite frankly tiny, so the necessity of a embassy anywhere – albeit in this case in the incumbent Pope’s home country – seems somewhat pointless. Also, why not use a church for the diplomatic purposes of the Vatican, considering every church here is almost certain to be Catholic?

A compelling argument against vegetarianism

A compelling argument against vegetarianism

During my time in the city I was lucky enough to sample few small glimpses into local ‘Porteno’ life. This was through two things the city, and Argentina generally, are famous for. Music and asado (BBQ). The live music I sampled was quite standard for the most part. Much of whats on offer in the rock bars sounds a lot like Ska and every band seems to feature a trombonist. Whilst this all seemed to be fairly homogenous it’s entertaining to watch as performances always feature the energy and flair that Buenos Aires is famous for throughout the world.

A real Asado is something truly out of this world. The ingredients are meat, meat and more meat, with some bread and chimichurri on the side. A true BBQ grill or Parilla in Argentina should be big enough to cook a cow whole and considering the amount of beef on the grill at any time, you could be forgiven for thinking the Asador or chef, is attempting to test that out for himself. Other favourites are chorizo, morcilla (a type of really nice black pudding) and occasionally beef kidneys and intestines. You’d think you could get bored of beef after a month of eating almost nothing else but surprisingly it doesn’t get boring when it’s done right.

I don’t think I could say as much as I would like to about Buenos Aires as it could fill pages. That being said it’s a city you should definitely visit and one that made an excellent end to my travels through Latin America. When it finally came time to leave Argentina and South America my travel was almost interrupted by a fairly routine protest against low wages and high inflation. It seemed as if South America didn’t want me to leave, as much as I didn’t want to leave it.