Thursday, November 15, 2012

Peru/Brazil/Argentina Day 26: My 30th Birthday, Buenos Aires style

May 28, 2012
Argentina Day 26: My 30th Birthday, Buenos Aires style

What a way to ring in my 30th Birthday!!

We had planned this trip to South America intentionally to include my 30th Birthday, and what an awesome idea that was. It was so awesome.

We started off with a morning walk and taking some silly photos, after some coffee and getting up and going about 10am from the apartment.

Buenos días to this glorious day, my 30th Birthday in Buenos Aires!!!
Happy... BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!
We walked to Cadore, one of the small, "Mom and Pop" versions of the chain Ice Cream stores ("Heladerias"). Jess had found an article saying this was the "Best Non-Chain Ice Cream Store in Buenos Aires"... seemed a good fit for breakfast!

I "C'adored" the heck outta the ice cream here
Oh my, it did not disappoint. The mother was running the store with a bunch of her sons (all in their 20's or so), everyone was having fun and one of the sons hugged his mother while she was serving someone, it was all very sweet and and awesome start to the morning. Also, the Ice Cream was AMAZING!!! Definitely better than most of the other chains... though I still think Volta was my favourite... Cadore is probably 2nd in line. They recommended we try "Dolce de Leche Negre" whhaaaaat it was INSANE it was so great. Friggin' epiiiiiiiccc! A great start to my birthday! For the 2nd flavour in my Ice Cream cup? Why, Maracuja, of course :)

We subwayed over to Malabia station after this and walked up Gurrachaga St, our old friend! We went directly straight to "Sans", our favourite coffee and medialuna breakfast place from a few days prior. I got a Cafe con Leche y 3 Medilunas, as you might expect :) We got a nice seat outside, enjoying this great day.

Literally the best croissants of all recorded history
An epic start to my 30th Birthday!!
Jess eyeing my medialunas!
Ahhhh buhhhh
The place rocked so damn hard we decided to get lunch there too. I got a glorious sandwich on inglorious bread. (Couldn't think of another superlative to use). It was FRICKIN' SUGOI. We tried this weird-ass sauce called "Salsa Golf", which apparently is just mustard and ketchup together in this weird salmon-y colour. It was weird but good. There was another sauce for the sandwiches called "Salsa", which was actually a hot honey mustard?! Who knows. They all rocked. The chicken and spices sandwich was SO good. And a Coca Light! Oh what a glorious day of awesome.

The best bread and chicken combination ever invented
Green furry Buffalo vodka
Ohhh, was really hoping we might find Matt here.
We walked upwards from there to Palermo Parks, a big city park in the north of Buenos Aires where I was really keen to see and just wander and relax for a bit. There was a big garden with nice flowers but on the gate it said... Cerrado!! Closed!! Bah! So that was too bad, but we walked around it and it was a really nice walk around the lake.

And off to the park for some teeter-tottering
When this happens...
...this invariably happens to the other guy
A beautiful walk in the beautiful parks of northern Buenos Aires
There were some paddle boats there which we were gonna go on, they looked fun from afar but they were janky and/or spidery upon further investigation. Meh, so instead just a Coca Light and some light blogging on the bench! Fun.

A Coke Light, and some journal writing
Chillin' on the bench was great, watching people running and rollerblading, and a horse-drawn carriage giving people rides around the park. I wrote my journal for a bit and spent a little time thinking about how great the trip has been. Frank and Jess caught up with me a little after that, and we headed back on a walk across the park and back to the Subte station to take the subway back to the apartment for a bit. Then we saw a weird rabbit thing walking around!

Crazy rabbit thing!
We got off at Plaza de Mayo, and just booked it back home to go chill for a bit, shower and prep for dinner, and chill out. That was nice to have a little time to slow down before heading out for the big finish to the day!

We caught a Taxi back to Palermo, and it took a bit to get there (this city is huge when you're not taking the subway!), he took a few main streets/ring road style, I guess it must have been rush hour? In any case it was still a bazillion times cheaper than cabs in the US. The good part about the cab taking a bit longer is now we were REALLY hungry for dinner... and oh man... it was GREAT.

