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Turning 30 South American Style With the dreaded 30th birthday looming, I ran away to South America to celebrate the landmark birthday in style.

We're here in Buenos Aires

ARGENTINA | Saturday, 17 November 2007 | Views [565]

Love this place, don't know why but I just do. It is a bit dirty, a bit smelly, full of cars and battered old busses, down at heel, noisey and busy. There are 12 lanes of traffic running through the city centre which take four separate pedestrian crossings to get to the other side. Every spare monument or piece of wall is covered in graffitti. Everyone is in a rush and pushing past you on the pavement there are tramps sleeping on the streets and rumaging through the bins for things to eat and sell. But it is such a buzzing place.

I arrived on Sunday after a monster flight changing at New York (awful experience). Steve was waiting for me at the gate, bunch of flowers in hand and hairy as a Bee Gee. So skinny his pants are falling down. Gave him a full on smooch in the arrivals gate, the kind that make passers by stare and want a moment like that for themselves. Into rickety old taxi driven by an old man to meet the mums, dressed in matching dressing gowns and drinking tea in the city centre pad we rented for the month. All of us jet lagged, we went to see the Casa Rosada where Eva Peron (not to be confused with Madona) used to wave at the plebs below. Worked up a thirst for red wine which is plentiful and very cheap supply across this beautiful land. So far, so good, but jet lag took over and kept us a bit dizzy for a few days - so much so that we thought it was carbon monoxide poisining from the boiler in the flat. The weather turned really really cold (the unseasonal cold snap even made the news) and we were stranded with just one warm coat between the four of us. We kept our wanderings local, drinking jugs of beer in a bar called la clac. I confess I only wanted to go inside because I thought it was called la clap. A trip on the rickety old 1930s style metro line brought much amusement to to the ticket office as we tried and continually failed to make out way through the ticket barrier. Young men gave up their seats for the mums, who then had to give their seats up for pregnant ladies. We emerged in Recoleta cenetry, massive necroplis where the dead are housed in miniature versions of their ornate palaces lined up cheek by jowl in avenues. Obsene, but entertaining. Steve is now sick of steaks, his mum wants rice and my mum is nursing a twisted ankle courtesy of the very cracked pavements.

Tags: airport, argentina, buenos aires, casada rosada, eva peron, metro, people, recoleta, red wine., steak

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