02 July 2008
This afternoon, we wandered around Palermo. We set out at about 2PM, and dodged doody for four hours as we explored the bustling barrio on foot. At about 4:30, we noticed a lot more activity along the streets, as parents lined up to pick up their kids at school. I had a "small world" moment when I saw a student walk by with the same polka dot backpack that Caroline uses for school! The highlight of our walk was Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires-- the Buenos Aires Botanical Garden. It's winter here and there's not a lot that's blooming, but the giant old oak and eucalyptus trees are beautiful. The garden has hundreds of permanent residents: cats! These aren't feral animals; they're fluffy, healthy pets. Jardín Botánico is an unofficial refuge for unwanted cats. Porteños provide food for the animals, and local vets keep them healthy.
Lorena made a dinner reservation for us at a local wine bar, Diseño Liquido. After our big meal at La Cabrera last night, we needed to temporarily shift gears. We had an '03 Angelica Zapata Cab that we really enjoyed. It was almost black in color and very primary, but not the slightest bit hot or goopy. It was a nice match for Diseño Liquido's mushroom-cabernet risotto.
We're spoiled by the ubiquity of English speakers in Europe. We traveled twice to Amsterdam in the past year and a half, and never spoke more than a couple of words in Dutch. Even in smaller towns in Belgium, we got by with very little French. In Buenos Aires, our (admittedly rudimentary) Spanish skills have been essential. Outside of the hotels, we've found that most Argentines don't speak English any better than we speak Spanish. Fortunately, they're very friendly, and they try their hardest to meet us half-way. It's amazing how well you can communicate without verbs!
Tomorrow, San Telmo.