Sunday, May 25, 2008

Buenos Aires, Argentina

As Memorial Day marks the official start of summer, over the next few days I'll be running my old travel posts to give you some inspiration for a summer getaway.

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Original Post Date: February 12, 2006

Twenty four hours after we left New York, escaping what we hear was a massive blizzard, we arrived in Buenos Aires.

Growing up the tormented, imaginative and studious (GAY) child that I was, it had long been a dream of mine to go to Buenos Aires. Not for the tango, not for the Malbec, not for the famed Avenida 9 de Julio.

Ever since I was nine years old, I have been obsessed with Eva Peron.

Every gay man has his female icon. Some men adore Barbra, Joan, Madge or Britney. Me, I worship at the church of the holy trinity: Evita, Mariah and J-Lo.

But Evita is my first love. To wander the streets of the city she once ruled with an iron, Van Cleff and Arpels-studded fist was a dream come true on par with my first trip to Paris.

Buenos Aires is a beautiful city. After spending a few days there I can understand why the Argentine people have a reputation for being snobby -- no, they're not Latino, they're European. And while they speak Spanish it's like saying people from Trinidad have the same culture as the British. They don't. Language is one thing, culture is another story. To mention Buenos Aires in the same breath as Caracas or even Bogota is to mention New York in the same breath as Des Moines. Get it?

So, in bullets, here's what I love about BA:

-- The Fashion: A visit to Palermo SoHo, which actually looks like West Hollywood (but interestingly enough there's a neighborhood in BA called Palermo Hollywood), is where you'll find clusters of little boutiques that tout fashions I haven't even seen here in the states. For the ladies I saw glittery kimono that are perfect for Carrie Bradshaw Sunday brunches; for myself, I scored Pucci-esque beach shorts and floral cowvoy shirts with mother-of-pearl buttons.

--The Food: Never spent more than $100 on a dinner for four, with wine and dessert, and was rubbing elbows with fabulous Argetines and, unfortunately, other Americans.

The Architecture: If it looks like Paris, smells like Paris, and the people speak Spanish, it's Buenos Aires.

-- The People: Gorgeous. Sure, mullets are the rage here, but I saw some striking women. Pam doesn't agree much with me on this point, but I saw some beautiful women. On my worst day, after a pogrom through the Botanical Gardens, our friend Vince took us shopping in Palermo SoHo and I was miffed to see him and James twiddling fingers at the handsome hustlers --err-- sales boys at a store called Airborn. Sigh, the men are handsome too.

-- Antiques: If I had a hammer I'd build a house and fill it with all sorts of antiques that can be found anywhere in the city at cut-throat prices.

I left my heart in BA, and I have the I Heart BA t-shirt to prove it.

Update: How cool is this? Another one of my clients at work is LAN Airlines, which offers the best service to BA out of NY, LA and Miami, and other points in the US.

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