Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Buenos Aires: The Funkier Side

After seeing the sights, it is always nice to check out some of the more offbeat attractions of the city. Top on the list were two attraction in the southern side of the city: The San Telmo Antique Market and the origin of the tango sound, the Caminito.

The San Telmo Antique Market was our first stop. To get there, you can take a cab or hop on the Subte Line C to San Juan (Subway Map). From there, it is a half mile walk to the market. Once there, you are in a top notch antique market that fills the entire square. Each table has it's own thing and vendors of seltzer bottles stand right next to tables full of original art, books, or clothing. There is something a the market for everyone, including me: I bought a 50 year old subte token to add to my transit pass collection.

The market is huge and most of the things on sale reflect both the prime location and popularity of the market. Things are expensive, but do not be afraid to haggle. The first price you get is likely double what they will actually take in many cases (especially for nick-nacks like my token). The market is large enough to easily soak an hour or two of your time, or more if you aren't hurrying off to the next place. It's well worth a visit and the one of the best markets I've been to.

After the break, more from the San Telmo Antique Market, the famed (but overrated?) Caminito, and Street Art galore!

Among all of the stands, there was also this choice advertisement from another era. It reads, "Heading to Paris? Travel in a luxurious and modern DC-6 from Aerolineas Argentinas and arrive in Paris in just 34 hours!" That would put this in the immediate post-WWII era, but to think that the same trip today takes a little over a third as long and can be done as a non-stop flight (Air France offers the connection).

Caminito in La Boca is where the sound of tango started. At one point in the 1960s, this was probably an amazing place to be (especially right after it was restored). During that time, it must have been a neighborhood reinvigorated with an edgy draw of tango and late nights. Today, the surrounding neighborhood is on the rougher side and the main area here is not that large at all. There are plenty of restaurants offering tango shows (each step painfully exact, show after show) and the houses on the main stretch are brightly colored, but mostly it is a tourist trap. The Caminito is worth about an hour or two of poking around, but not much more. The charm that was once here has given away to kitch.

I love street art. Wherever I go, I document the the street art that I find and in Buenos Aires I stumbled onto a block where there were several really good examples all next to each other. Last time, we went over the big sights in Buenos Aires and this time we looked at the funky side, but next time we will be looking at one of the great cultural treasures of Buenos Aires: Food.

No comments:

Post a Comment