We came to Argentina as the jump off spot to begin our trip to Antarctica.
When we visited this country, the economy was in near shambles. The currency had just been devalued, and the US dollar would buy an incredible amount of merchandise. We went to an
elegant night club, had a marvelous dinner, then a most enjoyable tango dance show. Including the pick up and return by private, chartered taxi, the bill for the entire night was less than $25.00 for the
two of us!
You could rent a two or three bedroom flat in the heart of Buenos Aires, hire a housekeeper and cook, perhaps even a driver, and get away with less than $900.00 per month. We had no trouble communicating in English, and never felt uncomfortable
about our personal safety.
We went shopping at the pedestrian mall on Florida Street, an upscale area with elegantly chic boutiques, empty of customers. There were many families, Moms, Dads, children, sometimes a baby, begging
for money to buy food and milk. For a moment, I felt ashamed at our good fortune, for I think many Americans don't realize just how well off we are.
As we strolled along, there was a large crowd gathered ahead of us. We tried to navigate past them, and as we did, we saw they had congregated to watch these two street
dancers, pictured above, whom we assumed (correctly) were teacher and student.
They were fantastic, much better than the dancers we had seen at the fancy tango club, and we gave them a sizable tip when the red hat was passed around. The young girl noticed our tip and was quite pleased. She came over and set up
the picture at the top of the page for me.
We also made it a point to visit the grave site of Evita Duarte Peron, beloved First Lady of Argentina in the mid 1940's to the early 1950's. Famous in her own time, she became even more so because of Andrew Lloyd Webber's smash broadway musical hit, "Evita", and a movie about her life, starring Madonna.
Photo: At the tomb of Evita Peron, Buenos Aires, Argentina
She died in 1952, but remains so beloved by Argentineans that to this day, there are fresh flowers appearing daily at her grave.
Sailing from the mainland of Argentina, we headed first for the Falkland Islands, site of a war between Argentina and Great Britain in the early 1980's. Argentina lost badly, and there is no question the country is heavily influenced by its English inheritance.
The island capitol, Stanley, is too small for the typical English red double decker busses, but does support a great local newspaper.
One other sight we especially enjoyed- this:
This is the Christ Church Cathedral, built in 1892. The remarkable archway in front of the church is made from the jawbones of a blue whale. The arch is nearly 20 feet high!
F.Y.I.- The blue whale is the largest of whales, reaching lengths of up to 98 feet, and weighing as much as 160 tons (32,000 pounds). When we were there (January 2003) is was estimated that no more than 450 of these splendid creatures remain- all that are left after severe exploitation by man.