Pictured Lift to mountaintop at Bariloche in Patagonia.Luxury hotel in distance in Bariloche lake area. Casa Rosata close up with the famous Evita balcony.
10. It's a place that you have never been.
9. You've been there and can't wait to go back.
8. You want to brush up on your Spanish, and few people in Argentina speak English.
7. When it's winter here, it's summer there and visa/versa.
6. You're crazy about the movie Evita and want to see where Madonna sang 'Don't cry for me ... .'
5. You love rib eyes, filets, and beef of every kind.
4. You want to see for yourself if Buenos Aires really is the 'Paris of South America.'
3. You have an irresistible urge to dance the Tango—or at least watch dancers who are really good.
2. You want to bring home a gaucho for a visit.
1. Europe is hideously expensive but the dollar goes a long way in Buenos Aires.
With the dollar losing ground against the Euro, pound, and other world currencies, U.S. GLBT travelers are looking for vacation destinations that won't break their piggy banks.
In addition, the specter of terrorism has many wondering whether they should leave home. Well, consider that just to our south is the wonderful world of Latin America.
One of the most inviting Latin American destinations these days is Argentina. The political climate is serene. The airlines, trains, hotels and other tourist services operate with a high degree of efficiency. And you can have a fine steak dinner with all the trimmings for between $4 and $6 U.S.
The Paris of South America
Practically since its founding, B.A. has been called the 'Paris of South America.' The architecture is, indeed, more European than South American. One of B.A.'s most exclusive neighborhoods, the Recolita, especially resembles Paris with mansard roofs and carved stone facades. The resemblance is deliberate. The immigrants who came to B.A. in the 1800s were upper-middle-class people from Spain, Italy, England, and France. They wanted their new homes in the New World to resemble their homes in the Old World. The wealthiest settlers built little palaces in B.A. Today, many of the mansions serve as foreign embassies.
There are also buildings that reflect the Latin American /Spanish influence. One of the most famous of these is the Casa Rosata ( Pink House ) , which houses the President's and other executive-branch offices. The Casa was made famous in the scene from Evita, in which Madonna stood on the balcony and sang her famous song. An interesting sidenote is the paint job on the building. The façade is a pastel pink. The sides are of pink faded to dull beige. To save money, the movie crew decided to only paint the front.
In addition to traditional and modern architecture, B.A. is a city of lovely parks and broad avenues. Avenida 9 Julio is one of the broadest avenues in the world.
Nightlife and B.A. are practically synonymous. The city begins to come alive around 9 p.m. Early diners trickle into many fine restaurants around then. Our favorite was the Cabanas Los Litas, where the specialty is Rib Eye, which needs no knife for cutting because it is so tender and juicy. The clubs do not get going much before 1 a.m. It's a good idea to get in an afternoon disco nap if you plan to sample the nightlife.
Straight or gay travelers alike must be sure to take in a Tango Show. They are everywhere throughout the city and the price usually includes dinner. Among the largest and best-known are Central Tango and Madero Tango. Gay clubs offer lessons and we saw Argentinean gay men with their tango shoes on late in the evening, off to trip the Latin light fantastic.
Side Trips of Interest
Iguaçu Falls is only a short plane ride from B.A. and, as one of the largest waterfalls in the world, we thought it was well worth seeing. You can stay on either the Argentinean side or the Brazilian side. If you plan to visit the Brazilian side, you must obtain a Brazilian visa before leaving the U.S. Many walking trips are offered to gaze over the thundering falls and we took advantage of two. Our favorite was followed by a short motorized river raft ride and then a dunking under the falls. Temperatures there were reaching 95 degrees, so we were glad for the sprinkle.
Bariloche, another side trip we ventured on, is like an Alpine village where skiers love to hit the slopes in our summer, which is their winter. We were there in our winter ( which is their summer ) and still found plenty to do. Hiking scenic trails and riding mountain gondolas to amazing heights were followed by a five-hour boat ride on a picturesque lake amidst the towering Andes Mountains.
How to Get There
United Airlines has nonstop service from Chicago but we used miles to go to Miami and then took TAM Airlines on to Buenos Aires. We were pleasantly surprised to be served actually tasty—not just barely edible—airline food and with it came an explanation of TAM's attempt to serve lighter food and yet food that is exciting and different. Imagine being served 'hearts of palm,' in the bark of the palm from which they had come, nestled next to fresh tomatoes with a splash of pesto. And this was just the appetizer. The dinner courses of fish, beef, or chicken were equally outstanding. So was the Argintine Malbec. To top it off, TAM is a Brazilian-based airline with a great interest in serving the GLBT community
In all, our entire trip was a delightful one, and having been told for many years, 'Someday, South America will come into its own,' we are glad that that time has come.
Your travel writer: Cynthia A. Marquard is the owner of Aqua Terra Travel, Inc., 65 E. Wacker Place, Chicago IL 60601. Cynthia can be reached at 312-787-2400 or visit the Web site, www.aquaterratravel.com .
180 LARGE RAINBOW FLAGS AT NATIONAL CELEBRATION
Center City Philadelphia will be decked out in 140 Equality Forum Rainbow Flags, in addition to 40 Equality Forum Rainbow Flags on Independence Mall, for Equality Forum 2005 & National Celebration ( April 25 to May 1 ) . The 180 eight-foot by four-foot Rainbow Flags make this the largest display of Rainbow Flags in history.
'The Rainbow Flag represents the diversity of our community,' said Malcolm Lazin, executive director of Equality Forum. 'The 140 Rainbow Flags in Center City Philadelphia reflect our visibility, while the 40 Rainbow Flags on Independence Mall, the site of the National Celebration, symbolize 40 Years and 40 Heroes.'
The National Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the GLBT Civil Rights Movement will be on Sunday, May 1 on Independence Mall. The 16-hour National Celebration includes a Gay Pioneers & 40 Heroes Tribute in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Through an international process, 40 Heroes were selected for their leadership over the last 40 years.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will unveil a Historical Marker designating the area around Independence Hall as the site of the first organized and annual gay and lesbian civil-rights demonstration ( July 4, 1965 ) during the National Celebration. This Historical Marker is believed to be only the second official marker to designate a site significant to the GLBT civil-rights movement.
The first organized and annual demonstration for gay and lesbian civil rights was held in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell on July 4, 1965. These 'Annual Reminders' were held in Philadelphia, D.C. and New York from 1965 to 1969 and led to Stonewall in 1969.
Equality Forum 2005 & National Celebration features more than 100 programs. More than 105 state, regional, national and international non-profit organizations and 30 national and international GLBT executive directors will be participating.
The 16-hour National Celebration on Independence Mall includes the Gay Pioneers & 40 Heroes Tribute, the SundayOUT street festival, screenings of the documentary Gay Pioneers, an Interfaith Service with Bishop Gene Robinson at historic Christ Church, a concert with Cyndi Lauper, and parties.
See www.equalityforum.com .