Today would be our final day in colorful Buenos Aires. Ooohhh... one week flew so fast!
We went down to the coffee house for our last breakfast there. While eating, we wrote a Christmas card to Patricio, our favorite guy at the front desk. He had been so nice and helpful to us throughout our stay at the hotel. Not to mention, he was the only staff who could speak decent English!
...muchas gracias! We got a bit creative and drew Malaysian and Argentinean flags side by side :-D
With our long lost uncle in Buenos Aires, Señor Patricio.
We checked out, left our bags with the concierge and took a stroll along our favorite Calle Florida to Plaza San Martín. Though the plaza was only a few minutes walk away from the hotel, we hadn’t been there yet. Along the way, we stopped at some shops to do last minute shopping.
The pink stone was rodocrosita, Argentina’s national stone. Fiza wanted to get a pendant but the design that she liked wasn’t worth the price.
Big trees like these were all over Plaza San Martín...
...as well as several statues and monuments.
In front of Torre de los Ingleses a.k.a. Torre Monumental, gift from the local British community to the city.
Hiding from the hot sun under a tree near Monumento a los Caídos en Malvinas, a monument dedicated to the fallen in the Falklands War.
Buenos Aires train station, where you could take a train to other cities in Argentina.
This one was for General San Martín, of which the plaza was named after.
We wanted to visit Círculo Militar, but they only allowed guided tours at certain hours. The next tour was only going to take place in a couple of hours, which was too long for us to wait for.
Stopped for coffee, cake and wifi connection.
Peeping tom alert!
We walked along Avenida Santa Fe, hopping from store to store. In the end we found ourselves in front of El Ateneo, the theatre turned bookstore that we went to several days ago. Again, we had drinks on the stage. The waiter must have noticed us from our previous visit (I bet there weren’t many Asians coming to the bookstore, much less one wearing a headscarf) as he was extra chatty with us.
Waiter: ¿Por qué lleva la panuela? (Why do you wear a headscarf?)
Me: Porque soy musulmán (Because I’m a Muslim)
Waiter: Pero ¿por qué? ¿Por razones prácticas? ¿Por cultura? (But why? For practical reasons? For culture?)
Me: Por religión (For religion)
He grinned. I guess I answered his suspicion.
We took a cab back to Calle Florida and walked towards Galerías Pacífico shopping mall. While we were walking I saw something I really liked at one of the shops along the way. I had been eyeing it since we arrived here but I kept thinking, was it worth the buy? Never mind, we would go to Galerías Pacífico first. Maybe I could find something better there. If not, we would still pass the shop later on our way back to the hotel, so I could still get it if I wanted to.
We walked to Calle Viamonte next to the mall in search for an Indian restaurant that was said to serve halal food. Unfortunately the restaurant had been closed. So we made a u-turn and went to Subway Sandwiches to get seafood sandwich as advertised on its windows. Too bad it was late in the afternoon, the place had ran out of bread! So we decided to just go straight to Galerías Pacífico. We had dinner at the food court and continued shopping. Fiza found a handbag she really liked but wasn’t sure which color to choose.
Should she get the white one?
Or the blue one?
Or the black one?
Finally she decided on the blue one. After making payment, we went to the mall’s tax free counter to get VAT refund slip.
Persuaded by Fiza’s purchase, on our way back I decided to buy that thing that I liked from the store at Calle Florida. What thing? This thing...
...a pair of stilettos made from Argentine leather with the country’s signature flower pattern!
Gorgeousness! I meant the shoes, not my sunburned feet.
They came with matching jacket and bag, but I decided to stop at shoes. Who would want to dress in flowers from head to toe anyway?
We still had about an hour to waste as the airport pick-up would only come at 8pm. So we decided to hang out at a restaurant at the junction of Calle Florida and Calle Lavalle just a few steps from our hotel and watch people passing by.
A street tango dancer getting ready to perform.
Once the dancing started, people began flocking around.
Grand King Hotel on Calle Lavalle, where we stayed for the week.
We took our bags from the concierge, hopped into the pick-up and made our way to the airport. Our first task was to get VAT refund. Lucky for us, the tax free counter at Galerías Pacífico gave us a flyer with detail instructions how to get it done. The procedure at Ezeiza airport was a bit different than other places we had been to. First we had to get our VAT forms stamped at ground floor. Then we had to check in. Then we had to bring our boarding pass with the stamped VAT form to first floor to get our refund. We saw several people including a Malaysian lady lining up behind us getting confused by the process. I mean, who wouldn’t be?
So here’s a copy of the useful flyer that we got. Hope none of you will get confused when doing VAT refund at Ezeiza Airport after this. If you can’t read the words, click on the photo to enlarge.
We got our refund and proceeded to the boarding gate, tired and sleepy from walking all day. The moment our butts hit the aircraft seats, we dozed off.
So that was the end of our adventure in Buenos Aires. If I had one word to sum it up it would be “COLORFUL”. Everything about it was colorful – the buildings we saw, the people we met, the clothes they wore... Buenos Aires was vibrant with colors everywhere! I mean, where else in the world could you see a pink presidential office? I doubt Obama would ever paint the White House pink!
¡Adios Buenos Aires, le echaré de menos!