Argentina Pt XXI: Cost Summary

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Argentina was where we spent the most time in and it was not surprising that we spent quite a bit in the country; each of us spent almost 1200 SGD each for our nine days there.

Cost breakdown

Cost breakdown

Air tickets
The biggest expenditure (35%) was due to the two domestic flights that we took. Considering the alternative was 20+ hours bus ride, we had no choice but to pay for them.

Average cost/person/day: 26.03 SGD

Average cost/person/day: 25.63 SGD

Food and accommodation costs were both pretty reasonable (around 20% each), considering the number of days we spent in the country. We ate and lived pretty well for the budget. Food cost was pulled up by our meal at La Brigada.

Average cost/person/day: 20.93 SGD

The bulk of the transportation was from our car rental around Salta. It wasn’t as cheap as in the US and we paid about 80 SGD per day for a basic car. Otherwise taxis and subte were generally affordable around Buenos Aires and the only thing that I felt overpaid for was the taxi from Iguazu airport to the national park.

Average cost/person/day: 9.94 SGD

We didn’t spend a lot on activities as most of them were affordable. The bicycle tour was probably the best-value-for-money; Iguazu probably the least due to the closure of the Garganta trail.


Brazil Pt I: Private double room with breakfast

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Us with our awesome hosts Ferdinando and Mariana

While planning the Iguazu portion of the trip, we faced a dilemma with the choice of accommodation. We had only two nights; should we split our stay between Argentina and Brazil or stay both nights in Brazil?

In the end, we decided that it would be better to spend both nights at Foz do Iguaçu. Emerson’s listing was one of the top in the area and we paid 155 SGD for our two nights there.

To get there from Iguazu National Park in Argentina, we took the shuttle bus (40 ARS) to the bus station at Puerto Iguazú.

Puerto Iguazú bus station – this side is where the international buses (Brazil and Paraguay) depart from

Domestic side

Different operators

We randomly approached a counter and luckily the guy could speak pretty good English. He told us that the Crucero del Norte had the next departure to Foz do Iguaçu.

One could choose between paying for the bus tickets in ARS or BRL; the ticket cost us 15 ARS each.

On-board the bus to Brazil

All passengers were asked to disembark at the Argentine side where the Argentine immigration officials stamped us out. We got back on the bus and were driven across Rio Iguazu to the Brazilian immigration.

The bus only stopped after we were driven through the Brazilian border. Brazil doesn’t require Argentinians and Paraguayans to go through border formalities and we were the only ones who got off here.

Our bus between Argentina and Brazil

Our arrival coincided with the World Cup match between Brazil and Mexico and all but one of the immigration officials were glued to the TV screen. I was sure that she wasn’t really happy that we disrupted her viewing of the match.

Brazilian immigration

We went back to the bus stop to wait for the next Cruzero del Norte bus. It would take almost half an hour.

Long wait for the next Cruzero del Norte bus

Bus heading to Paraguay

Spotted a truck with a French registration plate

We would check out their website later and find out that the truck belongs to a French family traveling around the world.


The instructions given was very clear and we dropped off at the bus stop as given in the instructions. We found ourselves at the house after a short walk from the bus stop.

Emerson is actually living in Europe and the house belongs to his parents Ferdinando and Mariana. They had invited their family over to watch the game and Emerson’s sister helped to check us in.

Comfortable room

It had a small TV where we could watch the World Cup

While neither Mariana nor Ferdinando could speak English, they were very helpful and welcoming. Fernando brought us to the moneychangers the next day and made sure that we got the on right bus to the falls. Breakfast was included and Mariana prepared it for us for both mornings.


Despite the language barrier, we still managed to chat with them (Thanks Google Translate!). Learned a bit about their family and shared some interesting stuff about Singapore with them.

The accommodation itself is located in a quiet neighbourhood one block away from Av. das Cataratas, where one could catch bus to the airport, the National Park as well as Argentina. There are also some restaurants nearby and we didn’t even go to the town centre at all. We felt safe during our time there and even walked out for dinner and grocery shopping in the evenings.

Argentina Pt XX: Iguazú

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Upper Trail, Argentine side

Our plan at Iguazu was to visit the Argentine side of the falls after arriving from Buenos Aires. Although Iguazú National Park is only 9km away from the airport, no buses ran between them.

