Buenos Aires – Day 9, EZE-LIM – Night 1 – The Homestretch

It was my final day in Buenos Aires, and I still had quite a bit of pesos remaining, which would be useless once I left Argentina so it was time for a mini-spending spree.  First up, I decided for one final nice meal at the legendary parilla Don Julio.  Since I didn’t have a reservation, I made sure to get there by 1PM so there wouldn’t be a wait, and I was soon seated at a nice center table to better take in the old school surroundings.

Don Julio is one of the oldest parillas in Palermo Soho and while it doesn’t have quite the cache of its neighbor La Cabrera, it is still considered to be one of the best in the city.  I judge all parillas by the most sacred of Argentine cuts – the ojo de biefe (aka rib eye) so that’s what I ordered along with fries – old school at its finest.  I was pleasantly surprised the rib eye only cost about $15, way less than what I was expecting.

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Soon this glorious cut of charred meat arrived along with a mountain of hot, crispy fries.  Not knowing what I’d be having for dinner on the plane, I was glad to get in a nice and very filling lunch.  About half-way through the deliciousness, I concluded it wasn’t right to have this without a nice glass of Malbec.  Since I was still trying to use up my remaining pesos, I selected the much-heralded El Enemigo Malbec from Mendoz, and it was a perfect companion to the rich steak.

After lunch, still with a large handful of pesos to spend, I walked over to the outlet mall, where there was a very nice wine store called Winery.  I told one of the staff members I was looking for 1-2 bottles of a Mendoza Malbec that would be hard for me to get in the States.  He ushered me into their cellar section and rattled off several choices.  I was torn between getting 1 excellent bottle or 2 really good bottles.  After much hemming and hawing, I opted for the latter and had them tightly pack my purchases.

I made one last trip to the apartment to pack up and drop off the keys to my host.  I had contacted in advance a taxi service to take me to the airport and was pleasantly surprised when they pulled up exactly on time.  I had over 3 hours before my flight but since it was close to rush hour didn’t want to chance it.  This turned out to be very wise because what should have been a 30-45 minute drive turned into a 90 minute ordeal trying to escape the onslaught of traffic seemingly everywhere.

I still had plenty of time to check in, which was a breeze and security was even easier so I thanked the travel gods once again.  I apparently did this too soon as I forgot I still had migration to go through.  I sighed as I saw a massive line in front of me and 2, yes 2, booths open.  It took about an hour to finally get through and by this point, i was down to 30 minutes before I would need to board.  I had really wanted to check out the American Express Centurion Lounge since I am a Platinum card holder but this turned out to be 20 gates away from mine.  So instead, I used my Priority Pass card to access the much closer One World Lounge… for about 10 minutes before I had to head to my gate.  Oh well.

My flight to Lima was on an older 767, including the old school monitors versus the newer in-seat ones.  I had been lucky enough to snag an exit row seat, which in these older planes meant even more space than usual.  Unfortunately, this also meant old skool meal choices, both of which looked awful along with a very liited beverage selection – and no ice.  I reluctantly chose the beef option and let’s just say, be grateful I didn’t take any photos of it.  The flight, despite the trip over the Andes, was relatively bump free and a bit under 4 hours, I was back in Lima.

I wanted to mix things up for this final leg of the trip so I had booked an apartment in the bohemian Barranco section of the city.  I had enjoyed my brief visit to this area the first time I was in Lima and was eager to explore it more thoroughly.  I took the same Green Taxi service and was surprised to find out it was the same 60 soles fee that I had paid to get to Miraflores.  After a somewhat circuitous route, I arrived at the apartment, which was located on a quiet side street between of the 2 main ones in the barrio.

The one-bedroom apartment was fairly Spartan but would be just fine for only 2 nights.  I unpacked, cleaned up a bit and headed down the street to El Dragon, a club that many people had told me to check out, especially since Wednesday was their house music night.  I walked down the fairly grimy street, passing what looked like several quite delicious food stands and about 15 minutes later arrived at the unmarked El Dragon club.  I paid the $10 entry fee, which included a free drink and made a quick loop.

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The main room had a surprisingly booming sound system and after a futile attempt to convince the bartender that my free Miller (blecch) should be one of their country’s beer since it was the same price, I took the Miller and planted myself at one of the same tables facing the dance floor.

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I chatted with several patrons and enjoyed the set the opening DJ was putting together.  I noticed what looked like the headliner approaching the booth and while I was starting to get tired, I wanted to see what he was like.  As I saw him and someone else start to hook up a bunch of equipment, I began to realize I probably wouldn’t like his set.  This proved to be true about 10 minutes later when the nice, driving house music was replaced with the worst impulses of German tech house in all of its bleeps and blorps.  I took that as a sign to head home and pick up my exploration of Barranco tomorrow.

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