Straight back we went to La Cabrera, our favourite steak restaurant! Last time we learned that the "backpacker special" of 50% off the menu lasts only for 1 hour, so you need to order everything at the beginning. And so we did. We got a Late Harvest Viognier wine, it was like $5?!?!?!!! Whhhaat! So good. We got a red wine too, just to be safe. :) Bread and garlic, mustard, butter, hot damn! And out come the steaks... whoooaaaaaa. This time I got the Lomo with Thyme.. WOW. My guidebook had said Bife de Lomo was "Tenderloin", but the guy there said that Lomo in this case was Filet Mignon. Oh and was it ever. It was EPIC Filet Mignon... and 4 PIECES!!!! I got 600 gr., and ate it all... yes, that is a 21 oz Filet Mignon. It was magic. I ATE IT ALL!!! Crazy. It was life-changing steak, the best steak ever... and 4 of them!!! Insane. Daaaaaaaaamn.

50% off? Let's get 2
Then I ate the most glorious Fillet Mignon ever... and it was 4 PIECES of it.
Jess's hand for size comparison
Frank and Jess shared this "Butterfly steak", which was HUGE
Remember when the entire bill with 2 bottles of wine only came to $300 ARS ($60 USD) for all 3 of us? I love Buenos Aires!
Free suckers!!!
The people behind us chatting were... you'll never believe this... all Jewish, and from London, Hamilton Ont, and San Francisco?!?!?! What a crazy coincidence. I suspect I must have gone to kindergarten with at least one of them :) Amazing!

After this unbelievable food experience, we cabbed back home and hung out for another hour or so, before heading off to San Telmo to start our BA Pub Crawl! My ticket was free because of my birthday and they had Pizza and Beer to start. They had environmentally-friendly reusable plastic cups which was nice, and when we were done I ceremoniously threw my cup on the floor and exclaimed "Peace!" (Not sure why, and I hope I picked it up) :)

Anyway, this all was awesome fun. I wanted to make sure to have an evening of noise and too much excitement and music and nightlife and meeting lots of random nice people from different countries and exchanging life stories and travel ideas. It was super fun. We walked to the next bar and I spent some time chatting with some cool peeps from Norway, that rocked. We had a celebration shot of something-or-other at the bar. The bartender was an Argentinean Josh Groban and was cool and gave us some water :) We stayed there for a bit and then headed off to the 2nd Bar.

And then... the Pub Crawl
Haha going for the high-five
At the 2nd bar they gave us some grosser gin/sprite shot things which were gross, and a few people had given me theirs as a "gift" for my birthday. (Was a good chance to politely leave a few on a side table at the bar) ;) Good times chatting with some Chicago peeps and then off to a 3rd bar, chatting with a British dude who runs these events. He was a cool guy and we talked a bunch about the Inca Trail as he was going to head there to do it a couple weeks later.

This is right before we walked into the street
One of our hosts and some random folks we met at the party

From there we headed to the last spot of the night, a loud and crazy club. One of the organizers, a French girl, was really awesome and making sure no one walked on the street or near car traffic as she guided our huge group along the nighttime streets of Buenos Aires. Super well-organized! We got to the club and the music was weird and so we headed downstairs... and our Josh Groban buddy was there!!!!! He was so psyched to see us and high-fived us. "I didn't think you'd make it! It must have been the water I gave you!" he said proudly. haha.

Our buddies from the first bar again at the club we ended up at. They were happy to see us!
We headed up to the dance floor again for a bit, chillin', cuttin' a rug and so on, but the music was weird and the people were pretty meh and the people we really liked hanging out with, the Norweigan people, totally peace-d out hard, leaving after only a few minutes we think. I saw Frank and Jess and BOOM! I had chucked my drink down on the floor again (what's the deal with that?!) in another one of those plastic glasses. Apparently though this time it was a half-full glass and I basically threw it right at Jess (sorry, Jess)!! F&J looked tired and like they really wanted to head outta there, and I was more than ready to go too. It was fun but I think we were definitely all ready to call it a night. We were fortunately already very close to home, and headed back home and straight to sleep.

What an awesome birthday, we did SO much!!!! It was so great to be here in Buenos Aires, celebrating with 2 of my closest friends, enjoying the food, outdoors, sun, people, parks, and nightlife of Buenos Aires. What a day!

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