Our only option was the taxi which cost 220 ARS, same price as going to Puerto Iguazú (20km away).

The taxi ride took less than 10 minutes and the driver was keen to get our business for the return trip. I couldn’t remember the exact quotation for taking us across to Brazil but it was around 400 ARS. We didn’t take up his offer though as we were running out of Argentine pesos.

I had checked the official website the day before on the ticket prices and it was 190 ARS for foreigners. Seemed that the price had risen overnight.

Entrance fees

Left luggage service was available (50 ARS for a big locker) and we had to pay at the souvenir shop first.

Entrance fees

Left luggage

Iguana definitely felt more tropical than the chilly Buenos Aires. There were even tourists who were wearing t-shirts and bermudas.

After entering the park, we oriented ourselves with the maps.

Map of the region

Map of the Argentine side

We also started to notice that beside Spanish, Guarani was used on signs too.

Visitor Centre

And there was bad news.

Garganta del Diablo closed

The highlight of visiting the falls from the Argentine side was to experience Garganta del Diablo up close. Shame that the trail was closed due to the damages by the floods.

Other than walking the trails, there are special tours which bring visitors closer to the falls.

One could sign up the tour at the hut

Activities and costs

No train to Garganta del Diablo and no boat to San Martin Island

We missed the half-hourly train which was heading to the start of the upper and lower trails but the walk from the park entrance to the trails was less than five minutes.

Green trail





Train crossing

Park office

Watch tower – entrance was blocked

First glimpse of the falls

Since Garganta del Diablo trail was closed, we could take our time with the Upper (Superior) and Lower (Inferior) trails.

The Upper Trail has a more panoramic view of the falls while the Lower Trail got you closer to them.

We did Upper Trail first (650m)

Taking picture

Multiple falls

Lots of water

Patrick was happy to be at Iguazu

Making of

Obligatory tourist shot


Trail closed

We were done with the Upper Trail pretty quickly.

The Lower Trail had two entrances; one would be shorter (1,300m) but steeper while the other was longer (2,500m) but gentler.

Lower Trail (2500m)

Lower Trail (1,300m)

Lots of climbing

Scary looking down



Spotted a boat



Multiple falls

Piggyback prohibited

No ferry though

End of the road

All trying to get a nice photo of themselves

We got really wet here

We retraced our way back to the park entrance and stopped by at a toilet en-route. There was a dining place in the vicinity and coatis were overrunning the area.

Coatis taking over

Pole dancing

They weren’t scared of humans and were known to attack visitors for food.

Foraging for food

Signs warning visitors not to get too close to coatis

I wouldn’t want to meet a pack of coatis when I was walking alone on the trail. Luckily we made it back to the park entrance unscathed.

Since it was our last day in Argentina, we decided that we should have a proper farewell with our last serving of Freddo for a while. Interestingly the same quarter-kilo serving cost 56 ARS in Iguazu, 7 ARS more than in Buenos Aires.

Last Freddo in a while

Rio Uruguay is the bus company that operates the shuttle between the park and Puerto Iguazú and it cost 40 ARS for the shuttle.

Rio Uruguay Office

Bus schedule

Bus to Puerto Iguazú

In all, we spent around three hours at the park. Felt a bit meh due to the closure of Garganta del Diablo Trail. Would probably spend a longer time there if the trail was opened.

Argentina Pt XIX: 4M 4022 AEP-IGR

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After five nights in Buenos Aires, we were back at Aeroparque again for our early flight to Puerto Iguazú.

Like Delta at LAX, we had to check-in using the kiosks before we could drop our bags at the counters.


Check-in counters

We were too early when we got to the airside.


Our time was spent mainly on a pizzeria where we had breakfast and we were joined by the Malaysian couple whom we met on the bus between Cuzco and Puno.

Pizza place

We had taken slightly different routes since leaving Bolivia. While we traveled to Salta after San Pedro de Atacama, they flew to Easter Island and Santiago before arriving at Buenos Aires. Turned out that we were on the same flight to Puerto Iguazú and we arranged to meet again in Rio.

Coca Cola Ad


Strange to see a AR plane not at an aerobridge

Queuing up

No surprise that we would be boarding from a remote gate.

