Recoleta, Buenos Aires – a First Impression

Click to Comment → Print

A Recoletta, Buenos Aires doorman Upon entering Recoleta, the posh section of Buenos Aires I expected to be awestruck by clean sidewalks, boutique shops, brilliant architecture and authenticity. I was disappointed. In my opinion, Recoleta was average.

What I discovered was a quiet Wednesday evening. Trash was being picked through for recyclables before the piles were removed from the sidewalks. The streets were dark and nearly vacant. I was surprised. I had researched the area before coming to Buenos Aires and now I felt misled.

My first week I had a pessimistic eye. The parks’ grass was not healthy for the spring season. The large dog population was apparent. I walked carefully as I dodged the smell of urine. I was disenchanted with the pride of the neighborhood.

The major avenues that host shopping, are loud and choked with busses and exhaust. People are not friendly. They are preoccupied by the windows of overpriced goods. The area seems to diminish the expected South American charm.

The wealth is represented by hundreds of doormen. Twenty four hours of door service surrounding every block. Each morning the gentleman on the night shift proceeds out the front door of his post and washes the sidewalk with a hose and a broom. Early morning Recoleta has a soothing peace, with the sound of splattering water, and bristles brushes.

Recoleta does have beauty. It took me about a week to notice. My eyes were kept busy watching where my feet landed. Once I let my sight wander from the sidewalks and streets, a charm was introduced.

The dirty streets are lined with a fluent sequence of old and new. Grays, yellows, and whites blend into blocks. Balconies spill out from French doors. Massive entrances give way to small restaurants. Flowers are sold by sidewalk vendors on every block. The pleasantries had been there all along, but my initial prejudice masked them.

There are fine eateries in the area. Most everything is expensive, but if a high quality dining experience is the objective, Recoleta can satisfy. There are also wine and cheese stores and small markets. Cafes should be more prevalent, with more outdoor seating.

My misconception of Recoleta simply boils down to opinion. I wanted a crocheted community, with an authentic Latin American feel, and I was knocking on the wrong doors. Recoleta is beautiful, and has something for everyone. There are, however, many other places in this immense city that I find more pleasing.

What Do You Think?