I love that feeling when you step off a plane and feel like you’ve arrived in another world. But I might have read too much magic realism before arriving in Buenos Aires. I was expecting to step into a world where streets turned into labyrinths, for food to have magical powers and for dreams and reality to be interconnected.
However, after a 13 hour flight, I passed through immigration, collected my bag and walked up to the kind fellow at the Information Point only to ask, “where can I f&*# the bus to the city?” I came crashing back to reality very quickly. Coger doesn’t mean to take in Argentina, but sometimes 13 hours on a plane does leave you in a little bit more of a dream-like state than would be ideal.
Buenos Aires really was magical. We got off our bus into the city from the airport just in time to be greeted by the beautiful golden hour at the Casa Rosada, only to realise we were staying just down the road from el Obelisco and just across the road from what had to be some of the best empanadas in Argentina.
Often called the Paris of the South, time and again we felt like we were walking around Europe, with cobblestone alleys and grand statues.
Other times, it felt like we’d stepped out of South America and straight into a Mondrian painting.
And just when I thought it wouldn’t get any better then I’d stumble into its spectacular bookstores (El Ateneo is heaven for any bibliophile), get caught up in drum bands in the streets of San Telmo, or spend a Sunday afternoon marvelling at the tombs in La Recoleta Cemetery, only to find thousands of people celebrating their new president’s election just down the road from our temporary home.
Just because I didn’t experience the full effects of magic realism in Buenos Aires doesn’t mean it wasn’t magical. So often I had to pinch myself to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming. I couldn’t believe that I had finally arrived in South America. After 10 years of planning to go to South America and getting distracted (I’m looking at you Spain), I was there and it was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. What I know for sure is that I’ll be back just as soon as I can be, and I sure hope that’s in less than 10 years (I’m looking at you, Covid-19).