The first look. We stroll through Palermo. At each intersection at least at three of the four possible corners a café is located. Cobblestone streets, a bit like Paris, Madrid or Rome. The view into a seemingly endless road, lined with lush green tree-lined trees that provide shade in the warm sun. Right and left creative, artistic boutiques, small craft shops and grocery stores. It is Friday afternoon. A small street market pulls the first Porteños - as the residents of the port city are called - out into the countless bars and cafes. It is still relatively empty, but in a few hours this quarter comes to life. Argentine life pulsates well up to the early hours of the morning, until at about eight o'clock in the morning it sends the last people back to their homes and an almost ghostly calm spreads in the streets. Quality of life and zest for life in Argentine.
Diversity. Of course, Buenos Aires is not just Palermo. There are countless well-known and less prestigious neighborhoods, all with their own charm and character. La Bocca, the working class neighborhood and home of the legendary La Bombonera, the Boca Juniors stadium. Recoleta, one of the most elegant and expensive residential and commercial districts, is also home to the well-known cemetery where "Evita" Eva Peron is buried. The Puerto Madero neighborhood is a former port of Buenos Aires, which was restored in the first half of the 1990s and is now a center of fine dining. Retiro was once known as one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires and is home to many of the city's five-star hotels. The district of San Telmo belongs to the original core of the metropolis. The houses are old, some of them are dilapidated or occupied. Strolling through the streets, you will find trendy cafes, where students and artists are playing around or a guest playing a tango on the piano, as in "Café La Poesía". At the weekend is market in the street Defensa.
What moves the Porteño deeply? If you are not 100% sure of the orientation of your opponent, you usually do well as a "stranger" to take no position, the football club stops the fun for a Porteño namely. Because if something is immediately fixed after the birth of a child, then his affiliation to the respective football club and also the fervent emotional connection with this until his deathbed. In Buenos Aires are 13 Erstliga clubs resident. However, probably the most emotional and biggest "war" takes place between the followers of River Plate and Boca Juniors, the club that also produced the football god Diego Maradona. The passion of the supporters recently led to the fact that in games in one of the stadiums of the two the fans of the opposing team for safety reasons were not allowed. The atmosphere in and around such a stadium during a game is a very special one - emotions of the whole range and usually no hesitation in the physical expression of this. Perhaps an underlining of the importance of this sport: under President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the TV football rights were changed without exception in favor of the people. Argentinians can watch all Argentinean and European football matches for free on free TV. So it is not surprising that Lionel Messi, as a national hero has risen in the Olympus of Argentina, whether he plays for the national team or with FC Barcelona anywhere in the world.
The incarnated woman's dream: the Argentine. Are the Argentines really as hot-blooded, erotic and masculine as you always say? A gaucho with stylish leather shoes, matching jeans, and white shirt and of course with appropriate charisma and sex appeal? Certainly, the fashionable appearance of men - especially in representative meetings - fulfills this cliché. However, the Argentine in fashion and behavior more and more resembles the "international" standards. But now and then you see the real prototype running through the streets and you think - that's Argentina.
Other passions. The Tango, always first associated with the city of Buenos Aires by all visitors, is certainly a cliché that has become an integral part of this city - and it is also being constantly cultivated by the Porteños. The passion of this dance is brought to visitors of the city in numerous tango shows and dance classes. If you would like to experience the authentic and still living tango style, then why not recommend a milonga, a meeting place for passionate tango dancers. At times, the protagonists go so deeply into the emotionality of this dance, that emerging from the dance trance a musical counterpart like the simple Disco Fox is necessary.
Probably a hobby of the upper class - the Polo. The snobbish touch of the event in Buenos Aires is certainly marginally compensated by the fact that the sport really has an extremely sporty touch. Not for nothing are the best polo riders in Argentina, because the Argentine polo players live this sporty note with their entire Argentine temperament.
