Buenos Aires has been described as Los Angeles without the freeways. Their about the same population, traffic jams and bad air. Our hotel is on Avenida 9 De Julio, the widest street in the world (until recently). It is named for Argentina’s independence day, July 9, 1816. Seven lanes run in each direction and two-lane access streets on each side. Unless you run, it takes at least two cycles of walk lights to cross to the other side. The start of the Dakar rally will start about three blocks from our hotel on New Year’s Day. Our leader Kevin is friends with Simon Pavey, one of the competitors. We are planning on getting together with Simon for drinks.
Big cities have problems and BA is no exception. Walking to dinner after our first day here, Cathy stopped to video some Tango dancers in the street. A couple bumped into her and picked her still camera from a snapped pocket on her thigh. Cathy didn’t realize it until she noticed her belly bag was unzipped and her water bottle was missing. Fortunately, I had downloaded all her pictures earlier, so the memories were preserved. A replacement camera will be here next week. The water bottle was from an earlier Delta flight and that size isn’t available down here!
Steaks are fabulous in BA. Kevin took us to his favorite restaurant and they were great. We drink water out of the tap in our hotel and can eat salads again. Beer is cheaper than Coke in the restaurants!
Shopping is widely varied. From high-priced designer names or littlehardware stores are all within a couple of blocks of our hotel. We stopped at one of the latter and found a little lighted Christmas tree for our room. Carrefour, the world’s largest hypermarket chain in the world, has a store within three blocks in either direction from our hotel. We go there for Coke, beer and wine. USA marketing is very visible here. Along 9 de Julio across from Plaza de la Republica is Burger King flanked by two McDonalds in less than one block!
We’re touring by foot, bus and taxi until next week. Snow across Europe has backed up airfreight and our bikes won’t get here until next week. Several riders are joining us for the next segments and their bikes are held up by strikes at the docks.
Avienda 9 de Julio is the stage for protesters to express their concerns. Afternoon siestas at the hotel are disturbed every afternoon by drums of demonstrators. They block seven lanes of traffic going in one direction. The two-lane parallel feeder streets are nearly motionless. Two days ago one indigenous group set something on fire in the street.
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