Friday, 14 June 2013

Big walking in da city

Have I been walking! Working it out, it looks like I did around 17km yesterday and I clocked around 13-14 kilometres today - so far. Will head out this evening for another walk-about. Phew!

Today I walked North of the city. Amazing the difference two kilometres out of the centre (Centro), where I'm staying. Fancier apartments, no McDonalds. More of a residential than a business area. More calm. More dogs. More parks. In fact, Recoleta and the northern part of San Telmo is quite pretty and had many parks.

I have quite a fascination with the dog walkers. Probably because I'd like to be a dog walker. Not in a city like this though. I'm quite surprised at how well behaved and docile these dogs are. They all walk nicely together. There was this one park where a few dog walkers had collected and some dogs were tied to the fence while others were free and in a fenced enclosure. Personally, if I was a dog owner and I hired a dog walker I'd follow them to see where they go and what they do. I wouldn't want my dog walker to tie the leads to a fence and leave the dogs just sitting there...

It is quite chilly today - a number of dogs had jerseys on.

In another park I saw the best thing. A guy with a dog and four CATS. What puzzles me is that these are pet cats in really good condition (not strays) and they were just sitting nicely on the lawn next to him and walking around right near him. Are they his cats or is he a cat walker? How'd he get the cats to the park? Did he walk them on leads? How far did they walk to get to the park?

In the much nicer neighbourhood that I went through today I saw many people walking their own dogs. All beautifully groomed (same with the dog walker dogs too) and walking so very nicely on leads. Totally city dogs.

Of interest, my tour guide for the second walking tour yesterday, Vicky, said that people from Buenos Aires don't show off if they have money. You see no Ferraris nor fancy-pants cars driving around. She said that they prefer not to publically flash their money. Instead they'll do nice things to their homes. I wonder whether the type of dog you have is a bit of a 'bling' thing? Some snooty pooches around.

I headed down to the Recoleta Cemetery. I've been there previously - nice to take a look around again. Packed with mausoleums, built by the original wealthy families of the city, there are something like 5,000 dead peeps in here. It's like a mini city of remains in ornate house-like tombs.

No flowers nor angels above the door to this mausoleum...
Near the cemetery is his amazing tree. Vicky said that this is the oldest tree in the city. It's a rubber tree and around 200 years old. They had to put supports under the branches.

And then off again to the Japanese Gardens. I expected them to be bigger... but they were pretty nonetheless. I don't think this time of year does the Garden much justice. I'm sure it is magnificent in Spring / Summer with leaves on the trees and an abundance of flowers and flowering trees. Still, it is pretty and quiet and nice to sit for a while.

I'm back at the hostel - chilling for a bit. Tomorrow I fly to Bariloche. Forecast is 10C and rain, with a low of -2C... I did pack my rain jacket and pants. There's a bus stop two blocks from here and the bus goes straight to the airport. Convenient! On the other side there's a bus from the airport too - and a walk of a few blocks to the hostel.

Ah... I wanted to tell you that this city is not dirty as I was told. For having 13 million people living here on top of each other it is pretty clean. Cleaner than Jo'burg city by a huge margin! Sure, there's a bit more litter in the Centro than, say, Recoleta and other nice-nice suburbs, but it really isn't bad.

Some stuff that Vicky told us last night...

If you get five locals together you can be sure that one will be a psychologist. They have two options, like us, for medical treatment: government or private. She says the doctors in the government system are really good but that the buildings and facilities are neglected and falling apart. So, most middle class and higher income pay for private medical. Two benefits they receive from this are: cosmetic plastic surgery procedure every two years and psychologist visits.

On the plastic surgery side she says BA is crazy for plastic surgery. At least 100 boob jobs a day! She says locals like to look good and so plastic surgery is very popular. Medical aid pays for this cosmetic surgery.

She says that locals also go to their psychologist once a week. For an hour. Just to chat. If you don't go to a psychologist, you're the odd one out.

Ah... Gaston, my morning guide, was answering someone's question about the tango, which is the national dance and an 'identity' of BA. He says only really older folk tango. Younger people don't. Not at all. Like between the ages of 25 (and younger) to 35 people don't dance tango. They don't go out to clubs to dance unless they're dance students; much like any people who go to dance classes. He doesn't tango and says that not one of his friends dances tango either. It's more popular with tourists than locals.

Off to the mountains tomorrow. Yay! And am soooo totally looking forward to starting Spanish lessons on Monday.

1 comment:

Robert Green said...

Read this mail just before heading out to park run and bumped in Fred with dog ready at park run. The run had a huge turnout due to Discovery coming on board as a sponsor and the entire run I was surronded by dogs having the time of their life. So at least the dogs here had a good time.