Re-visiting Buenos Aires

So, in 1991, I met BB.AA.  Enjoyed exploring it, enjoyed the great food, and enjoyed seeing it with people who lived there.  Fast forward to 2000.  Company offers me an opportunity to go deliver a training class of 3 days.  What to do?  Had I ever taught or even attended the training class before?  No.  But, of course, if they thought I could teach it, who was I to defy corporate wisdom?

Getting there not always half the fun

Back then, there was no direct flight from Atlanta so I was to connect in Miami to a United flight to BB.AA.  Due to an earlier cancelled flight to BB.AA., United decided to bump me off the flight.  Now, I understand how these things work – most of the time – but I had paid full fare in business class so I do not understand how United made such a brilliant decision to bump off a full fare paying passenger of a large international business.  (No wonder U.S. airlines continue to fail miserably in their business model… But that should be a topic for a different blog.)  Suffice it to say that the resolution to this was both good and bad.  Good, I could still leave that night.  Bad, I had to connect now through Sao Paulo to get to BB.AA.  Good, they put me on first class on the way down and the way up.  Good, the never-ending refills of Dom Perignon.  Good, the comfort of the seats.  Bad, international first class back then did not have the fancy “seat-cabins” you see today.  Good, I could use the first class lounge in Miami on the way back which had fantastic shower rooms.  Neutral, the Canadian Airlines flight from Sao Paulo to BB.AA. got sprayed upon landing in BB.AA. as happens in flights between other countries (I assume to kill off any bad germs).  Bad, I am allergic to those sprays which meant within 24 hrs. I was bedridden in my BB.AA. hotel killing my day to prepare to deliver the training…

But the good wins

In between landing and getting bedridden, I re-connected with one of my Argentine friends with whom I had worked in Chile in 1991 (the one who got us to ride in the colectivo during my BB.AA. visit in 1991 and to whom I may owe having survived that ride).  Had dinner in a non-descript local place and then headed over their place to have some mate.   Good to see Hugo and his wife again.

The training class was in a subject I was well acquainted topic so I followed the lead of my co-teacher and was able to add good value to the trainees’ learning experience (or so I think!).  I knew some of them from past work and had a great time in spite of not feeling well.

I did also get to see how much BB.AA. had changed.  Home Depot now had a store there.  The dollar now could be used as currency.  However, they did not accept any bill that was slightly torn or stained.  The irony was that when giving you change, they felt they could give you back torn or stained Argentine bills…  Oh, and I got to re-connect with empanadas.  Empanadas are a gift from God via Argentina [good eats].  And I got to see how the city had undertaken urban renewal, like in the area of Puerto Madero, making it even more enjoyable to visit.

This particular trip was way too short to explore more of the city but it was sure good to see it again and see how it had changed.

What would others recommend people check out these days?  It is 2009, 9 yrs since my last visit which was 9 yrs after my first visit.  I feel I am due again and wonder “what’s new, Buenos Aires!”

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