On the bus


Hi Captain


Flight: LAN Argentina 4M 4022
Depart: Buenos Aires Jorge Newbury (AEP) – 09:05
Arrive: Puerto Iguazú (IGR) – 10:55
Duration: 1h50m
Distance: 654 miles (1,052 km)
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
Registration: LV-BSJ
Seat: 6L

View from 6L

Our neighbour plane had the oneworld livery

Spotted a SOL Saab 340

Bye BA



Beside looking out at the Argentine countryside, I passed the time with the in-flight magazine.

Maradona vs Messi

Like the flight between Salta and Buenos Aires, snack box and drinks were distributed. We were still full from the pizza so we just saved them for later.

Snack boxes

Variety show on overhead screens

Outside the cabin

There were news about how rain had caused floods in northwestern Argentina and the neighbouring parts of Brazil and Paraguay and it was no surprise that we arrived at IGR in rather gloomy weather.

Gloomy at IGR

Funnily both gates at IGR had aerobridges and we were able to use them.



Something quite funny happened while we were waiting for our bags at the belt; there was a toddler who got up the belt and ran outside and his father had to go after him to get him back. Luckily the belt wasn’t moving at that time and everyone who saw the incident had a laugh.

Taxi fares to the various locations

Alternative was the 60 ARS bus to Puerto Iguazu

The two flights with LAN Argentina was pretty expensive at 315 USD but we had no choice but to fly due to our limited time in Argentina. Pretty unmemorable experiences but we did pick up some MH Enrich miles from them.

Argentina Pt XVIII: Random Buenos Aires

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The photos that didn’t make it to the rest of the BA posts.

Celebrating our arrival at BA with Stella and Lays

Graffiti in San Telmo

Open 25 hours

Tribute to Amy Winehouse

Cool graffiti


Reminded me of Argentine flag

Waiting at junction

Training ground

Couldn’t recall what prompted me to take the photo – the queue or the ad








Man Utd vs Boca Juniors


Fairy tale

Boca family





Magazine stand

San Telmo weekend market

Amazing lady creating music with recycled materials – show her the money!


Uruguay Pt I: Day in Colonia del Sacremento

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Colonia del Sacremento, Uruguay

Across Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires is Colonia del Sacramento, a small town in Uruguay. I couldn’t resist the urge to add one more set of stamps to my passport so we planned a day trip there.

There are three ferry operators: Buquebus, Seacat and Colonia Express. While one could purchase the tickets online, a tip on TripAdvisor revealed that it was actually cheaper to purchase the tickets at the offices.

Buquebus is the most established of the three and its ferries depart from the terminal at Puerto Madero. Seacat seems to be affiliated to Buquebus and operates from the same terminal. It put their passengers on Buquebus ferries on less busy days and it’s actually cheaper to purchase Buquebus tickets through Seacat. Colonia Express is the smaller outfit which has its own terminal in La Boca. Most reviews indicated that the terminal is quite out of the way.

Buying the ticket from Seacat in Buenos Aires

Armed with the information, we headed to Seacat on the Saturday morning. The staff informed us that the return trip on Monday would cost us 47 USD (384 ARS) each and being foreigners, we could only pay using USD or credit card. The 6 USD change were given back in ARS at the official rate of 8 ARS to 1 USD. Our ferry would depart Buenos Aires at 8.30am and return from Colonia at 4.30pm.

It meant that it was an early start for us on Monday. We found ourselves at Puerto Madero terminal after a quick taxi (48 ARS) from San Telmo.

Buquebus Ticket Office, Puerto Madero ferry terminal

The staff at Seacat had told us to check-in at the Buquebus counters and we were quickly processed. Our particulars were already printed on the entry/exit card which came together with the boarding pass.

Checking in

Immigration was pretty interesting; like the Chilean-Argentina border at Paso Jama, Argentina and Uruguayan officials sat next to each other in the booth. Somehow Ying didn’t get an Uruguayan entry stamp but we managed to spot it before heading to the holding area.



Sister ferry

The first thing that greeted us on the ferry was the duty-free shopping.

Fancy some duty-free shopping?

While first-class passengers got to go upstairs, we had to make do with the seats downstairs. Fortunately it was not crowded and one could spread around.

