After two days more at sea in the sunshine, basking in the Jacuzzi, reading, eating and writing, it was on to Buenos Aires. There was a little trepidation regarding our welcome in Argentina. After the Falklands war there was a possibility that we might not be so popular.
Our on-board lecture was very good. It painted the political and social scene very. We could expect a city that would seem very orderly and European after the colourful muddle of Brazil. There were not the same slums and poverty. Neither was there the ethnic diversity. This was explained by the facts that the Argentinians had not been involved with the slave trade and had wiped out their indigenous Indian population in the early years. One of those seemed a good thing and the other reprehensible. I’m not a big fan of genocide.
We walked through the city of Buenos Aires and felt safe and at home. All the Argentinian people we met were friendly and there was none of the shabby dilapidation of Brazil. Argentina was less colourful and vibrant but there did not seem to be the poverty and its resultant religious frenzy. It was not as vibrant but it felt safe and homely – like the section of Europe transported to the tropics we had been promised.
We walked through the green parks with their parakeets and exotic trees in flower. The roads were broad and the parks were plentiful. It had an open feel to it. The sun shone. We stopped for a coffee and a beer. It felt relaxed and friendly.
The thing I noticed about Argentina was its love of bronze statues. Everyone who had ever done anything was rewarded with a statue. The parks and squares were littered with them.
First port of call was Eva Peron’s balcony where she’d made her famous address to the masses from the pink palace. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the Peron’s. I applauded the stance they’d taken for the workers and women’s rights. It seemed to be right in line with the whole principle of fairness, justice and equality that I espoused. Evita was standing up for the ordinary man and woman against the establishment and their controlling elite. I could agree with that whole-heartedly. I wasn’t so sure when it came to their support of Hitler, Mussolini and the whole fascist principles. It seemed confusing. Anyway they were overthrown by one of those inevitable military coups that re-established tyrannical rule and ensconced the elite in luxury while torturing the population into submission – the recurring theme of South America.
We stood in the 25th May square and marvelled at the way South American countries had a habit of naming things after significant historical dates of historical events. There were a series of bridges and squares known just by a date. The May Square celebrated the 25th May 1810 revolution that gained the country its independence from Spain.
It was still a seat of demonstration and we walked among the huge protest camp with its posters, signs and silhouettes of dead soldiers protesting about the treatment of veterans from the Falklands/Malvinas war.
We walked along through the city with its classical architecture, green parks, obelisks and statues and sampled the beers.
After that there was nothing for it but to head for the cemetery. This was renowned for its lavish tombs with Eva Peron (Evita) having pride of place.
In the park there was an enterprising couple who were busking by doing a Tango for the tourists. It was an appetiser. That evening Liz, being a dancer, wanted to sample the delights of the most erotic dance on the planet – straight out of the Argentinian brothels into the ballrooms of the world.
Then it was back to the ship for another prolonged sunset as we flowed out of Buenos Aires harbour leaving the city encased in an orange glow. It seemed appropriate.
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