Lomas de Zamora, a small town outside the city, across General La Paz, which is the ‘border’ street of Capital Federal. It is an hour or so train ride from the city centre. There’s nothing there of real note, there is no real reason to go and visit but just because it’s not the tourist hot spot of Argentina, perhaps makes it even a great place to get a true Argentine experience. Taking time away from the crowds of San Telmo can lead to a deeper discovery about the Argentine people and allow you to see a different, more traditional side to the Capital Federal. The town is notably more relaxed, friendlier and with a more community feel than in the centre, you will see and sense the change in vibe as soon as you get off the train.
The barmen will chat to you, the shopkeeper will ask how you are and the people aren’t walking like they are late for meetings. As well as being generally friendlier, the novelty of seeing foreigners has not worn thin on the locals as it has in the capital and you are much more likely to meet people that will really be interested in talking to you. It is a nice break from the at-times-difficult first encounters for the average tourists studying Spanish in Buenos Aires.
I was invited to see a rock band in one of the bars, my friend was making a documentary on Buenos Aires and was invited backstage to interview the band. We ambled through the interview, trying my best to translate a half-drunk Australian filmmaker to four very Argentine, heavily tattooed men. These guys are a big deal in this town and they were not afraid to act like it. It is interesting to see how the town looked up to these men as stars and we looked at them just like normal people, it was funny seeing a small scale Hollywood scenario and it made me realise just how crazy celebrity really is.
Being in Buenos Aires is great, but once in a while, breaking out of the tourist bubble could be even better. You never know what kind of things you might see or situations you might get into. So, if you are short of something to do, jump on a train to town that isn’t in the ‘Lonely Planet’, you might be surprised at how much you would actually be able to discover.