Melisa and I were all smiles as we boarded our plane from Atlanta to Buenos Aires late the evening of December 9th. While our flight from Atlanta had been delayed, it couldn’t diminish the excitement we had for our next journey together – one that would include us both visiting our 7th continent, something we had discussed doing since we had begun traveling together a few years earlier.
We had booked our trip through Quark Expeditions with Antarctica being the end goal, a final check of the continents on our list, but putting down our deposits in June afforded us a few days in Buenos Aires. For this Boston girl, the thought of enjoying some summer sun in December was highly welcomed. However, I worried going from cold to hot to cold was going to make Antarctica seem even colder than I imagined (more to come on that).
Despite our delay, we able to make it to Hotel Emperador Buenos Aires around noon. The Christmas tree in the lobby that greeted us felt slightly out-of-place in the mid-80 degree weather, but the hotel was beautiful with a manicured patio in the back, enclosed with greenery that made you forget you were in the middle of a city. We were early for check-in, so were pleasantly surprised when our room was ready for us. We quickly dropped our bags, changed into some weather-appropriate clothing and left the hotel to explore the city and get some lunch.
We strolled the sidewalks and took a turn when we saw a park surrounding a clock tower. After passing a brightly colored market and a bus station, we found our way to a quaint little cafe. We ordered empanadas and took in our surroundings, which included a number of locals watching a fútbol game. Had we had more time, and foresight, we would have loved to see a game in person. The “Superclasico” River vs Boca took place the weekend we were in Buenos Aires and it was sold out. We watched fans enter the city on buses a day later with music and drinks. The spirit of the game was infectious!
After a little more exploration and food in our bellies, we made our way back to the hotel to rest a bit and freshen up before the night’s activity – a tango show at La Ventana, located in the heart of San Telmo, the oldest barrio in Argentina. Melisa and I eagerly anticipated the night, both because it offered us a chance to see a dance Argentina is so well-known for, but also because we knew we would be meeting a number of people who would be aboard the Ocean Endeavour, our expedition ship to Antarctica. We beautified ourselves (more than we would for the rest of the trip, which was much more active) and headed down to the hotel bar for a drink. As our glasses clinked, we celebrated the beginning of our trip and the adventures that would unfold over the next 2 weeks.
That evening, we boarded a bus without about 10-12 other people for the show. Melisa and I kept to ourselves a bit on the way there, but when we got to La Ventana, we were seated at a table with 3 other women – Anne who is from North Carolina, and a mother/daughter pair, Dorothy from Connecticut and her daughter, Margaret, who lives in New York. We got to know one another over wine (which was unlimited with the meal) and shared a lot of laughs. We had time to connect and talk about what we had packed and our expectations for the trip while we ate. The tango show didn’t begin for a couple of hours after we had arrived.
We weren’t allowed to take photos of the show itself, but it was a mixture of song and dance. There were three pairs of dancers who at times performed all together and, on other occasions, were highlighted separately. They danced to live music and would take breaks for singers to perform. While songs were in Spanish, Don’t Cry for Me Argentina remained recognizable. Our night ended with a ride back to the hotel – full of our typical silly selfies – and the knowledge that we would be having an incredible trip.