About Marcelo Barbon
Marcelo Barbon is a writer, journalist, amateur photographer, and
frustrated drummer. He was born in Brazil, lives in Argentina and is always looking for a great story. Marcelo is interested in untold stories from any country.
Latest Posts by Marcelo Barbon
If you didn’t come to Buenos Aires yet, you can’t imagine how Culture (with a big C) is alive around its many streets, avenues, and “caminitos”. Well, so I must tell you: Buenos Aires has an incredible cultural life. And I had the chance to witness that last Saturday: it was the second “Night of the Museums”.
The first one happened in 2008, and unfortunately I wasn’t here that day. The city has around 150 museums and cultural clubs and houses. All of them remained opened until 2 A.M. with a very diversified schedule.
Beyond the regular expositions and shows, most of them had music, theatre, lectures and even a rave-style party in front of the De La Plata River. We began our night in Puerto Madero, the newest neighborhood at the skirts of the river.
There, we entered at the City Commission of Museums, the place where the night was organized. Outside, DJs were already beginning to entertain a small crowd. In the beginning of the 20th century, the house was literally in front of the river and people used to swim as if it was a beach. But now, the city has grown and the Ecological Reserve has born from the remains of a construction site.
As raves are not much my thing, I decided to go to the City Museum, in San Telmo. There was a football (soccer) exposition with historical banners and pictures of players and teams. They also had the ball used in the first official matches. In another floor, an old toy expo, but those old dolls just seemed too much scary for me.
As the night was still young I decided to enter a different museum: the Prison Museum. Just a block from the center of San Telmo (that is Dorrego Square) there is a big and old building that used to be a female prison. Now it is the Prison Museum and has a lot of history to tell. In the dictatorship, many guerrilla women were imprisoned there and it’s possible to see even the illegal “newspapers” they prepared with news from the outside world.
In the huge courtyard, some chairs allowed to watch a lovely tango show, with a singer, and some couples dancing. Then it was already midnight, but the crowd wanted more. I decided to close the night with a traditional dinner. There’s no better way to make museums popular places.
Every tourist coming to Buenos Aires knows the many outdoors fairs that occur during the weekends in different neighborhoods. The most famous is the San Telmo Fair every Sunday in the traditional southern region of the city.
But there’s another one that can take the traveler to the true “Pampas” without leaving the city. If you want to know how the “gauchos” ate and drank, and danced, and played music, you have to know the Mataderos Fair.
It is a 1-hour trip by bus (you can go by taxi, but be prepared to spend almost 30 dollars), but worth it every minute. There you can taste foods from all the Argentineans provinces and also from Bolivia and Paraguay, two of the biggest communities of immigrants living in Buenos Aires.
I truly recommend you taste the tamales, a typical food from the indigenous people that can be found with some differences in every Latin American country. You can also eat in the two or three restaurants around the fair, but I tried the Vieja Recova, a “parrilla” that is located in the building of Liniers Market. It’s very cheap, the food is great but they accept only cash.
Small, but very cozy, the menu has only two pages: you can eat meat or… meat. The Liniers Market is a slaughterhouse that provides meat for the city of Buenos Aires. During the week the cattle is taken there to be bought and sold, then shipped to other parts of the city or abroad.
Right in front of the market entrance there’s a stage for traditional music and dance. My experience is that there are some groups that are amazing but not all of them. The good thing is that the fair is not so big, and you can walk around if you don’t like the music.
To be considered a real “gaucho” party there is one essential thing: horses. So, there’s a part of the fair dedicated to horse riding. I am not a horse fan, I have to admit it, much less in the middle of an avenue, but if you love them, there are some kind of racing and demonstrations.
I prefer food and music, what can I say? Among the things you can try, there are panchos (hot dogs) and choripans (sausage sandwiches). In the small booths in the middle of the street you will find an incredible variety of traditional artwork, handcrafts, jewelry, leather goods and good-luck charms. Everything with good prices and much more “original” than the San Telmo Fair.
It’s important to know that Mataderos neighborhood is far from the touristic part of the city, so it can be less friendly. Before going leave all your expansive stuff at the hotel, bring some money, and take care of it all the time. The fair can be very crowded.
Av. Lisandro de la Torre, 2400
www.feriademataderos.com.ar/ (in Spanish)