Saturday, June 19, 2010

Buenos Aires, Argentina

I wish I had taken more pictures of the men of Argentina. This sampling hardly does them justice. The combination of Spanish, Italian, and Native American has made a wonderful mix, and, frankly, I have never seen so many handsome men all in one place. Not only are they handsome, but I found them to be polite and charmingly sweet. But the men are not the only reason to visit Argentina.

For budget-conscious travelers looking for European ambiance without European prices (or even USA prices) Argentina is the place to go. Although airfare is no cheaper than flying to Europe, once you get there, you're in for some real bargains.

My partner and I rented a flat in the Centro district of Buenos Aires for $50/night. The flat consisted of a nice size bedroom, living-room/dining room combination, kitchen, bathroom, and small office. It also came with free wireless access to the internet, a real necessity for us, as well as TV and air-conditioning. Furnishings were simple and comfortable, and the kitchen was simple, clean and modern.  For inquiries regarding this apartment contact Joe at  Another good resource for apartments is

If you're into Italian food and steak, Buenos Aires can't be beat. We ate pizza or pasta for lunch, and they were always excellent with variations in preparation from one restaurant to the next. A wonderful bonus for the wine-loving traveler from the US is that wine is no more expensive than bottled water. Bottles of wine with your meal are the equivalent of what you would pay if you bought your wine at a discount store in the US, and so it seems like there is no upcharge for the bottle of wine at your restaurant table. The two of us had a lunch at a restaurant called Broccolino (Brooklyn), reputed to be a favorite of the actor Robert Duvall for $32.50 which included a bottle of wine, bottled water, salad, calamari, and a pasta dish for each of us, and includes tax and tip. Our most expensive meal was at the upscale restaurant Cabana Las Lilas in Puerto Madero.  Appetizers, salad, the best steak that either of us have eaten, wine suggested by the sommelier, and dessert came to about $120.

Of course, Argentina is the birthplace of the tango. And tango in Argentina is not just a dance, but a whole culture. I suggest you visit the Boca section of Buenos Aires and visit on a Sunday. Yes it's touristy, but, yes it's fun. There's tango on every corner, and the colorful multi-colored shacks (the original housing for scores of Italian immigrants) add to the festive atmosphere. If you're seriously into tango or if you're just a beginner, there are dozens of milongas to choose from.  Tango was originally danced by male couples, as it was thought that if danced by a mixed couple it would be too obscene.  Perhaps in that tradition, Argentina had a number of gay tango clubs.  Check out  On the site you will not only find information about La Marshall, but also about the Tango Queer Festival happening in November 2010.

For those interested in a small restaurant nightclub, reminiscent of the best of Greenwich Village in its heyday, I recommend Clasica y Moderna.  This combination, restaurant, bookstore, and nightclub has the best of each.  The food is delicious, the shows are sophisticated, and the books are interesting (featuring a large number of English translations).  We were lucky enough to catch a show with Rita Cortese, an Argentine actress and singer who sang tango songs, recited poetry, and told anecdotes.  The fact that our Spanish is very limited did not detract from the experience.  The language of love, love unrequited, and love tragically ended is universal.

Of course, Buenos Aires has it's share of both gay clubs and bathhouses.  We ventured out to A Full Spa and found it clean, with nice clientele, and quite open to mid-century gentleman. I recommend going from about 4-8 on weekdays and all-day Sunday.  We even made friends whom we met later that evening at Inside Resto-Bar.  The food was not terrific at Inside, but the service and atmosphere more than made up for it, with the waiters caressing the patrons as they served drinks.  There was also a stripper who went from table to table providing both humor and full visual delights.  All this was quite inexpensive.

Buenos Aires nightlife goes on literally through the night and into the early morning.  For the traveler coming from the United States, be aware that Argentinian dinner hour doesn't start until at least 9.  So take a nap at about 6 or after experiencing the spa.

And the men are gorgeous!

1 comment:

  1. Well put. Great post Irwin. Love the country, the City of Buenos Aires and the people too. I continue to go back again and again and discover many new things every time. Thanks for sharing the pictures and your thoughts. If I can help anyone else out who reads this post with ideas, let me jump in. Joe.