BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA–Hola! Some quick first impressions of Buenos Aires after an exhausting walkabout, This expansive South American city struck me as very New York circa early ’70s mixed with LA palms and European cobblestones–like a giant Mad Men set. You think the Gardner crawls with all that bridge work in Toronto, try Beunos Aires traffic. Lots of parks and green space once you get on foot, with more public statues per square foot than you find in Canadian public spaces.
I hear so often from visitors to Toronto that they are amused by all the giant billboards for TV shows that are, in fact, imported from the United States and not even produced in our country. Well, guess what–same thing goes on south of the equator, too. The Desperate Housewives billboard (or tattoo as the locals call ’em) on the main boulevard here in Beunos Aires stretched seven stories high. Other billbaords spotted around town promote shows like Hawaii FIVE-0, The Event, House, HBO’s new Boardwalk Empire, Project Runway Latin America and even MacGyver. There was also a local ad for the Canadian TMN production Call Me Fitz.

Walked past the headquarters for Buenos Aires public broadcaster today, situated around the corner from the Canadian embassy. Did not spot the Spanish Polkaroo.
As one would expect, the TV here in the Polo Suites Hotel features mainly Spanish language programming. There’s a Spanish Larry King on C5N who looks more like an accountant. There are also plenty of sports channels, with the focus on soccer but also on basketball and poker. Pretty tough to get the Leaf game, though. News channels include CNN, Fox News and the U.S. version of Al Jazeera.

At night, a blond-ish woman in a halter top and black miniskirt shouts, preens and urges viewers to call in and try to win a prize flashed on the screen on something called Ring TV. “Seniorez! Oooooo!” She keeps adjusting her top and flinging her hair. Sirens go off and the camera never stops moving and zooming. Every 40 minutes the phone rings but I don’t think anyone’s won anything yet. There’s some sort of bus ride up for grabs worth over $2000 pesos. Ay carumba!
The folks at Global took us out for steaks tonight at Cabana Las Lilas, a fancy eaterie by the canal. Lone Eagle playa Michael Geddes was in on the feast. Tomorrow is a full day on the set of Wipeout, where 40 Canadian contestants will be put through their paces. I’ve already heard from Wipeout Mike via Twitter.

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