La térmica fue de 1,3º bajo cero.

Last night the temperature dropped to -1.3º in Buenos Aires. It was the coldest day of the year so far and triggered a record level of energy consumption.

Cue photograps in the papers of girls looking cold.

Clarin reported that 69 schools were without gas and the students at one school wrapped themselves in blankets and staged a street protest. Their school had been without gas for 15 days.

All the girls at school are feeling the cold. They keep the windows closed which means there is quite a noticable buildup of fumes from the flueless coal effect gas fires. I learnt a lovely new spanish word which descibes them perfectly. Las Friolentas.

Quite close to my appartment is a very tempting sweet an pastry shop,
Suevia. From time to time I get something dulce from there for the friolentas.

John Scofield

I returned to Teatro Gran Rex this evening to see John Scofield in concert. Another excellent show with an enthusiastic Buenos Aires audience.

Tetro Gran Rex is on Avenida Corrientes. This avenue is noteworthy for the large number of theatres and cinemas on either side of Avenida 9 de Julio.

9 de Julio is a massive spectacular 12 lane avenue running through the heart of Buenos Aires. I was told it is the widest city centre avenue in the world.

Huge Tree

This enormous tree was planted in 1800 close to Recoleta cemetery where Evita is buried. Note the phone boxes.

Horizontally spreading branches need to be supported by posts.

Vatican & Spanish Flag

On the way home today I stopped to have something to eat in Galerías Pacífico. Originally built as Bon Marché Argentina it is now a modern mall in a lovely shell featuring striking interior murals. Frencesca restaurant downstairs is right by a large fountain.

I have concluded that Argentine waiters (mozos) are generally pretty useless. They seem to have other things on their mind rather than serving customers. Generally one can read war and peace before the deign to bring a menu and the bill also may take some time to arrive.

My solution is to try to eat or drink in places with waitresses. Failing that fetching the menu oneself and getting up and starting to leave to stimulate production of a bill speed matters considerably.

Flags are still displayed on this building in Recoleta. Curiously there was a Spanish flag among them. The Argentines are celebrating the anniversary of indepedence from Spain.

This sumptuos building in Recoleta caught my eye but I didn’t recognise the flag.

It turned out to be the Vatican embassy.

Corbeta A.R.A. Uruguay

Corbeta A.R.A Uruguay was built in Liverpool and commissioned into the Argentine navy in 1874. In a long and distinguished career she was for a time a sail training ship with the navy.

In 1903 she rescued members of the Nordenskjöld expedition after their ship “Antarctic “ had been crushed in the ice.

She was declared a national historic monument in 1967 and is now moored in Puerto Madero, Buenoa Aires.

I spent an hour or so looking around. Unfortunately I did not have my camera. A subsequent training vessel, Fragata Sarmiento, is also moored at Puerto Madero.

Broadband Internet

My landlord called today out of the blue and announced he was going to install broadband internet.

Good news I suppose.

Phone Box

There are quite a few British style phone boxes scattered around Buenos Aires. Some red and some black. Note the crown above the Telecom sign.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

On the way home this afternoon I walked most of the way along Avenida Santa Fé. El Ateneo Grand Splendid at 1860 Santa Fé is a quite wonderful bookshop.

Situated in a converted theatre with many original restored features one can take coffee in the old stage area or sit and browse in one of the boxes. I could spend hours in this shop.

It just shows what can be done with a redundant building and some imagination.

My photographs do not do it justice. This video does a fine job.

Later in the evening I went back into town to see John Mayall in concert at the Teatro Gran Rex. It was an excellent show and the audience were very animated. They really do like their performers here.

Moving Day #2

When I moved into the departamento on Tacuri my contract was for 15 days. However, the landlord interpreted this as 14 nights effectively reducing my stay by one day. Fortunately the agency aranged for me to move to my new departamento a day early.

Check-in was at 17:00 and a girl from the agency was there to sort out the lease as the landlord did not speak english. The apartment was a bit tired and in an older building but it will do for a couple of months. The area is lovely.

There were a couple of problems. Despite the apartment being advertised as serviced and with broadband internet neither was included. My question as to why was met with much shoulder shrugging and buck passing. Another example of the rather casual attitide to contract compliance I have found here.

In the circumstances I moved in but in a later conversation with the agent expressed my concern. To their credit they responded by accepting there was a misdescription and arranging to provide mobile broadband during my stay.

Delta Tour Day 02

Another beautiful Tigre street. It was low season but the weather was lovely.

First stop was the Museo Naval de la Nación. Argentina has a rich maritime tradition and has fought wars with all of her neighbours as well as the British.

This is the infamous Exocet missile. I was surprised how small they were.

This is the Alferez Sobral, an armed rescue tug, that was badly damaged during the falklands war. She limped back to Argentina, was repaired and is still in service.

This is LEHG II. The yacht used by Vito Dumas on his famous voyage. It was acquired by the navy in 1947 and used to train cadets. Later it was restored and donated to the museum.

A Douglas A-4Q Skyhawk. A large number of these were shot down during the Falklands war.

This is the wrecked bridge of the Alferez Sobral. The sign says she was attacked while rescuing downed Argentine pilots. An RAF report on the same incident The helicopter was then fired on by a second undetected vessel, the Alférez Sobral, which the second Lynx attacked and badly damaged, killing the Captain and seven crew members. The damaged patrol ship limped back to Argentina several days later”.

This sign refers to the first campaign to recover the Falklands.

Another view of the old Casino now Art Gallery.

A canal and park on the opposite side of Tigre.

After a walk around Tigre and some luch I caught another Sturla boat back to Buenos Aires via part of the delta.

