Interview with Alan Patrick of Buenos Tours (Part 3)

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ATG got the chance to chat up Buenos Tours‘ Alan Patrick – and find out how one becomes a tour-guide-blogger when they grow up. (Check out the first two parts of this series.)

ATG: In the battle of the tourist centers, London vs. Buenos Aires, which sites dominate, obliterating the competition?

Alan: To tell you the truth, I don’t know London all that well. I’m a little ashamed to admit that after having lived over 23 years of my life just a couple of hours from London, I never really went there much. I guess I used to be more of a small town person… but Buenos Aires has changed all that for me. Now I love the big city life that Buenos Aires offers, and can’t see myself living outside of a big city for the foreseeable future.

ATG: We’ll skip London then, (sounds like Buenos Aires could do some serious crushing). If you could teleport during a walking tour and make it global, what are some spots you’d hit on your guided world tour?

glass-of-beer.jpgAlan: Ooooh… straight to a bar in Belgium for some decent beer. I’m a huge fan of decent beer (we call it real ale in England), so Belgium and Germany are two of my favorite spots in the world. Antwerp, Brussels, Berlin and Munich in particular. All are beautiful places too… especially through a haze of good beer.

Speaking of Berlin, it was actually on a tour I took there that I decided I would like to be a tour guide some day. It kind of inspired me.

ATG: The Berlin tour was that good, huh?

Alan: The tour guide brought the history of Berlin to life (the city has possibly the most fascinating history of any in the world) with such verve and enthusiam, and I decided I’d like to be passionate about a city in the same way some day… and Buenos Aires did that for me so here I am.

ATG: From what what you’re saying and from what I’ve read on your blog, you seem guided by cuisine and beverage!

Alan: Yes, I am very much a food and drink lover perhaps too much at times. It’s a good thing I do so much walking! I love to write about food too, as you’ve seen on my blog…although i don’t get to write as much as I’d like to these days as I’m so busy. I have about 100 posts planned in my head, just no time to write them.

ATG: Do you have a favorite public space in BsAs? Is there a spot that’s
particularly good for people watching?

recoleta4.JPGAlan: My favorite public space in Buenos Aires is the Recoleta cemetery. I can get lost for hours wondering around in there, taking in all the fantastic architecture of the tombs. Not so good for people watching though! Maybe dead people….

Alan: For people watching, I would say that a stroll down Florida street on a weekday is a very interesting experience if you can make it down the whole length of Florida on a weekday afternoon without being shoulder barged once, you’re a better person than I am.

ATG: While people-watching at the cemetery, maybe not, but as a tour
guide, do you ever get laryngitis?

Alan: Yes, my voice does start to croak and disappear a little near the end of the second, three-hour tour of the day. I try to bring a bottle of water with me to help with that. Seems to do the trick I’ve never lost my voice for more than a couple of minutes though.

ATG: How big/small are the tour groups?

Alan: I give private tours of Buenos Aires. so only the people that book the tour are on the tour… this means they get my full attention, and also means I don’t have to shout too much the norm for me is a couple per tour.

ATG: Really? That’s great – intimate. Are your clients backpackers, students, or mostly families?

Alan: I would say my average client is an American couple in their 40’s or 50’s.

ATG: How did you get into blogging? Is it connected to the job or is it more for pleasure?

Alan: I started blogging purely for pleasure, and also to try to help people with some info about Buenos Aires. When I started the blog I actually wasn’t touring but when I started back giving tours, I obviously realized the power of the internet for getting clients. Almost all of my clients find met through google searches.

Alan: I love to write, and therefore to blog, which is why its a shame for me that I don’t get much time to do so these days. However, I do have some friends that help my blog with contributions to keep it fresh… such as Tango Cherie, who writes some Tango Milonga reviews for me, and Diva (of Buenos Aires Through My Eyes), who wrote an hilarious article for my blog called “I hate Buenos Aires when…” (though i think some people that read that last one got the wrong end of the stick. Check out the comments at the end.)

ATG: I love that article!!! That’s my favorite piece written on this city so far. I read it a couple months back and got hooked on Diva’s blogs.

Alan: Yeah, she stole the candy jar change joke from me and then had the nerve to write it on my own blog that’s Diva for you. It is an excellent blog. very funny, with some cutting social commentary. One of my regular reads alongside Line of Sight and Buenos Aires, City of Faded Elegance.

Alan made for a fun interviewee and ATG would like to thank him for the insight and the laughs. We’d like to recommend his Buenos Aires Tour 101 to you, the reader, to get an historic and contemporary feel for this ciudad hermosa.

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