La Boca. One of the most famous barrios/suburbs of Buenos Aires. Well know for their passionate support of their football team Boca Juniors, but also comes with a reputation as being a bad and poor neighbourhood.
I decided I’d like to visit and thinking of the worse, I took the absolute minimum with me, jacket, money and camera. Funny thing is I arrived to find a thriving tourist attraction full of hawkers and people out to make a quick peso or two of you. Sure this part of the streets were bright and colourful, but many Argentineans say its too unsafe even in the tourist bit. So really I’m not sure what the point of visiting was. yes the bright colours were wonderful, but it seems like a trap to me.
I wandered the couple of “safe” streets to be harassed by tango dancers, Diego Maradona look alikes, cardboard cutouts all wanting to take my photo. The place was also full of artists selling their work, some more pushy than others, plus numerous souvenir shops and football paraphenalia shops, which actually seemed quite cheap for even fake replica football shirts etc. Then there were the restaurant hawkers, all of whom had the best restaurant in La boca, some even the best in buenos Aires, all with live Tango shows as well. My goal for lunch became finding a restaurant without a hawker and live tango show. I failed there, so went looking for an affordable place, which I also failed at. eventually too tired to argue with a hawker I sat down only because they had my second favourite argentine beer Quilmes red lager. My favourite is harder to find but its Patagonian Amber Ale.
As I finished lunch, I was even dragged up screaming and kicking for a photo with the tango dancer. I was assured it was free, but a hat was passed around for a tip for the dancing! I’m a cynical bastard, aren’t I! I left La Boca in a taxi via the football stadium La Bombonera. I’m surprised you Parra fans haven’t asked to get Parramatta Stadium painted blue and yellow yet.
I then went for a walk down the next most annoying street for hawkers in Buenos Aires, Florida Peatonal. Although this time, I apparently want ladies or leather, rarely both at once though and I just don’t know it yet. I even got accused of ignoring one of them. Yep she was quick off the mark, or just a lucky guess 🙂 I did walk here for a reason, to get a photo of the ceiling of the Pacifioc Galerias shopping mall. Did that and decided to come back.
So I will not catch the subte here again. Another pickpocket attempt, foiled by me. This time the train was quite full, so I thought i’d wait to get the next one, however a guy dropped a jacket in front of me, another tried to push me from the left and the third was trying to get her hand in my pocket. I grabbed her wrist and swore at her in english and then called for police. Her accomplace was pulling her into the train and I let go. As the locals say, the police would do nothing anyway, even if they were to be found in the subte.
Thing is I had very little money anyway, it had been rorted from me in La Boca. I know some of you are probably painting a bad picture of Buenos Aires now, but hey I bet pickpocketing is common in Sydney too, just targeted at foreign tourists there also.
Anyway, a couple of days to go. I was rather sick last night and still getting over this cough, although been ok today, once I coughed my lungs up this morning. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the smoking that goes on around here. Very had to get some fresh air sometimes. I’ve met at least 2 argentineans who also have lost at least 1 parent to lung cancer. Anyway enough bleating from me for the day.
hmm spanish phrase of the day is alway thought up at the last minute as usual. so i’ve decided I need to learn to swear in spanish. “Tengo que aprender a jurar en español”. Its so I can feel good after i catch a pickpocketer in action.