Culinary and biorhythm. After all medical and logical considerations, the inhabitants of Buenos Aires should actually count to the unhealthiest peoples of the earth. Exorbitant consumption of meat - more than 80,000 cattle are slaughtered weekly for the Greater Buenos Aires area alone. Vegetarians are more suspiciously eyed. An excess of wine consumption. A dinner that starts at 9:30 pm at the earliest - and we are not talking about the weekend, but normal working days. In gyms from 21:00 clock still high-intensity cardio workouts, which are also fully crowded. Imagine at what later or early hour these people find their night's sleep. BUT: the socializing in the evening with friends and family, the boisterous joy of eating, the much later getting-up-time are obviously the compensation that the Argentinians need to find a good balance! Anyone who has ever been allowed to enjoy an asado in a friendly and familiar atmosphere will feel the exuberant coziness, joy and hospitality of the Porteños. Without a glance at the clock.
Enviable behaviors? Not a representative event for a common tourist, but a great example of the "patience" or "fatefulness" of the people of Buenos Aires. The attempted acceptance of a package as a foreigner in Argentina is not officially planned and culminates therefore in a bureaucratic odyssey by all imaginable authorities, registration office and tax office included. If you have successfully survived this scavenger hunt through the city without mental injuries, the pickup will take place in the central post office of Buenos Aires. Certainly the comparison with a crowded refugee home is not too far away from reality. Actually, the office would be closed in an hour, but we still have app. 450 Porteños waiting for the receipt of their package. At very large intervals a sound sounds and occasionally people from the crowd stand up slowly and go to another snake to get closer to their destination. The Porteño has an incredible patience or let's call it better fatefulness. A system that simply fits in with you. We joked after another 4 hours of waiting when our number was called - a behavior that irritates the Porteño rather. Similar scenarios can be observed when waiting for the local bus. Although as an outsider, it is hard to see why the human snake is right here. But the resident of Buenos Aires knows that someday - whenever - the right bus will come by and hopefully take him home. It is not crowded, never, you stand exemplary behind the last waiting.
The story lives on. Eva Peron alias Evita is still a cult icon. The historic Teatro Colon is still a place of attraction for opera and ballet. The Madres de Plaza de Mayo still hold a funeral march in the Plaza de Mayo every week since the 1970s to demonstrate against the injustice of "enforced disappearance" and for clarifying the crimes committed by the military dictatorship. Just a few small keywords from a story with lots of ups, but even more downs - painful memories, which still moves the young Portenos.
Facade and view behind it. The Argentine usually does not speak English too much and really well. If you are looking for deeper, enigmatic conversations with the Porteno, it is worth to improve your Spanish a little. However, there are also many interpersonal interactions for which - as so often - it does not matter whether one speaks the same language. At first glance quite sober, the Porteno turns out to be warm, interactive, spirited and lovable!
Certainly, Buenos Aires is the most European of all South American metropolises with a touch of Madrid and Paris. The indigenous population is reduced to some marginal areas in Patagonia and in the north of Argentina, so that the urban and human image seems mostly as in Europe. However, if you venture into the depths of everyday processes it quickly becomes clear that this is actually still a developing country. Unfortunately, under the promises of current President Mauricio Macri, the country's economic situation is still worrying and unstable - with all its consequences.
A few factual facts for the thirsty for knowledge. The officially only 202 square kilometer city houses about 13 million inhabitants, almost one third of all Argentinians lives here. Today, it stretches about 68 kilometers from northwest to southeast and about 33 kilometers from the coast to the southwest. It is often referred to as the "water brain" of Argentina, as it is home to almost all the major institutions in the country and in the city and especially in the area.
Attempt of a resume. You could still go on writing forever. Even more details and more impressions. But the best part is simply to feel, to experience and to let this fascinating city, with its many facets and levels, to feel for yourself. Much is difficult to understand and chaotic, many things are different, some familiar. Many clichés apply, others do not. But one thing is definitely Buenos Aires - impressive, exciting and simply adorable. In any case, always worth a trip.