Saturday 23 September 2017

An Excursion To South America: 23: Buenos Aires Attractions.

Besides La Boca, the few other attractions that I visited in Buenos Aires are equally inspiring and interesting. I wish I could spend more days in this city as I believe it has a lot more to offer but I've come to terms with the fact that I can't possibly see them all.

Recoleta Attractions
Recoleta is a very affluent neighborhood in Buenos Aires. It is both a residential and a commercial district that boasts of classical European architecture and prominent historical landmarks. I spent a fair bit of time in this area visiting some of its attractions.

1. El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore
El Ateneo Grand Splendid is the most awesome bookstore I have ever visited. Buying books or reading books is no longer a craze in the society I live in as youngsters turn to all things and everything digital, a sad but true phenomenon. If visiting a bookstore like El Ateneo can inspire and rekindle that love for reading then everyone should be at this place. 
Located in the bustling commercial area of Recoleta, this bookstore is housed in a century old heritage building which used to be a theater and later turned into a cinema. When architect Fernando Manzone converted the cinema to a bookstore in year 2000, he retained many parts of the original theater including the balconies, the ornate wall and ceiling designs, the stage and even the red curtains maintaining the classic early 20th century feel. The stage has been turned into a cafeteria with live piano performance where customers can enjoy a cuppa.
There  are four floors with shelves filled with books and standing at the balcony to look down is a visually pleasurable thing to do. This bookstore is so beautiful it has been nominated and named the second most beautiful bookshop in the world. 

2. Recoleta Cemetery
Another interesting attraction located in this district is Recoleta Cemetery. This place which is nicknamed 'City Of The Dead' is architected to look like a miniature city with 'city blocks', stone streets, alleys and even little squares. The miniature buildings on this city are the mausoleums of very influential and famous people in Argentinian history. 
This cemetery dated back to year 1800 and there are about 6400 tombs packed closed to each other. The mausoleums come in different designs, heights and occupying land area of varying sizes. The decor and details on each varies with some being more elaborate than the other. Some have pillars, some have domes, some crosses and some sculptures. Each on its own is a piece of artwork making this place worthy of a visit.
This is one of the biggest mausoleum in the cemetery. It is almost the size of an actual building and made to look like a real building with staircase, doors and even windows. A single mausoleum here can be the burial place of several members of a family. 

The names of the dead are inscribed on plates affixed to the wall of the mausoleum. Strangely only the date of demise is recorded. The date of birth is left out!

3. Plaza Francia
Plaza Francia is the main square of Recoleta. It is a place that comes to life during the weekends when artisans and vendors congregate to sell their crafts and wares. I was there on a Sunday morning. Not many stalls were open but I did catch glimpses of some crafts for sale.

Buenos Aires Chinatown
The Chinese are probably the only race that have successfully made their presence felt throughout the world. The Chinatown of Buenos Aires comprises only two streets but there is such a strong Chinese presence and influence here. People flock to this place by (perhaps) the thousands to shop and to dine. This is apparently a favourite venue among local residents in search of food which is fresh and things which are cheap!

You get almost everything Chinese here. Mantou, dumplings, tofu, Chinese herbs, and lots more and also many made-in-China products.
The shops and supermarkets were jam packed and to catch shoplifters there are always staffs stationed on very high chairs observing the people who walk in. (See picture above: the main circled in red!)

Dining In Chinatown
We dined in Lotus Neo Restaurant in China town.
This is a very cozy restaurant, quite artfully decorated and serving Thai cuisines!

Getting to eat some Asian food after so many 3-course western meals was a real delight. The food looks great, can make you drool but it is not the authentic Thai food I get to savor back home. During times like that I really appreciate my home country!

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1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Even the cemetery here is also a good attraction, I remember the song''Don't Cry For Me, Argentina..

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