Katie and I are now wrapping up what has really been an awesome trip. Sunday evening we had dinner at a nice Italian restaurant with a friend of a friend who recently moved back to his native Buenos Aires from Houston. Monday we walked downtown and, after lunch with a local Rice alum, we walked to the "must see" sights in that area: the Casa Rosada, the Obelisco, etc.
Monday evening we went for Italian again - this time to a little place called Guido´s! It was such a trip inside, very kitschy with all kinds of Italian and Italian-American memorabilia. It was a set menu featuring whatever Guido happened to be making that evening, course after course of mostly vegetarian antipasti and pasta while we were there. Add to that a good house red wine and a low, low price and we were quite satisfied!
Tuesday I went back downtown, this time for a meeting that one of my IMD classmates had set up with the energy manager of his company. Doing business in Buenos Aires I felt like quite the little jet setter. :) Katie and I then met back up and had lunch at Buenos Aires Verde, a vegetarian/vegan/organic kind of place which was quite good.
Tuesday evening we had dinner at Leopoldo, a modern Argentinian-Asian fusion restaurant that was rumored to be very popular on Tuesdays - and indeed it was! This time we were meeting another IMD alum who had helped my ICP group via conference call four years ago so it was a pleasure to meet in her finally in person. The food was delicious; I went for the beef and paired it with a big ole Malbec - great combo! My beef came with a ¨perfect egg,¨ soft boiled at 63 degrees C for one hour. And it did indeed have an awesome texture. I think I´ll leave that to the pros, though, and keep frying mine up in just a couple of minutes!
Wednesday was supposed to be rainy so Katie and I spent it in the two big art museums: the MALBA and the Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo. The former is more of a classic art museum while the latter is a converted mansion featuring much of its original owners´ private collection.
After a late lunch, siesta, and run, we had dinner with Felipe, Laura, and their toddler, Celeste, for one last hurrah together. They were excellent hosts while we were here and it was fantastic to finish up our trip with a lazy, simple dinner with them.
We checked out of the hotel this morning but had all day to kill before heading to the airport for our overnight flight. We walked around a bit, relaxed in the park watching all the dogs chase balls, sticks, pigeons, and each other. More walking, another lazy lunch, and finally it is nearly time to go.
Final impressions of Argentina are very positive. Some things leave much to be desired. There is always trash in the streets, for example. There is no recycling to speak of. You can´t walk anywhere without inhaling second hand smoke. But the people are very nice. They seem to value fitness and the outdoors (Even late at night there would be groups of boot campers and others doing exercises in the parks.) - and dogs! The wine is good and very inexpensive. The beef is of such high quality that, even when they massively overcook it (to my tastes), it is still tender and delicious. Add to that the perfect weather we had all week and we are sold!
After a week here I speak much more Spanish than I used to, I´m very relaxed, and I´ve had a great time with old friends, new friends, and - most importantly - Katie. This has been a great trip and we will certainly look for excuses to come back again. ¡Adios, Buenos Aires!