Buenos Aires Set at the furthest end of Latin America. After centuries of blending, the huge wave of immigrants that have come to the mild southern climate, the porteños (as inhabitants of Buenos Aires are called) often prided themselves on being European. They have often looked to Europe for their inspiration. Now after the immigrants have blended into their new land and realised the distance of mother Europe they look into their rich past and have developed a beautiful entity of their own that is Argentina.
These days Argentinians and porteños are decidedly more Argentinian than European. The legacy of their rich past makes the city somewhat of a standout in the region. After the marked devaluation of the peso in 2002, the city has had a revival of what. What has been left behind is the infrastructure of better times.
A porteño may have had Italian, Spanish, German, French or British blood amongst other nationalities. Suburbs that don’t really sound Spanish exist here. Belgrano, Palermo, Coughlan, Temperley to name a few thanks to the influence of the former immigrants. They brought with them their music and archictecture. You could be forgiven for sometimes thinking you are in France with some of the archictecture, but reality sets in when you see a local, sipping on his yerba mate and speaking a Spanish somewhat akin to the Italian- Neapolitan dialect. The European immigrants brought to life a style of music of their own. The tango; a sensual dance that reeks of porteño style, which became popular in the 1930′s an 40′s as far afield as France.
No city in Latin America has seen the wealth that Buenos Aires, and it shows in the cities architecture and infrastructure, albiet a little outdated. So much so that the city would be perfect for a movie set in the 1940′s. The Subte, Buenos Aires underground rail system still has it’s old train carriages; repainted and keep looking somewhat fresh but still outdated compared to other cities. Same with some of the train stations, like Peru station, with it’s tiled mural walls. This is what makes Buenos Aires so special.
Porteños love their sport, and participate in many varied sports. The English and other British immigrants founded more than just the football clubs in the city. River Plate and Boca Juniors are icons of the cities football fanaticism famous around the globe. Boca Juniors was formerly home to Diego to famous football players like Maradonna and Lionel Messi. A true local experience is to experience the atmosphere at a Boca Juniors or River Plate home game. The British also brought sports normally more popular in English speaking countries rather than Spanish ones. Polo clubs and rugby are also important sports here, and always have been. The Pumas the national team are these days one of international rugby’s big teams.
Discovering this city, especially in Spring and Autumn and you can visit such places as catch live tango displays in the streets of San Telmo and La Boca, but hold your nose there. La Boca near the riverside can smell a bit like a desemboca (sewer outlet). Puerto Madero the old docklands have been given a modern touch and are a great place to go visit and have a bite to eat or a coffee.
When it comes to food Porteños really have a good feed. They are meat crazy and make a great barbeque which is called “la parilla”. Argentina arguably has some of the best beef in the world. Other great gastrononical treats you can give yourself is to head down a leafy street in Belgrano or Palermo, and sampling some of Argentina fine wine with some great local food.
Buenos Aires has a great mild climate in the southern hemisphere and a gateway to other great places to visit in Argentina, and is good to visit 9 months of the year. It’s also a great place to sample great food, great local wine. The Paris of the south definitely has a lot to see and do.
While in Buenos Aires go down to La Boca to catch some live tango displays, have some yerba maté, have some great meat at a parilla, go to a River Plate or Boca Juniors home game, or have some great Argentine wine. Whatever you do your sure to enjoy it.