Bar with food for sale

Evacuation route

The experience was similar to the ferry between Hong Kong and Macau. It was a pretty calm journey and I hardly felt the waves. An hour later we arrived in Uruguay, the seventh country of this trip.

Atlantic III

Colonia Express arriving at around the same time – I prefer the bigger Buquebus anytime.

Not in operation today

Following the crowd

Checked luggage coming out

As we had passed through immigration in Buenos Aires, we only needed to go through the customs. The lines were pretty long but we passed through with no issues.


Ticket offices at Colonia del Sacramento

We headed out of the ferry terminal and turned left towards Colonia’s old town.

Outside ferry terminal

There was a large tourist office right outside.

Experiencia Uruguay

We come Uruguay


Colonia’s history was pretty interesting; its owners had alternated between Portugal and Spain and even Brazil over several hundred years. The barrio historico was built by the Portuguese more than 300 years ago.

Yes, we knew we were in Colonia.

Fiat 500

It accompanied us for some distance

Crossing the bridge and entering the historic town centre

There wasn’t much to do beside walking around and taking photographs.

UNESCO Heritage Site

Cannon aimed at Buenos Aires?

Street of Sighs

Playing with camera



Horse cart

Outdoor exhibit at a museum – is it a bear?

Road to Rio de la Plata


Classic cars

Cobbled stone street

Sleepy town

Trying to do an imitation

Buggies for rent





Lighthouse again


Freddo – 3x more expensive than BA

Cambio – note the spread of ARS

We’re not in Argentina anymore

After a couple of hours of aimless wandering, it was time for lunch. We arrived at A la Pipetua at around 12.30pm and got some nice seats in front of the TV. Germany would be playing Portugal at 1pm.

A la Pipetua

Bar area

Ying ordered chivito and I had the seafood paella. Both were yummy.


Seafood paella

It was an exhilarating match with Germany winning 4-0. The chef would come out to catch some action from time to time, whenever the German patron shrieked in delight after each goal.

The bill was presented with the amount given in three currencies: US dollars, Argentine pesos and Uruguayan pesos. We paid the 42 USD bill with dollars and made the walk back to the ferry terminal for our 4.30pm departure.

Back at Colonia’s ferry terminal

Check-in for 4.30pm ferry

The procedures were the same as in Buenos Aires and we even had the same ferry.

Hi again

Argentines glued to Iran vs Nigeria

An hour later we were back in Buenos Aires and strangely there weren’t any cabs outside the ferry terminal. We had to walk a block away before flagging down a taxi for the short ride back to our accommodation.

Although Colonia was only an hour away from Buenos Aires, it felt a world away. It was a sleepy town and none of the sights were truly outstanding. To be honest, if it weren’t for the Uruguayan passport stamp, I doubted that I would be very interested to visit it.

Argentina Pt XVII: Food of Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires was the place where we spent the most time in South America (5 nights) and obviously we had quite a few meals there. This post documented the stuff that we ate in BA.

Home-cooked meals

Staying at an accommodation with kitchen facilities and many nearby shops allowed us to self-cater. We cooked ourselves two very Singaporean meals when we were there.

Omelette and sambal sardine

Omelette, veg and more fish

Bar El Federal

While waiting for our laundry to be washed and dried, we had breakfast at Bar El Federal which was located round the corner where we stayed. Rather atmospheric with ok food.

French toast set (52 ARS)

Bar area


Don’t judge us. We went to a McDonald’s at Palermo thinking that they might have special World Cup merchandise. Turned out that there was nothing.

McDonald’s meal (97 ARS)

Beef burger


Had a choripan during the bike tour. Sustenance for the ride ahead.

Choripan (20 ARS)

Grilling sausages



La Brigada

What’s a visit to BA without going to a parilla? La Brigada was 10 minutes’ walk where we stayed and we decided to try it after the bike tour.

La Brigada

It wasn’t opened yet when we reached at 7pm and we had to return an hour later. The locals don’t dine early and we were among the first few diners that night. It would get slightly more crowded later on.

La Brigada

Interestingly the restaurant was decorated with football memorabilia.

Juan Pablo Sorin’s shirt

We ordered a steak and ribs and some sides to share between us. And a bottle of expensive wine (by accident).

Expensive wine

It sure tasted good.

The service staff actually cut the steak and ribs with a spoon when he served them to us. We were impressed at how soft the meats were.

