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Antarctic Trip – part three – Buenos Aires

By John Hargreaves - 4 January 2016 17

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The Sea Explorer returned us to Ushuaia in southern Argentina via the Drake Passage. Once again, 80 percent of the ship was sea sick, but that is the price you pay for such an adventure to the Antarctic.

We had decided to have a couple of days in Buenos Aires on the way home to break up the journey and because a friend of mine suggested a number of places we just had to see before we died.

We arrived in the city after a plane trip of about 3 hours in late afternoon. The ride into the hotel was great – the guide told us all about the city and all about the wonderful avenue we rode along. It was in fact a recent addition to the city. The burghers decided that they wanted a monumental avenue so they bought up all the high rise along the route, levelled them and created this wonderful avenue of trees and walkways, with bus lanes, with an obelisk at one end and a memorial to Evita at the other.

We had decided that the adventure to Antarctica was probably going to be one of culinary indulgence without the commensurate exercise. Actually, it was wrong because when we got to the land, we had quite a bit of exercise trudging up hills of snow etc. But nonetheless, we booked a cycle tour of Buenos Aires to work off some additional baggage.

This tour was a whole day affair, taking about 8 hours and 26 kilometres of city traffic, bike lanes and all. We saw the city in all its historic glory, its modern architecture, its slums, its colourful Boca district, where the tango is danced in the street and weird images appear in the windows of the densely packed buildings. We saw in one window a life sized statue of Pope Francis waving to the populace as they waltzed by.

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The Presidential elections were conducted on the days we were there and crowds gathered outside a building called “the Pink House”. This is where the President lives, a la “White House”. It was quiet when we went past but the next day there were about ten thousand people there.  About 51% of the population supported a change in the President’s position and 49% didn’t want change. Pretty close and a flash point imminent.

What was strange also was that everyone stopped and watched the TV to catch glimpses of the new President. We went to a restaurant for lunch and all the waiting staff were glued to the telly! Everyone had an opinion! Wonderful stuff for a political groupie like yours truly.

The bike tour took in the swank Embassy strip, the commercial and banking strip, the colourful Boca strip, which I have described already. Interestingly, the bike paths were respected by larger vehicles but still, the larger vehicles had right of way, due to their imposing size. It didn’t take us long to work out how to manipulate our way around the city.

On the tour we went to a district called Ricoletta. This is an affluent area but has a large hilly garden in the middle. At the top is a cemetery. So what, I hear you say. Well, this is a city of mausoleums, which is a city for the dead.  Streets are lined with family vaults and are spooky as!

I went back the next day and found the grave of Eva Peron — Evita to her friends and all of Argentina. It is in the vault of the family Duarte and not in the Presidential compound that her hubby, Juan, was interred. She rests, eventually, with her family. Interesting mythology about Evita too, I found out. That she was embalmed, the body kidnapped, taken to Europe and eventually returned to Argentina in circumstances which would make a good novel.

In the evening, we went to a restaurant which specialises in tango dance theatre. You book the dinner show and they pick you up in a bus, feed you sumptuously, water you with Argentine wine (Malbec for the wine buffs) and treat you to a demonstration of furious Argentine tango dancing, then take you home again. Mind blowing! And the orchestra is on a ledge above the dancers!

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Here I need to say g’day to Gary Schafer, photographer at large.  My phone photos are not bad but don’t take it all in and my wife’s camera has photos which are too large to post, being over 4 mb each. Damn!

Buenos Aires is a lovely city and well worth a visit. Planning is a good idea and being fit is a better idea.  I recommend the bike tour and you get to see a lot of the city, with the tour guide giving all sorts of information the average traveller doesn’t know.

We had lunch at a traditional riverside food van, avoided food poisoning and thanks to sun block avoided heat stroke. I am not the fittest in the world but I did make it back in one piece.

After the majesty of Antarctica, it was nice to relax and see the sights of Buenos Aires in a leisurely ride around it. A nice way to end our intrepid travels.

We bid goodbye to South America having had a whale of a time.

What’s Your opinion?


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17 Responses to
Antarctic Trip – part three – Buenos Aires
HenryBG 2:02 pm 11 Jan 16

dungfungus said :

I don’t see how light rail whatever the cost will improve public transport in Canberra

Argument from Personal Incredulity.
Logical fallacy.

dungfungus said :

and now Uber (if it lasts), will serve a lot of people who currently use public transport more conveniently and efficiently

I would be sceptical of any assertion to the effect that Uber trips will significantly be substituted for public transport trips.
Got any research to back up this assertion?

dungfungus said :

Ratepayers are getting tired of subsiding the buses and the light rail promises to duplicate this in the name of creating a grandiose solution to a non-problem..

