Even with this nasty weather we've been having over the weekend, the rain hasn't managed to ruin it all. Granted, I stayed in both Friday and Saturday night and missed an opportunity to check out a flea market, but I've still gotten out. On Saturday morning I woke up fairly early--around 10 am. 10 am is now late by work week standards, yet but weekend rules it's early. And in accordance with when I used to wake up, it was way early. Either way, I watched a little TV, cleaned the apartment, and went for a long run, all before 1 pm.
I then met up with a friend to walk to the Japanese Gardens and Parque General Las Heras. I still managed to get a burn from the morning run even though it was gray and sunless, plus I had to wait on my friend for a half hour. By the time she showed up it was already raining, so we took refuge at my place for about 45 minutes until it stopped.
It was decided that the parks would be a bad idea with the rain, so we instead headed into Palermo, as I had yet to really walk around through the different sections during the day. We were also trying to find a shop that sold good shawarma. It was one of my favorite kind of days: gray and calm before the storm, with a gentle breeze, not hot but not cold, and totally peaceful, even in a large city like this. I like rain from time to time, but too much can be annoying. Yet that kind of atmosphere is always nice.
Down through the tree lined streets of Palermo Soho, Palermo Viejo, and Palermo Hollywood, we walked among tourists and locals shopping at high end retails boutiques. Who knows where the little sections of Palermo really started and ended, but we could feel a sense of change from time to time. The deeper we went the lower the houses got, the quieter the streets were, and the more it felt like a suburb. And Palermo used to be a suburb until growth in the city enveloped it as another neighborhood. Only recently, within about 10 years, has it become a hip and popular place to live, yet it still retains its working class feel in many parts. On the other hand, you can really see why locals refer to Palermo as "muy fashion."
We walked to Calle Armenia, where surprise surprise, we found the Armenian food store where the shawarma was said to be. Unfortunately, we arrived too late in the afternoon and they had none left, so we split an Armenian empanada, which was filled with spinach and cheese. The employees were rude and unhelpful, but the smells in the store were sweet, and if I had some extra money and cooking knowledge I would have picked up some of the spices.
The excitement of the day pretty much ended there as we walked back to my neighborhood. So this morning I woke up at 10 am again, went for a run and then made lunch. But the view from my balcony told me it was going to rain sooner than it did yesterday. I decided to take a stroll to Alto Palermo, a high end shopping mall about 15 blocks away. I had no interest in shopping, but I just wanted to do something to get out of the house, and I still hadn't seen it.
Along the way I stopped in the Botanical Gardens just across from Plaza Italia. It's a beautiful and quiet refuge in between the hustle and bustle of Avenida General Las Heras and Avenida Santa Fe. Rain misted and sprinkled down in waves as I walked through, with just a few other visitors along the trails. The gardens were full of cats roaming around and using their tongues as toilet paper. I would have stayed longer but was worried about a downpour, so I left the park and walked down to Parque General Las Heras, a nice and quiet place in Recoleta.
I think Las Heras is underrated, because it's not a very popular spot in comparison to the many parks in the area. Yet it was still a nice place to take a stroll and it's located in a cheery part of town. I only passed through on my way to Alto Palermo, where I spent an hour strolling from store to store, somehow setting off alarms everywhere I went. All of the stores were expensive and I would never shop there. I don't even like going to malls, but I had literally nothing better to do and wanted to get out of the house.
On the way back home I stopped in at an Havanna cafe for a cortado, and realized that I hadn't been to one since my friend Kristine was visiting in September. When she was here we went almost every day, at least once a day. But once she went back to Ecuador I didn't have the cash for it. They make the best alfajores, and from time to time I'll treat myself to one, but I haven't sat in the cafe in a while.
So after a coffee it was back here, where I'll sit around and maybe if ESPN shows it, I'll catch the U.S vs Canada hockey game in the Olympics tonight. Tomorrow it's back to work.