Beef and ribs

Mac and cheese

While the meats were cooked perfectly, the portions were too big and we struggled to finish them. To be honest, we weren’t big on meats but the meal would be perfect for meat lovers.

The bill was 1175 ARS inclusive of 10% tips and half of it could be attributed to the wine. The same meal could easily cost double or triple in Singapore so we weren’t really complaining.

On a sidenote, we saw the same bottle of wine at a wine shop the following day and found that La Brigada’s mark-up to be really reasonable (around 100 ARS).

And apparently La Brigada was pretty well-known enough to be featured on TAM’s in-flight magazine.

Deja vu when we read about La Brigada in TAM in-flight magazine


Almost half of all Argentinians are descendants of Italian emigrants and it was no wonder that they produce some very decent gelato (or helado in Spanish).

Freddo was one of the more famous shops around and there were many interesting flavours; our favourite were Freddo chocolate and passonfruit.

Freddo at Av Callao 1201

Ying joining the queue



They do delivery too

Our downfall was when we discovered that there was a Freddo five minutes’ walk away from our accommodation (Defensa 901). We would have it two days in a row; one after a stroll through San Telmo weekend market and the next day, we told the taxi driver to drop us there after arriving back from Colonia.

We discovered that the most economical way would be buying by weight. The quarter kilo (49 ARS) portion (any 3 flavours) was perfect for the two of us.

Better deal: quarter kilo at 49 ARS

Casa China

After all the beef, we were dying for something more Asian. We stumbled upon Casa China on our way to Recoleta. The decor of the place made me feel like we were in China and the boss was pretty friendly.

Authentic Chinese food at Casa China (350 ARS)

It was more satisfying than the meal at La Brigada but that was probably because of my Asian palate.

Chit-chatted a little with the boss and her staff and found out that like most Chinese in Argentina, they were originally from Fuzhou. They also offer steamboat for dinner, one could consider visiting it if he/she happens to have a craving for Chinese steamboat in Buenos Aires!

Chachafaz Alfajores

Who could say no to churros? We had some while we went to La Boca for more photos.

Chachafaz Alfajores

Churros, empanadas and chocolate (70 ARS)

Looking at them made me hungry already.

Argentina Pt XVI: Argentina vs Bosnia-Hercegovina

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Argentina kicked off its World Cup campaign with the match against Bosnia in Rio de Janeiro. Since we had no TV at our accommodation, we decided to catch it at the public screening at Plaza General San Martin.

We set off rather early, wanting to get a good location at the screening. After our experience the day before, we were well prepared. We brought along a mat, blanket, hot water and snacks to last us the night.

Arriving at Plaza General San Martin

The crowd was noticeably bigger than the day before.

Watching France’s 3-0 victory over Honduras

We found a cozy corner and started setting ourselves up.

Patrick’s excited again

All set up!

In the half an hour or so before the match began, more and more fans turned up.

Getting crowded

“Look, I’m on TV!”

I noticed that many people were holding clappers and found that they were given away for free. Got a couple of items to show our support for Argentina!

Super fan 1

Super fan 2

Cue Shakira’s song

I knew one of the pundits!

Half of Argentina were in Rio that night

Coming out of the tunnel

Pumped up before the National Anthem

Argentina got off to the dream start when Bosnia scored an own goal in the 3rd minute.


Despite the good start, Argentina didn’t impress. I thought that Bosnia did quite a good job in containing their opponents.

Messi doubled Argentina’s lead in the 65th minute and the place went wild again.

Replay of the 2nd goal

Bosnia’s consolation goal five minutes from the end dampened the mood slightly but most fans went home happy. We caught the train back to our accommodation and fans were singing on the platform as well as in the carriage.

Waiting for the next train – just before the singing started

One group of fans got kinda raucous on the carriage as they kept hitting the sides of the trains when they were singing. Fortunately there were two policemen on duty inside the carriage and those guys became calmer (kept singing though) after a few words between them.

It was a great experience watching the match in a public screening and thankfully Argentina won. The mood wouldn’t be so pleasant otherwise!

Argentina Pt XV: Boca

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We had visited Caminito during the cycling tour and we decided to return for more photos before the crowds arrive.

