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2019 - South America - Day 3

Today my leg looked no worse. At home I would have definitely left the wound open but decided to dress it again as a precaution. The dressings do seem to attract more attention to my legs. Over the years I have got used to people looking and staring at my legs. I do understand they look different and the fascination with the macabre nature of them. The people that annoy me are the ones who stare for a long time just at my legs without looking at me as a person. Even worse are the ones who stare for ages and then nudge whoever they are with to look as well. My reaction is sometimes to stand still and just stare back at them until they realise what I am doing and why - stupid I know but my way of making a point. I guess in a way it makes me sympathise with women who get the same attention from men but for a different reason.

Also please allow me to just record something else that happened yesterday that I forgot to write about. Just as we were getting back to the Hotel in the afternoon I had an alert come up on phone to inform that my credit card had been used (a great free facility that everyone should be using). Nothing peculiar in that other than it was on my Amex card that I hadn’t used since leaving home. It was for Netflix with the value of £1.00. Now I knew it wasn’t me so once back in our room I checked online and could see the rogue pending transaction. I suspected that someone was trying to fraudulently use my card details and this was a test transaction. I contacted Amex via their Online Chat and they said they couldn’t do anything about it until the transaction had cleared. I was not happy and said I would be monitoring. I did feel it should have been the other way around that they should have taken the proactive lead. Then as we were about to leave the restaurant later in the evening, I received another alert with a one time passcode that apparently I had requested in order to authorise a large transaction. This just proved my earlier theory right. So this time I called Amex and told them I had not requested the code. They now confirmed that someone was trying to use my card. This time they were most helpful. They blocked the transaction and cancelled my card. I hope they have enough details to be able to trace the perpetrator. Ironic that it happens back in the UK whilst I am in South America and not the other way around.

This morning after breakfast we hailed a cab to take us to La Boca. This is the oldest part of town. It is a few blocks of brightly coloured painted buildings and is the ‘arty’ part of Buenos Aries where the original city was founded. The temperature was already hitting 30c when we arrived.

It is safe to say that Karen is not really feeling this trip so far, but as ever in her easy going manner she hides it well. She doesn’t like the heat and is nervous about safety/bugs/traffic/kidnapping at all time. The area we were in made her not the happiest of bunnies. Whereas I really liked the place. Yes it was run down and quite touristy but it had some real character. It felt like we were somewhere different. Although we had to be somewhat on our guard it didn't feel unsafe.

After about 25 minutes wandering we joined the free walking tour as planned. This was actually a misnomer as we had to agree to pay 400 Pesos at the end of the tour before we started. But we thought it would be worth it and it was. The guide was an American doing his masters in Latin History. He was very good and interesting. We learnt a lot about the area and the people (and also heard the same story about why they wrongly invaded the Malvinas). We found out about the history and origins of the Tango which came from this area and how La Boca became an independent republic for 3 days. Also it was sad to hear more about the mothers who had their children removed from them during the dictatorship in the late 70’s and how they continue to fight to find and reunite with those that were removed and not killed.

The tour ended at La Bombonero - the stadium of Boca Juniors. It looked old and decrepit from the outside but was designed to be able to ‘bounce’ when all 49000 spectators jump up and down at the same time. It is also known as the Chocolate Box. There was a large queue for the tour of the stadium itself and also it was only given in Spanish so we declined. I cannot imagine it has much in the way of facilities inside. We were also told about there is a religion set up to worship Diego Maradona. It is genuine and you can go along to praise him every week. Barry had asked to look out for a shirt for him but all the ones we saw were either cheap rip offs or very expensive team shirts. Sadly we gave both a miss after a lot of contemplation.

By now we were thirsty and hungry. So we went into a small parrilla that the tour guide had mentioned in passing. From the outside it looked like a shack, but once inside it was in a nice kind of courtyard and all the tables had tablecloths. Karen though was still definitely not feeling this place and in particular the restaurant. However all the food looked good especially the piles of meat that the people at the next table were sharing. Karen just wanted some chips (because she thought she wouldn’t get food poisoning from those). I thought I would be eating meat later that evening so ordered what I thought would be cheese on toast. Wrong! It was actually an Argentine specialty of grilled cheese with herbs and peppers in a small dish. The trouble was I had no idea how to eat it and was given no implements with which to eat it. I acquired a knife and fork. It was very nice, but there was an awful lot of cheese to try and eat just on its own.

After a leisurely walk back to the taxi pick up point we were soon on our way back to the Hotel. This time though we much have had one of Fangio’s direct dependents as the driver as he was never in the same lane for more than a few seconds. We were relieved when we got back in one piece.

A quick turnaround in the room as we had made reservations for the 6pm Tango show back in Cafe Tortoni. There is a small cabaret theatre in the basement. It was different and enjoyable. It only lasted about 1 hour and I think attempted to tell the story of the tango through music and song. As it was all in Spanish I was not 100% sure. The dancers were very good and the girls proved to be very bendy in very interesting ways. We were very surprised to find that Joe Burley was one of the lead male dancers and very good he was too.

For food we decided to wander back to La Estancia. There must have been a different chef on tonight as the food in all areas was nowhere near as good as the first time.

As we wandered back to the Hotel I think I worked out how to address the economic problems that Argentina currently faces. Whatever tax they have on smoking needs to go up 1000%. I have never seen so many people smoke. This would either raise much needed income or force people to quit thus saving their health costs (which like the NHS is free to use). The second way to tax the enormous 6 inch platform shoes/sandals that lots of women/girls wear. I’m not sure if it is a fashion statement (either ahead or behind of Europe), or whether it is because they are generally lots of shortish people here (I feel at home) but there must be some large health costs from when they fall off these platforms and break their ankles. The government can have both this suggestions for free. Don't cry for me.

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