(This is the second in a series of articles documenting the Sharing the Point South America 2012 Tour sponsored by Fpweb.net and AvePoint. In case you missed it, please check out the Sharing The Point 2012 South America & Antarctica Travelogue, Part 1)
By coincidence, four of us routed our travel through Washington DC and ended up on the same flight down to Buenos Aires. This was a long haul, but relatively easy because of the 10:00pm departure, allowing us to get some sleep before we arrived.
The first shock of the trip was having to pay $140.00 as an entrance fee into Argentina. The pass is valid for 10 years, but it still felt like getting hit with a “tourist tax”. Dan Holme had flown in a couple days earlier and warned us to negotiate a taxi fee before we accepted a ride. We were able to get that done through the taxi info center at the airport and headed into downtown Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires: Day One
Our first day was spent getting acclimated to the time zone and the temperature. Mid-January in Argentine is mid-summer. I came in directly from New York City where a snow and ice storm was brewing, so it was a timely arrival on my part.
Our first meal was a precursor of what was to come: NothingButMeat.com. Argentina is very proud of the quality of its meat, and it shows on every street corner. Just steps outside of our hotel, Michael, John and I found a veritable meat haven for locals. As we were ordering, we heard from Paul, who was on his way in a taxi. By the time the food came, the four of us were ready to tuck into our first taste of Argentinian beef, pork, sausage and local eggplant.
We spent most of the day walking off lunch at the waterfront. One of the highlights for me was investigating the Buque Museo Corbeta Uruguay (Uruguay Corvette Ship Museum), a boat that completed an Antarctic expedition in the early 1900s. This was a fabulous piece of history that got us mentally primed for our trip down under later in the week.
The walk along the waterfront included watching tango dancers who had set out a ground tarp for dancing alongside a small amplifier, blaring tango music. It was our first introduction to the art form, whose appearance would follow us through the rest of our visit in Buenos Aires. The dance is so prominent in the culture, there are statues and characters all over the city that represent the history of the dance.
We walked the waterfront until dinner, soaking in the local dialect and scenery, before our light meal of meat, a little meat and some more meat. For dessert, there was… more meat.
You can view all of the pictures, The Food of Argentina, here: http://on.fb.me/AD0vDa
We finished the evening with another waterfront stroll and headed back to the hotel to prepare for the big event the next day.
Buenos Aires: Day Two
The turnout for the initial event in Buenos Aires was great.
When we arrived at the Microsoft offices that morning, we found Dan Holme sitting on the steps, tweaking out his presentation. This was to be typical during spare moments of the tour. Everyone was trying to remain current with their workload, while updating their presentations for that day’s audience and keeping the social streams updated.
We were very fortunate to have Ariel Garcia Sobrino, Project Manager and Trainer in Microsoft Argentina, to help coordinate the day’s efforts. We were able to secure two session rooms and a common area for the event, as well as a speaker’s lounge where we could access the internet.
One of the concerns we had when doing this tour was one of the language barrier and communications. As it played out, we had great support not just from the local sponsors, but from attendees as well. Laura Zork stepped up and did a live translation of my session, even though she said she knew nothing about SharePoint and was just there to support her boyfriend!
Part of the original plan of the tour was to make sure the local SharePoint community evangelists received visibility while we were there. We had local luminaries such as Fernando Hunth, Mauricio Grimberg and Fabian Imaz deliver sessions in Spanish. Our local sponsors for Buenos Aires also stepped up when it came to providing support and financing for the food and venue. These are the types of people and companies that make the SharePoint community what it is.
A visit to Buenos Aires wouldn’t be complete without talking about… the tango. Just about every street we walked down had a reference to this revered form of dance. Paul really learned a lot about it and made a little video of the history of the tango.
One of my favorite scenes I was able to capture is when the older, experienced singer seduces the younger tourist with his songs.
Before dinner on our final night in Buenos Aires, we relaxed in front of the mechanical flower, Floralis Generica. We took advantage of the yellow chairs and umbrellas setup for relaxing and viewing the sculpture. The setting is something you don’t see often enough in most public places in the United States: a park built around a single sculpture, surrounded by a grassy area for stretching out and spending time viewing.
To end the day, we went to Prosciutto for dinner, aptly named for the huge hunks of prosciutto hanging from the rafters. It was a fitting way to end our stay in Argentina. The next morning we had to be at the ferry terminal by 6:30am for the three hour ferry ride to Montevideo, Uruguay.
Resource: See Michael Noel’s version of events on “Sharing the Globe: South America“.
Upcoming articles in the series:
- Sharing the Point: Montevideo, Uruguay
- Sharing the Point: Santiago, Chile,
- Sharing the Point: King George Island, Antarctica
- Sharing the Point: Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina