shake, rattle and roll

Mother’s Day post!

First off we would like to wish all you Mothers joy, laughter and love today…. for those of you non-Mothers we wish for you much happiness as well.

We are counting down the days here in Buenos Aires. It is gorgeous outside again today…. we hear weather in BC is great. This is a good thing for Mother’s Day.

Buenos Aires has smart weather… when it does rain, it is usually at night. The other night, around 3am, I awoke to the sound of much rain pounding our balcony… then some low growling thunder. I opened the curtains to see what kind of storm was coming our way… it arrived rather suddenly… the clouds were really low, so when the lightning came, it illuminated the whole sky… no lightning bolts, it was like Mother Nature had turned the lights on.

I was counting the seconds between lightning and thunder, and knew the storm was getting nearer, as the distance/time between lightning and thunder was getting shorter with each strike. The thunder usually had a rumbling sound… lasting often for about 10 seconds.  At one point, I thought I  heard a plane taking off (we can see the planes in the air after takeoff – in the distance) and then there was a strike of lightning illuminating the sky, at once the thunder clapped and rolled and I was sure the lightning had struck the plane and blew it up, that is how loud the thunder was. Thankfully, no plane blew up, as there was no sounds of fire trucks (or the bomberos as they are called here) in the distance.

The storm lasted for about an hour and I finally fell back to sleep with thunder rolling in the distance.

When we awoke the sky was clear so we decided this was the day we would head to Tigre, a resort town about 30 kms north of the city. We took the Subte to the train station, purchased our tickets … 1.35 pesos or about 25 cents Canadian… amazing eh! The ride took about an hour and ten minutes… being a commuter train, it stopped every ten minutes or so. It was interesting to see the shanty town right outside the train station and then through the suburbs, large detached homes and even some grass.

When we arrived in Tigre we started walking on its sea wall – really a river canal wall. It was beautiful and well kept. The city’s name come from the tigers or jaguars that were hunted there.  We also discovered that Tigre was originally established as a place where the wealthy could come and relax in the very warm summers, leaving Buenos Aires in their 1912 Fiats. As we walked along observing some of the huge houses that now were turned into rowing clubs, we were astonished at the amount of money that was put into the construction of these very elaborate homes.

We went to the Museo de Arte Tigre that was about half way round the river side walk… as you will see in the pictures below, it was massive. It turns out it was the social club for the very wealthy. The Tigre Club, completed in 1912, was built next to the Tigre Hotel (built in 1890 and demolished in 1940).  The elegant and luxurious building has two floors with large curves windows on all sides. The staircases are made of marble and there are Venetian mirrors and exquisite, massive chandeliers. It has a ballroom on the upper floor with curved ceilings, perhaps 25 feet high. Parquet flooring everywhere on the upper floor.

It was obviously a lovely place for the rich and famous to spend their time.  A casino operated there until 1933 when a law passed prohibiting casinos from being too close to Buenos Aires so the equipment was moved to the coast at Mar del Plata. With the closing of the casino and the Great Depression, the numbers of people going to Tigre and the Tigre Club decreased.  When the Tigre Hotel was demolished in 1940, the Tigre Club remained open as a restaurant with regular shows, but never recovered its former glory.

The Tigre Club became a National Monument in 1979 and after extensive restoration, became the Museo de Arte Tigre in 2006.

After our visit to the Museo, we walked through some of the nearby streets, looking at the impressive houses.  You could tell that the middle and upper class folks have made their way back to Tigre. Rowing is a major focus. We saw quite of few people on the river training for the next regatta. It looked like way too much effort to me. The small skiffs shared the canal with barges bringing logs into town to be processed.

We had dinner at this lovely little restaurant. Don had the biggest and best hamburguesa yet! I had the ojo de bife…a rib eye beef steak with pure… mashed potatoes. Though we have noticed people overcook all their meat here, I asked for it to be medio (medium) and lo and behold they did it. Yeah! It was so much meat though; we took leftoverst home for lunch the next day.

Back on to the train we went… again for 1.35 pesos (I thought maybe the first ticket seller made a mistake and charged us too little, thankfully not). The train station at the end of the line back in Buenos Aires also holds the end of the green line Subte. We really noticed that night the difference in the smooth ride of the train and the crazy ride in the Subte, which barrels through narrow tunnels at break neck speed, tossing everyone around when it had to take corners (still at that speed), hence the title today: shake, rattle and roll.

Museo del Arte Tigre, formerly a social club and casino for the wealthy

Museo del Arte Tigre, formerly a social club and casino for the wealthy

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