Coastguard cutter in Tigre.

This house in the delta belonged to President Sarmiento. It is curiously preserved in a large glass box.

A typical delta scene.

A quiet part of the delta.

Natural erosion protection.

For a while we were followed by a couple of jet skis jumping our wake.

The trip back to Buenos Aires took a couple of hours. I spoke with the skipper about draft. Today it was around 2m but can vary substantially with wind and tide. I saw a couple of marinas near Tigre so in theory Kiriwina could get up there.

The launch terminal was in a yacht marina next to Jorge Newbury airport at the northern edge of Buenos Aires.

It was a big marina but seemed quite polluted and the boats were subject to movement caused by the river current.

I caught a bus back into town.

Delta Tour Day 01

My first trip outside Buenos Aires. I caught a train from Retiro station
a huge railway cathederal.

I went to Tigre. First catching a regular train to Maipu and then changing to the Tren de la Costa.

I got off at Anchorena and walked along the river to the next station at Barrancas. The River Plate here is pretty featureless but the built environment is quite attractive. There is money here.

Tigre is a canal town servicing the nearby Delta del Parana. This is a maze of shallow waterways and islands which absent a nearby seaside became a retreat and playground for wealthier residents of Buenos Aires.

Rowing clubs were a favourite form of recreation. Tigre has a lot of them.
The imposing building behind the tour launch is the Buenos Aires Rowing Club.

It is a very attractive little town with lots of quiet tree lined streets. Through the tourist office I arranged to stay in a small hotel. Price A$100 (about £16)

This street is named after the famous Argentine yachtsman Vito Dumas. I have a copy of his classic book, Alone Through The Roaring Forties, aboard Kiriwina.

Rowing Club Argentino

Tigre Boat Club

Club de Regattas la Marina

Tigre Sailing Club

Club de Regattas la Marina launch jetty.

Swiss Rowing Club

Club de Regatas America.

Nahuel Rowing Club

Rowing Club Italia

Buenos Aires Rowing Club (British)

Tigre Boat Terminal - The main embarkation point for the large number of delta tour boats.

A slight variation on the British phone box.

I took a delta tour with Sturla. One can choose from a number of boat tours to various points in the delta. In season there are restaurants and hotels situated in the delta who send launches to collect their clients.

This is the old Tigre casino which is now an art museum.

A typical boat station in the delta. Note the reinforced barrier along the shoreline. Our guide mentioned that this costs US$5000 per metre and is necessary to prevent erosion from the large amount of wash generated by passing boats. I wondered why they didn’t just slow the boats down but was told that the distances in the delta make slower speeds impractical.

Desirable weekend residence needing some attention.

An attractive italian style property in the delta.

Given all the rowing clubs in Tigre there was not much rowing activity. This was one of the few rowboats I saw.

A small delta beach. The water is brown and heavily laden with sediment.
I was told more than once that this water is badly polluted.

A delta fuel station. Everything moving in and out of the delta must go by boat.

Back in Tigre and an attractive Riva style tour boat.

Heavily polluted water near the popular Puerto de Frutos.

Puerto de Frutos is the site of a very large weekend craft/fruit/food market.
This pepper grinder was about 5 feet tall.

The delta trade boats moor in Puerto de Frutos. These are grocery boats.

A greengrocer boat.

Lots of timber boats heavily loaded with decks submerged.

Plaza de Mayo

Another view of Casa Rosada.

There had been some sort of demonstration today and the riot police and a water cannon were parked nearby.

First Module Completed

Today was the last day of my first two week module at school. I think it’s going quite well.

Matters are complicated by the fact that Spanish here is not the same as er.. Spanish spanish. There are only five verb conguations. Some pronounciations are different. Double L and y are pronounced Shhh.

Aaron and Angie finished today. They are off on a tour of South America.

Moving day

My house share arrangements turned out to be very unsatisfactory. The accommodation bore little resemblance to what had been described and after a bit or research I discovered I was paying well over the odds.

It was costing me US$550 per month to share a house with 6-8 people with only one bathroom in an old house undergoing restoration in an average area. (it was described as a typical Argentine house where I would be sharing with initially 3 then 2 people).

I arranged to rent a two room apartment in the lovely Recoleta/Palermo area for only $200 more. It felt quite uncomfortable leaving because my hosts were lovely people and very helpful. However this did not alter the reality of the accommodation.

I moved out today and into a temporary apartment on Tacuari for two weeks until the Palermo apartment was available. It was a bit expensive but solved the problem. I got a taxi into school from Balvanera and checked into the apartment at lunchtime. It is only a few minutes walk to school.


Football matches between the two top teams here, Boca Juniors and River Plate, are known as “superclasicos”. Today was a superclassico day.

I had been quoted A$600 for a ticket which was ridiculous. My plan was to find a restaurant with a big screen (of which there are many) and have some lunch while watching he game.

Easier said than done. It took me over an hour to find a restaurant that I could get into. I ended up in a pizza place on the corner of Corrientes and Pueyrredon. It was standing room only and they closed the doors a few minutes after I got in.

It was standing room only at the bar and only beer was available. There was no chance of getting any food.

Boca won 1-0.

Jardin Zoologico

It was a public holiday here today so there was no school.

I did a lot of walking around again this time ending up at Plaza Italia in Palermo near the
Jardin Zoologico.

The Zoo is set in a lovely park so I decided to visit. It was packed and seemed very popular with children. Most of the buildings date from the period when the zoo was opened in 1875 and, while I liked the look of them, they are a bit past their prime.

It is fair to say that this zoo is not at the cutting edge of modern zoological practice but I spent a relaxed couple of hours strolling around the exhibits. The big cats were the highlight.