Monday, 28 October 2013

My Argentina Football experience

This night was crazy and scary at the same time.

Carlos (my cousin's fiance)'s family organised for about 2 dozen Aussies to attend an Argentine Football match (soccer for those of you playing at home).  We know how passionate South Americans are about their football but being there at a game was another experience altogether.

After a 30 minute bus trip into a slum-y area we trepidly disembarked.  Looking around, it was the only time in the entire 4 week trip I felt scared.  We were ushered in the VIP entrance and upon swiping our ticket through the machine, we were patted down by armed police.  As we walked up the stairs to our seats we heard this tremendous shouting/chanting.  Peering out across the road I saw the source of the noise: about 500 people jumping, beating drums and chanting.  I asked Carlos' cousin what was going on and she replied, "That's the opposition.  They're banned from the stadium so they congregate across the road to show their support."

Say what now?  Opposition fans are not allowed into the stadium??  Cray cray.

Sure enough, we got to our seats (we actually had seats, unlike the rest of the stadium - more on that later) and the half the stadium was packed whereas the other half of the stadium was empty.  It's a really odd feeling to watch any sporting match with only one team's fans.

So back to the seats - in the VIP area we had those generic plastic seats.  However the rest of the stadium was just bare concrete.  Apparently they had to remove the seats to prevent fans from ripping them up and throwing them on the pitch.

Riot squad police had to escort the Referees on and off the pitch.  There were about 20 police officers patrolling the VIP area alone.  There was a female Police Officer stationed in the VIP womens toilets.  I shudder to think what it was like at the non-VIP areas of the arena.

What about the game itself?  Well I can't really comment, I was too busy trying not to freeze to death.  It was 4°C but with wind chill factor it felt much colder and I was only wearing tights (silly me).  I literally thought I was going to die I was so cold.

Tom tells me the game drew 0-0.  The Pope would have been disappointed - his team was the team we were supporting.  Oh another thing - Argentineans are super proud of Pope Francis being elected.  They've even started religious tours around Buenos Aires, taking tourists to where the Pope grew up, and all the Cathedrals etc.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Exercise, or lack thereof

So I don't exercise.  At all.  Yes feel free to judge me, I judge myself.

My problem is that I just have no motivation to exercise.  I have no inner desire to exercise.  On the rare occasion that I do exercise I don't seem to get this elusive rush of adrenalin that everyone talks about.  What is wrong with me??!

Recently I have been under so much pressure at work that it's affecting me physically.  I come home with the worst lower back ever, I'm getting headaches daily, I'm not sleeping well at all (tossing and turning until 2.30am most nights).  I think some exercise would do me a lot of good at the moment.

I'm hoping someone can give me advice on how to ease into exercise, tips for activities that are easy/convenient to do (ie so I can't make excuses).  I can't run (well I physically am able to move my feet but I'm anatomically challenged as a runner and it just isn't pleasant for me) and I'm not very good at ball sports.

Advice anyone?  Please!

Vogue Fashion Night Out

Better late than never..... right??

I went to my first Vogue Fashion Night Out a few months ago (just before I left for South America).  It was actually a lot of fun.  LOADS of stuff going on around Sydney CBD which kept me busy til 10pm when I realised I had an early morning conference call the next day.

One of the first stops my sister and I made was David Jones where we found a Christian Dior photobooth and some chocolate-covered strawberries.

Seed Heritage was one of the best retailers I thought - they had food and drinks served to you by hot male models (yes please!), 20% off storewide and personalised manicures.

 I left my sister here for a caviar manicure while I went to get a popsicle from Oroton.

While I was waiting in line I read that they were holding an Instagram comp - post a pic of your popsicle to go in the running for an Oroton watch of your choice.  Aaaaaand ta-da!  I won!  I couldn't believe it, I literally never win anything.

(oh ps - if you haven't already, add me on instagram)

I chose the amazing Heritage Bracelet Watch in rose gold with a pearl face.  I have been looking for another watch for a while and am over the moon with this.  Thanks Oroton!!

Finally my sister was done with her manicure so we popped over to Westfield to check out Ted Baker and my mecca Christian Louboutin.  At Ted Baker they were giving out Acai energy drinks and mini cupcakes and Mr Louboutin had his limited edition shoe specifically designed for VFNO.