Which ratepayers did you canvass in order to develop your generalisation?

A convenient system of mass-transit would be good, however the proposed light rail will not “duplicate” the current public transport subsidy – it will put a cracker under it and shoot it into the stratosphere.
Also, $17/day parking is not a non-problem, in my humble opinion.

dungfungus 1:54 pm 11 Jan 16

HenryBG said :

rommeldog56 said :

rubaiyat said :

Always fascinated at how certain you always are and how you arrive at that certainty.

Well, now I’ve heard everything. Thats the pot calling the kettle black…….

To be fair, Rubaiyat provides plenty of information as to how the second part of the proposition applies to him: he demonstrates a facility for ingesting facts, a capacity for analysing them, and then cogently argues his understanding of the result.
I may not agree with him on many things, but his “certainty” cannot simply be dismissed out of hand.

So, the pot calling the kettle “grey” then?

dungfungus 10:06 am 11 Jan 16

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

When you visited Barcelona John you were cock-a-hoop about the trams there and how great they would be in Canberra – you even had photographs for us.
I am waiting for the photos of the trams in Buenos Aires. I believe there are about 10 million people living in that city so it should have a fantastic tram network.

Actually it has a good underground/subway. So if your preference is for Canberra to jump straight to building a subway, then I’m all in agreeance. And an underground railway often isn’t that expensive, as in many places a trench is dug rails laid roof installed and earth replaced over that and runs maybe 2-3 metres underground, rather than tunnelling.

The traffic in Buenos Aires is horrendous.

Also do you have to make everything a political statement. Can’t you read an article about a fascinating place and just enjoy it?

Not everyone finds horrendous traffic fascinating but to each his own.
I don’t think I have led the politics on this thread. John discusses the Presidential elections however.
I have never advocated a subway (metro) for Canberra either.
Canberra doesn’t need a light rail or a subway and with only 8% of our population using the buses I really doubt whether we need them either.

You’ve never advocated for anything to improve the city. You live in a world where you think everything can stay as it was the population will never grow, everyone can drives cars and then park wherever they like for free. The reality is its just not possible. So feel free to come up with some answers.

I don’t catch buses because they are inconvenient to me me. However I’m a big user of public transport just about every other city in the world I’ve been to. Some works better than others.

A good public transport solution in Canberra is what is needed. So far buses have failed miserably. If someone could come up with a bus based solution that will work, I am all for it. Instead we get politically half baked ideas involving a bus lane aimed at winning votes at an election.

I don’t see how light rail whatever the cost will improve public transport in Canberra and now Uber (if it lasts), will serve a lot of people who currently use public transport more conveniently and efficiently so the future for public transport in Canberra is very bleak indeed.
Ratepayers are getting tired of subsiding the buses and the light rail promises to duplicate this in the name of creating a grandiose solution to a non-problem.
No, I don’t live in the world you suggest but forgive me if I rejoice the fact that Canberra was built around the motor car being the main mode of personal transport and this is something every other city in the world is jealous of.
You are a big user of public transport in other cities because you don’t have any choice.
In Canberra, we drive our cars because we can.

HenryBG 9:41 am 11 Jan 16

rommeldog56 said :

rubaiyat said :

Always fascinated at how certain you always are and how you arrive at that certainty.

Well, now I’ve heard everything. Thats the pot calling the kettle black…….

To be fair, Rubaiyat provides plenty of information as to how the second part of the proposition applies to him: he demonstrates a facility for ingesting facts, a capacity for analysing them, and then cogently argues his understanding of the result.
I may not agree with him on many things, but his “certainty” cannot simply be dismissed out of hand.

rommeldog56 12:02 am 09 Jan 16

rubaiyat said :

Always fascinated at how certain you always are and how you arrive at that certainty.

Well, now I’ve heard everything. Thats the pot calling the kettle black…….

watto23 10:35 am 08 Jan 16

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

When you visited Barcelona John you were cock-a-hoop about the trams there and how great they would be in Canberra – you even had photographs for us.
I am waiting for the photos of the trams in Buenos Aires. I believe there are about 10 million people living in that city so it should have a fantastic tram network.

Actually it has a good underground/subway. So if your preference is for Canberra to jump straight to building a subway, then I’m all in agreeance. And an underground railway often isn’t that expensive, as in many places a trench is dug rails laid roof installed and earth replaced over that and runs maybe 2-3 metres underground, rather than tunnelling.

The traffic in Buenos Aires is horrendous.

Also do you have to make everything a political statement. Can’t you read an article about a fascinating place and just enjoy it?

