Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dancing in the Streets

Sunday, Melanie and I took the advice of the many guide books and tourists information maps of Buenos Aires- we visited Calle Caminito in La Boca district. Visions of locals breaking into a tango in the streets and open air barbecues danced in our heads.

After taking two metros to the area, we disembarked and climbed outside to ask directions of a kind lady. After she instructed us that the "53" bus would take us there, she promptly warned us to take great care, telling us we could be robbed right there in front of the train station. With those words of wisdom lingering in our head, we decided it might be best to hail a taxi and be on our way.

The taxi dropped us off where Calle Caminito emptied into the harbor. Here, sat street food vendors offering up popcorn and nuts, and artists peddling their crafts. We walked through the market, loosely checking out the artisanal matés and leather hand bags, until we reached the colorful building that adorns all the postcards and pamphlets about Buenos Aires.

Loud traditional tango music hung in the streets like a bad fog, and we pushed through the crowded area, looking for those communal parrilla's or tango bouts in the streets, but sadly all we found was a very narrow, very short street, flooded with tourists. Over priced restaurants had their outdoor stages set up for small tango shows; their employees aggressively hounding us to sit and eat with them.

Looking for something to take from our one and half hour journey from our place in Palermo, we ventured into some of the many souvenir shops on the street. More of the same merchandise sat on their shelves as were out under the tarps of the street vendors, but now with a higher price tag: hand-painted matchboxes, ashtrays and bombillas.

After we had our fill or this very Disney-like atmosphere, we settled at a strip mall-esque place with a café, had a beer, and planned our escape.

Overall, Calle Caminito ended up to be a huge tourist trap- Buenos Aires's South of the Border. There were two choices of entertainment: eat and drink for more than you should spend, or shop. Although, some of the handmade crafts were quite impressive, it wasn't what we were expecting. The Wayward Winos can't, in good conscience, recommend this location for a visit, based on that disappointment of broken promises of culture.

No comments:

Post a Comment