Buenos Aires, Argentina





The shops were opening and we popped into a few to take a look.

Shops in Caminito

Inside one of the shops


Posing with Leo & Diego

We were attracted by the food display outside one of the cafes and decided to have our breakfast there.


Food display

Churros, hot chocolate and empanadas

After breakfast, we walked around the neighbourhood, looking at the graffiti/murals.

La Boca



We found ourselves outside La Bombonera where there was a queue to get in.

La Bombonera


It seemed that there would be a stadium tour (80 ARS) and we decided to go for it. We were told to visit the museum first and join the next tour at 12 noon.

Diego Maradona

Martin Palermo

Juan Roman Riquelme

Who’s who of Boca Juniors

The captions were mainly Spanish only but the images and trophies spoke for themselves.

History of La Boca neighbourhood

Mini La Boca

Framed jersies




Copa Libertadores

Carlos Tevez

Still the star

Current squad (2014)

Patrick was excited (as usual)

The time came and the guide brought us around the stadium. The explanation was in Spanish only; either the guide forgot the memo or we went the wrong tour.

Guide waiting for participants to settle down


Behind the fence


Standing area

Future ultras


Patrick found his place in the changing room


Woman of the Match

End of tour – mural depicting how Boca Juniors got its colours

I had done similar tour at Anfield back in 2009 and the setups were pretty similar. There were visits around the stadium as well as to the dressing room and press area. Too bad I didn’t know any Spanish to understand what the guide was talking about.

Before leaving Boca, we picked up a scarf for Ying’s brother and we couldn’t resist getting a photo with two of Boca Junior’s most loved heroes.



Argentina Pt XIV: Tombs & Tango

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Don’t cry for me Argentina

Our second day in Buenos Aires started with the Subte ride to General San Martín. Two reasons being there: the first was to check out the Plaza General San Martín where there was free public screening of World Cup matches.

General San Martin Station

General San Martin

Saw the arch – this was the right place

Buenos Aires Mundiale

Love this picture

The second reason was to purchase our ferry tickets to Colonia del Sacremento. The sales offices of the various ferry companies are located at Av Cordoba and Galerías Pacífico was nearby.

Galerías Pacífico



Jorge Luis Borges Cultural Centre is located inside Galerías Pacífico and there are regular tango performances. We were unwilling to pay for the pricey (and touristy) tango shows so we decided to catch the evening performance at the Cultural Centre instead. Our seats in row 4 cost 200 ARS each.

Bien de Tango II

We walked a bit through Calle Florida, the main shopping street of Buenos Aires before finding lunch and making our way to Recoleta.

Crossing Av 9 de Julio – Evita shouting towards the North

La Recoleta Cemetery was probably the only cemetery that I had visited as a tourist attraction.

It was best known as the final resting place of Eva Perón. There were a lot more famous people who were buried there as well but to be honest none of their names rang a bell to me. But I did recognise some of the street names (e.g. Lavalle, Hipólito Yrigoyen, etc).


Jesus Christ

Many of the tombs were really elaborate. Showed how wealthy/influential these people had been while they were alive.

La Recoleta

La Recoleta

La Recoleta


We weren’t the only tourists



Gate’s needed

Jewish tomb?

And of course we had to see Evita’s.

Duarte’s family


We probably spent around 40 minutes or so walking around inside. I didn’t find the cemetery interesting but I guessed most first-time visitors to Buenos Aires would visit it.

There was a community centre beside the cemetery and there were several exhibitions. We thought they were way cooler than the tombs.

I’m 100% sure that this exhibition was a retrospective of last 10 years of Personal Fest

Posters of the event over the years

Relive the event through music

There were big names


The other exhibition: Early Stones

Pictures from Michael Cooper


Setting up for performance

Groupie pic

Part of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts

We made our way back to Plaza General San Martin where the live screening of matches were. We caught a bit of England-Italy match before going for the tango performance at Jorge Luis Borges Cultural Centre.

Where’s my neck!?

Caught on camera

England vs Italy from Manaus

Shortly after we left, the two teams scored in quick succession. Turned out that we were a bit early for the performance.

While waiting…

The dancing was pretty awesome and the live band was really good too. I was glad that I watched a tango performance but to be honest it wasn’t something that I would return to. I guess that I am not so cultural after all.