Not everyone finds horrendous traffic fascinating but to each his own.
I don’t think I have led the politics on this thread. John discusses the Presidential elections however.
I have never advocated a subway (metro) for Canberra either.
Canberra doesn’t need a light rail or a subway and with only 8% of our population using the buses I really doubt whether we need them either.

You’ve never advocated for anything to improve the city. You live in a world where you think everything can stay as it was the population will never grow, everyone can drives cars and then park wherever they like for free. The reality is its just not possible. So feel free to come up with some answers.

I don’t catch buses because they are inconvenient to me me. However I’m a big user of public transport just about every other city in the world I’ve been to. Some works better than others.

A good public transport solution in Canberra is what is needed. So far buses have failed miserably. If someone could come up with a bus based solution that will work, I am all for it. Instead we get politically half baked ideas involving a bus lane aimed at winning votes at an election.

dungfungus 3:03 pm 07 Jan 16

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

…even in big cities where public mass transport is required (Canberra will never be in that class).

Always fascinated at how certain you always are and how you arrive at that certainty.

If you have been following regular finance releases from the ACT government you would be aware of the parlous financial situation we are in.
The Territories leaders have never risked a dollar of their own but the credit rating agencies (the same ones that said Lehman Bros. was rock solid) keep telling us everything is tickety-boo so keep borrowing.
With plans to borrow more billions for the not needed light rail and the inland & irrelevant conference centre both of which will have to have ongoing subsidies, there will be insufficient revenue to meet current commitments let alone fund new infrastructure that would be required to make Canberra grow.
I would love you to convince me otherwise.

rubaiyat 12:02 pm 07 Jan 16

dungfungus said :

…even in big cities where public mass transport is required (Canberra will never be in that class).

Always fascinated at how certain you always are and how you arrive at that certainty.

Southmouth 10:35 am 07 Jan 16

The most amusing thing about the traffic for me was the way you get 5 or 6 cars side by side at an intersection which is clearly marked as three lanes. No one gets upset, its obviously business as usual. I guess that is the reason the police cars have those big plastic bumper strips down the sides. Oh and those ford falcons that are the same as our 1965 models but were continued through until the mid 80s with only minor cosmetic changes.

JC 10:31 am 07 Jan 16

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

When you visited Barcelona John you were cock-a-hoop about the trams there and how great they would be in Canberra – you even had photographs for us.
I am waiting for the photos of the trams in Buenos Aires. I believe there are about 10 million people living in that city so it should have a fantastic tram network.

They have trolley buses and bike lanes. they also demolished blocks of houses, putting many people into housing stress, to build a grand avenue which had grass and trolley busses up the middle.

the trolley busses had wires strung all over the place and looked really ugly. The tram in Barcelona is a much preferred option.

In Santiago and Buenos Aires, at peak traffic times, the major roads were made one way, so a translation here would be for Northbourne Ave to be one way south in morning peak times and one way north in afternoon peak times. It worked in Santiago and Buenos Aires and I’m sure it could here too.

But this need not be mutually exclusive from a tram system up the middle of Northbourne and beyond.

My only gripe with the tram is that I reckon it should go from Woden to Tuggeranong along Athllon Drive as a stage 2 instead of going to the airport.

I am glad that you have discovered their are alternatives to trams – even in big cities where public mass transport is required (Canberra will never be in that class).
I can’t see why you like tram wirescapes against trolley buses – they both look the same to me:
http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/barcelona/barcelona4.html
The one-way traffic in Northbourne Avenue peak times option is worth considering. I remember when the lanes used to change north/south and south/north on the Sydney Harbour bridge to accommodate the ebb and flow of vehicle traffic through the day.
Can’t see any sense in the Woden / Tuggereanng tram link as Stage 2. This would entail a totally autonomous network as there would be no link to the City / Gungahlin route.
Then again, that might be a good thing.

Actually there is a massive difference between tram and trolley overhead wiring, in fact even with tram systems there is a massive difference. Many legacy tram systems (Melbourne for example) were designed for pole collection which, which like trolley buses (which have two separate wires) requires a far more extensive support structures and hardware strung up.

More modern tram systems such as the one you posted a photograph of the actual wire is a lot more simpler and barely noticeable, what does stand out in your picture are the support poles, though a closer look shows only every 2nd pole is for the overhead wiring, the others are for lighting. How that is any different to a road with street lights is beyond me. In fact drive down Flemmington Road one day and take a look at what is already there. But forgot that’s a road is ok hey?

dungfungus 5:14 pm 06 Jan 16

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

When you visited Barcelona John you were cock-a-hoop about the trams there and how great they would be in Canberra – you even had photographs for us.
I am waiting for the photos of the trams in Buenos Aires. I believe there are about 10 million people living in that city so it should have a fantastic tram network.