Hermes was so much fun!  I got there too late to pick up a silk bracelet but they still had a ring toss game and a live mannequin to keep us entertained (and a celeb sighting - Terry Biviano heavily pregnant in mega high/skinny heels.... no idea how she did it but she looked radiant).

After all this running around we were tired and thirsty so went up to Level 7 of David Jones (the Bridal floor) for The Social Party.  They did the place up and it looked absolutely amazing.  The Patron Tequila Lemon Granita was actually super yummo and I'm so glad the bartender gave me TWO!  I'm not usually a huge fan of tequila but will always make an exception for Patron.  Obviously I loved the Ultimat Vodka Pelicano Martini because ummmm vodka.

......and that's it for this year's VFNO.  I took my tired butt and put it on a train home.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Random Facts about Buenos Aires

Cab drivers are fantastic!  Even though almost none of them spoke any English they will bend over backwards to get you where you need to go.  When we arrived at Ezeiza airport we caught a cab to the hotel.  The cab driver went to the effort of getting out of the cab and asking the hotel whether they were in fact our hotel and when they said no he drove around until he found another hotel he suspected it was and went in and asked again.  When they said yes, he came back and asked for our name so he could check there was a reservation for us.  Another driver accidentally took us the long route to our destination so he charged us less than the meter.

Cabs start at 10 pesos and go up in <1 peso increments.  During off-peak hour you pay 120% of the usual rate and if you call a cab it's an additional 6 pesos.  All in all they're pretty cheap and a good way of getting around as their public transport network isn't great.  Available taxis have a red neon sign in the top left front window saying 'LIBRE' (free). It's common practice to round up the fare to the nearest dollar.

I found the fashion was quite different in Buenos Aires and I personally struggled to find things to buy.  I'd recommend the following if you want to shop: Alto Palermo shopping centre, Abasto shopping centre, Florida St (mall shopping), Santa Fe Ave (probs the best shopping in my opinion), Recoleta Mall, San Telmo markets (Sunday), Recoleta Fair (markets on Fri/Sat/Sun).  I strongly recommend San Telmo markets and the Recoleta Fair.

Dog poop
You'll find dog poop on the sidewalk everywhere.  It's especially bad in Recoleta.  There are no laws regarding the picking up of dog poop and Argentines love dogs and walk them often as most of them live in apartments.  It's super super annoying when you're a tourist and want to be looking UP but end up spending most of the time looking down.  Despite constantly looking down I did manage to step in a large fresh pile of doggie poo which oozed under my shoe and almost sent me stacking.  I think it's the Spanish influence but it's super frustrating.

Districts of Buenos Aires
BA is a bit of a sprawling city and despite having a city centre, there are many districts around the city centre that are of more value to the tourist.  Recoleta is a very tourist-y area which is considered a rich area to the locals.  Real estate here costs about 5x the city average.  It's home to the Recoleta Cemetary, el Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts) and Plaza Francia.

Palermo is a huge district that's further divided into sub-districts such as Soho Palermo, Soho Hollywood, Old Palermo, New Palermo, etc.  To be honest I couldn't wrap my head around it but it's right next to Palermo and boasts some beautiful huge parks.

San Telmo is the oldest district of Buenos Aires.  Today it's considered a working class area.  Tango was born here hundreds of years ago (Argentine Tango that is).  Make sure you get to San Telmo markets on every Sunday.

Madero Port (Puerto Madero) is the richest area in Buenos Aires by far.  Most apartments cost over USD$1M!

La Boca is the poorest district of BA and right next to Madero Port.  Its buildings are very colourful because sailors from the port would house their families in La Boca and bring home the extra paint.  There's only one square block which is considered safe for tourists so be careful.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Buenos Aires through my camera

I'll be quiet for once and just let you enjoy pictures of Buenos Aires.

Recoleta Cemetary - bit of a weird concert travelling halfway across the world to go to a cemetary.  It's more a collection of mausoleums and some of them are just spectacular.  Families buy mausoleums (you can't buy them anymore though) and can house up to 35 people.  There are quite a few famous people buried there.  Plus cats errwhere


Eva Peron (Evita)'s tomb

Colon Theatre

The Obelisk

Empanadas galore

San Telmo markets are on every Sunday


Tom with my sister and my cousin (the bride)!

Apple pancakes with dulce de leche sauce