Today we headed north of the city to Tigre, Argentina. Tigre is on the Paraná River and a weekend destination for porteños, the people who live in Buenos Aires. Tigre is a town that revolves around the river.
In addition to the massive market and amusement park, Tigre has hundreds of little islands where many people live. The homes are cut off from the “mainland” and only accessible by boat. We took a tour through the delta to get a glimpse of this unique lifestyle.
Every house has a dock and no one on the islands has a car. All services to these homes is by boat. We saw the supermarket boat, the trash boat, and learned there are many others, including a school bus boat and an ambulance boat. This was a fun excursion into a different way of life.
The river here looks like chocolate milk. They said over and over that it’s not polluted. Instead the sediment from up river make is murky. We saw similarly colored water in the Amazon and it’s kind of freaky to see people swimming in it. We stayed on the boat.
After our tour we were driven back to the city and dropped at the Plaza de Mayo. After a quick peak into the pope’s church we explored Florida Street.
This is the main pedestrian-only street that is a primary shopping destination for Porteños. Considering it’s two days before Christmas, we shouldn’t have been surprised to find it packed and chaotic.
in the middle of it all is a huge upscale mall. Mom, you would have loved it!
Florida Street is also known for its “arbolitos” or change makers who convert dollars into pesos at a better rate than you can get at the bank. For example, you can get 9 pesos to the dollar from an arbolito while the official rate is around 6 to 1. We’ve been told that buying from the arbolitos can be dangerous though. We’ve been exchanging dollars at the hotel or at restaurants and getting about 8 to 1. Better safe than sorry.
After browsing the mall we hit up a little cafe for empanadas and a beer. The place was packed so we sat at the little bar while looking over the fabulous baked goods. We’re finding the Argentine people to be very warm and friendly.
The lady behind the bar at the restaurant advised us to eat our empanadas with our hands and quickly provided a squirt of hand sanitizer before our food was served.
We finished our day with the Esquina Carlos Gardel tango show. A bus picked us up and delivered us across town to a theater that stands on the ground where the most famous tango singer ever, Carlos Gardel, did his thing. The dinner and show was very touristy, but we can now say we’ve seen good tango. It’s not Jimmy Buffett, but it certainly represents the heart and soul of this city.
Tomorrow we head to Uruguay and hopefully get another stamp in our passports.