Actually it has a good underground/subway. So if your preference is for Canberra to jump straight to building a subway, then I’m all in agreeance. And an underground railway often isn’t that expensive, as in many places a trench is dug rails laid roof installed and earth replaced over that and runs maybe 2-3 metres underground, rather than tunnelling.

The traffic in Buenos Aires is horrendous.

Also do you have to make everything a political statement. Can’t you read an article about a fascinating place and just enjoy it?

Not everyone finds horrendous traffic fascinating but to each his own.
I don’t think I have led the politics on this thread. John discusses the Presidential elections however.
I have never advocated a subway (metro) for Canberra either.
Canberra doesn’t need a light rail or a subway and with only 8% of our population using the buses I really doubt whether we need them either.

dungfungus 11:58 am 06 Jan 16

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

When you visited Barcelona John you were cock-a-hoop about the trams there and how great they would be in Canberra – you even had photographs for us.
I am waiting for the photos of the trams in Buenos Aires. I believe there are about 10 million people living in that city so it should have a fantastic tram network.

They have trolley buses and bike lanes. they also demolished blocks of houses, putting many people into housing stress, to build a grand avenue which had grass and trolley busses up the middle.

the trolley busses had wires strung all over the place and looked really ugly. The tram in Barcelona is a much preferred option.

In Santiago and Buenos Aires, at peak traffic times, the major roads were made one way, so a translation here would be for Northbourne Ave to be one way south in morning peak times and one way north in afternoon peak times. It worked in Santiago and Buenos Aires and I’m sure it could here too.

But this need not be mutually exclusive from a tram system up the middle of Northbourne and beyond.

My only gripe with the tram is that I reckon it should go from Woden to Tuggeranong along Athllon Drive as a stage 2 instead of going to the airport.

I am glad that you have discovered their are alternatives to trams – even in big cities where public mass transport is required (Canberra will never be in that class).
I can’t see why you like tram wirescapes against trolley buses – they both look the same to me:
http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/barcelona/barcelona4.html
The one-way traffic in Northbourne Avenue peak times option is worth considering. I remember when the lanes used to change north/south and south/north on the Sydney Harbour bridge to accommodate the ebb and flow of vehicle traffic through the day.
Can’t see any sense in the Woden / Tuggereanng tram link as Stage 2. This would entail a totally autonomous network as there would be no link to the City / Gungahlin route.
Then again, that might be a good thing.

John Hargreaves 11:22 am 06 Jan 16

dungfungus said :

When you visited Barcelona John you were cock-a-hoop about the trams there and how great they would be in Canberra – you even had photographs for us.
I am waiting for the photos of the trams in Buenos Aires. I believe there are about 10 million people living in that city so it should have a fantastic tram network.

They have trolley buses and bike lanes. they also demolished blocks of houses, putting many people into housing stress, to build a grand avenue which had grass and trolley busses up the middle.

the trolley busses had wires strung all over the place and looked really ugly. The tram in Barcelona is a much preferred option.

In Santiago and Buenos Aires, at peak traffic times, the major roads were made one way, so a translation here would be for Northbourne Ave to be one way south in morning peak times and one way north in afternoon peak times. It worked in Santiago and Buenos Aires and I’m sure it could here too.

But this need not be mutually exclusive from a tram system up the middle of Northbourne and beyond.

My only gripe with the tram is that I reckon it should go from Woden to Tuggeranong along Athllon Drive as a stage 2 instead of going to the airport.

watto23 9:43 am 06 Jan 16

dungfungus said :

When you visited Barcelona John you were cock-a-hoop about the trams there and how great they would be in Canberra – you even had photographs for us.
I am waiting for the photos of the trams in Buenos Aires. I believe there are about 10 million people living in that city so it should have a fantastic tram network.

Actually it has a good underground/subway. So if your preference is for Canberra to jump straight to building a subway, then I’m all in agreeance. And an underground railway often isn’t that expensive, as in many places a trench is dug rails laid roof installed and earth replaced over that and runs maybe 2-3 metres underground, rather than tunnelling.

The traffic in Buenos Aires is horrendous.

Also do you have to make everything a political statement. Can’t you read an article about a fascinating place and just enjoy it?

dungfungus 10:20 am 04 Jan 16

When you visited Barcelona John you were cock-a-hoop about the trams there and how great they would be in Canberra – you even had photographs for us.
I am waiting for the photos of the trams in Buenos Aires. I believe there are about 10 million people living in that city so it should have a fantastic tram network.

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