31.03.2017 - 22.04.2017
Traveling to a new place or country, I do not do a tremendous amount of research other than finding tours, if needed, places to stay, if needed, transportation, etc, if needed. Being a very visual person, I do better reading up on a place after I have seen it and then the stories make more sense and I can picture the famous people of history in the location and visualize the moment. Usually I do know something about where I am going. I am going for a reason, albeit increasingly that reason is just "because I haven't been there." This was not the case with this trip which grew out of a desire to visit Easter Island and became a fly around Argentina and Chile and see what we can in 3 weeks.
I enlisted the services of SouthAmerica.travel as my agency and throughout, they did a terrific job of engaging local services, hand holding for me, organizing the flights and the cruise, and solving problems that arose. As I have been my own travel agent for years, it was rather nice to hand over some of the problems to another person. So the suggestions to add Buenos Aires and fly there to begin the trip was logical and I was quite interested to see B.A. because of Eva Peron.
I must admit that I don't know a whole lot about Argentina history and culture but I knew about her and felt that she was someone worth seeking out information once we got to B.A. Now I will also admit that most of what I know about her is courtesy of Andrew Lloyd Weber and his musical Evita. I knew this musical to be a fiction about a historical figure but somehow I did have the idea that the Argentine people did love Evita.
I think they do love Evita but we were about halfway through our city tour of driving around Buenos Aires before we were passing a park with a statue in it which our guide said - almost as we were past - that it was a statue of Eva Peron. STOP. We had already stopped at the generic flower - this monstrous metal flower with petals that open and close between day and night. Our guide was very taken with the flower. But this was the very first mention she had made of Evita. The driver was quick to pull over and stop so I could get out and take a photo. I must admit, she didn't look anything like Madonna.
Perhaps I should have said something to our guide that I'd like more information regarding Evita but somehow I just kept thinking it would come out in a gush of love and pride. nope. didn't happen. We did go to La Casa Rosada though, which is their presidential palace, The Pink House, and she did point out where Evita would stand to give speeches. She had two places, a larger balcony where the ministers would also be gathered and then a smaller balcony when she was just speaking or was just with her husband. good to know. And at that point we also found out that she is buried in Recoleta cemetery where we had gone earlier in the day to try and find her grave but had been unsuccessful because I hadn't even thought she might be buried under her real name of Maria Eva Duarte de Peron. She's in the Duarte family crypt.
So my impressions of Buenos Aires were colored by not finding much on Evita. It was still quite an interesting city and we saw some great things, had some really good food but my history lesson of that huge city shall remain very much in the illusion of Evita. Probably didn't help that I kept singing "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" the whole time we were walking around.