Buenos Aires or City of Fair Wind is polluted from too many cars and the streets are covered in dog crap. Nevertheless it is a city of charm and culture. The colonial architecture makes the city look like Madrid.
We are staying in Lime Hostel on the corner of Avenida de Mayo and 9 de Julio Avenida, the main thoroughfare in the centre. It is a funky hostel with marble floors and a high ceiling with a skylight. Dorm rooms are 28 pesos. (At present 1 US dollar is 3.7 pesos). Not mega cheap, but a crap breakfast is included and use of the kitchen. Like all hostels around the world there is an abundance of young people and the obligatory perennially pissed Irish man. His name is Jimmy. To my puzzlement he always carries a red towel when he´s on the lash. (Which reminds me of the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy).
There are lots of street cafes and everywhere sells pizza, pasta, hamburgers, expresso and a genius food called empanada, which is a pastie filled with meat, cheese, onion and tomato. Every 50 metres there´s a street vendor selling newspapers, magazines and porn. One imagines there must be a huge demand for news and nudity. Also very numerous are MacDonalds. Although evil forerunners in the globalization conspiracy, they supply the only public toilets to be found anywhere in the city.
The locals are called Portenos. They are famous for being arrogant and loud. Apart from a bloke at the Museo de Belle Arts who told me roughly to get out of the way, this has not been my impression. What I have noticed is the sadly high percentage of posterio grande. This must be the result of the doughy fare on offer. The keen eye will spot a few chicolita magnifico.
The average porteno is pale skinned and casually, if not scruffily, dressed. As a result Buenos Aires is only the third city that I have visited outside of the UK where I have been mistaken for a local. This results in me being bombarded with a barrage of Spanish. Sometimes a smile and a slight nod of the head or a si produces favourable results, but mostly I have to reveal my gauche Anglo-Saxon inabilty to parley espanyol.
It is only my second night in the city and I have already discussed the relative merits of the Liverpool football squad with a bloke selling fags.
As far as fags close cousin beer goes, litre bottles of Stella Artois cost 5 pesos in the supermarkets. The local brew is called Quilmes. It is an average drink that is less toxic than Thai Chang beer and is a moderate 5% in strength.
Finally, Family Guy comes out the latin mangle as Family Gay.