Top Five Unproductive Ways to Pass Your Time in Buenos Aires

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Chillin' in Buenos AiresSix months ago, a typical day in my life reflected that of your average young urban professional living in San Francisco: wake up at 8 am, shower, catch the bus to work, endure an 8+ hour day at the office, hit the gym, make dinner with roommates, catch a segment from The Daily Show, read for a bit, and then hit the hay.

I, like most high-strung and somewhat recent graduates, believed that the more items checked off from my daily to-do list, the better, and I greeted each new day as an eager participant in the productivity rat-race. Fast-forward six months to an average day in my new life in Buenos Aires, and my day may consist of any number of sweet nothings. As I have now perfected the science of leisure, here I present to you the top five ways to be unproductive in the great city of Buenos Aires:

  1. Drink mate and people-watch with friends on a sunny afternoon in Palermo’s Parque Tres de Febrero.
    Parque 3 de Febrero people-watching.With its expansive green lawns and scenic lakeside locale, Parque Tres de Febrero is the perfect place to pass a leisurely afternoon drinking mate and people-watching. Reflect on your own indolence and inactivity as a myriad Porteños run, bike, and rollerblade past you. As you sip your mate, you will encounter both the novice duo on their first date, limbs flailing as they awkwardly attempt to prevent their imminent synchronized faceplant, as well as the king of all rollerbladers, that guy who glides effortlessly across the pavement, gracefully pirouetting and singing through the park like Disney on Ice. Don’t forget to bring along cookies for sustenance!
  2. Attend Opera Bay’s “Office Hour” on a Wednesday night.
    Opera Bay in Puerto Madero.Buenos Aires has often been referred to as a Circadian Rhythm nightmare for foreigners who are accustomed to bars closing around 2 am. Most bars and clubs really don’t get going until the wee hours of the morning here, and you may find yourself frustrated by your body’s inability to sleep when you will it to after three weekend nights out until 7 am. Enter Office Hour, the Porteño counterpart to “Happy Hour” in the States. You get to enjoy the bar/club scene for a full five hours, including free cover (before 8:30 pm), AND manage eight hours of sleep, while still waking up early enough the following day to make the most of the sunlight. If that’s not enough of an argument to partake in Opera Bay’s Wednesday night festivities, consider the extremely good-looking clientele looking to work off some stress from the office with a cold Iguana on the dance floor.
  3. Bring a book and grab a Café con Leche at one of the city’s many sidewalk cafes.
    Unlike in the United States, waiters in Buenos Aires are in no hurry to turn over tables. They aren’t even in any hurry to give you your check. Rather than becoming frustrated with the lackadaisical service, embrace the seemingly endless amount of time by catching up on your favorite book. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the perfected foamy top and smooth espresso flavor of a Café con Leche in the sun.
  4. Make yourself the judge of your own personal empanada tastiness contest.
    Mmm....empanadas!In a city with a plethora of restaurants specializing in empanadas and a sign on every corner claiming the best in Buenos Aires, it should be your civic duty to determine which of these establishments truly deserves the title. Carne, pollo, jamon y queso, queso y cebolla, and humita, each with its own unique texture and flavor, must tirelessly be compared in its own separate event. To start off on the right foot, I nominate my two top-runners, Akomer (Arenales 2917) and Cumuná (Rodriguez Peña 1149), whose delightful empanadas have truncated my own judging contest as I continue to go back to these same places for more.
  5. Get lost and find your way home.
    There’s no better way to get to know a city than to wander around completely disoriented from neighborhood to neighborhood until you finally recognize something. Of course, as in any city, you need to have some idea as to what areas to avoid, so choose your starting point wisely, and put that confident “I know exactly where I’m going” pep in your step. Spend an entire afternoon strolling aimlessly from San Telmo through Plaza de Mayo into the Microcentro and over to Recoleta. Leave your Lonely Planet book behind and let your feet be your guide; you never know what kind of gem you might stumble upon.

Thank for the CC-licensed images goes to skidder, bimurch, and grahami.

2 Comments

[…] Top Five Unproductive Ways to Pass Your Time in Buenos AiresSix months ago, a typical day in my life reflected that of your average young urban professional living in San Francisco: wake up at 8 am, shower, catch the bus to work, endure an 8+ hour day at the office, hit the gym, make dinner with … […]

subcorpus on October 6, 07

so what exactly were you doing there …
seems to me you had like few days to kill …
hehe …

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