Well, well well! We have gone in the wind (almost, after 17 hours of flight with British Airways and two horrible dinners) and finally landed in Buenos Aires, the first step in our globe-trotter path!
The weather wasn’t really the best at our arrival, as we spent our first two days under an ever-falling rain, so persistent that the light ran out in the nice house of our three hosts and we had to wash in the dark and eat by the candlelight : it was very romantic, indeed, and we had some good laughing-time!
How to describe Buenos Aires? As my mother lived there for ten years till the early Sixties, she told me how beautiful and new it was, how broad were the avenues, how good were the empanadas and alfajores… so, in my imagination, I figured it like a Southamerican Paris with people dancing tango at every corners of the avenidas y boulevards. What we found was slightly different. We were impressed by the special atmosphere of this mysterious city. Great and majestic building next to abandoned places, old or broken cars forlorn in the middle of the streets, tagged wall and graffities on the ruins of ancient houses, vintage buses that reminded us of the Fifties… it seemed like Buenos Aires was waiting to awake and stirr in better days. Walking through Monserrat and San Telmo was like venturing in a haunted place or doing a Time-trip, between the Thirties, Fifties and nowadays, and a sense of irreality surrounded us. The streets smelled of barbecue and nostalgia. Saturday night, to cheer up a bit, Fernanda and Myriam invited us to a bar and played pool for two hours at least. It was really great. Fernanda and Myriam were excellent players and Janyce too mastered the art of pointing to balls in the most improbable position, getting them in the right hole. And I… cof cof,I was a real beginner!
On the third day, fortunately, the sun came out again, and we had a little walk from Plaza de Mayo, through Defensa with its folkloric Sunday market, till La Boca and Caminito, with their brightly-coloured houses and the Yellow Stadium, contrasting with the decadent state of the surroundings. We met a crazy Spanish fighter while waiting for the bus, or this is what we understood from his strange speech! Up to the North, we explored the great gardens of Palermo, full of parrots and exotic trees, and visited the Cemetery of Recoleta, where some most important historical personalities are buried, like Eva Peron, the star of Buenos Aires. Near the severe and grim Law Faculty, you can find the Big Steel Flower, really impressive!
Since it was a cold and foggy day again, we decided to go in the Cultural Centre of Recoleta, very interesting, and the MALBA, the Museum of the Latin-American Modern Art. Modern Art can be quite cryptic sometimes, but it is funny to wonder about those strange creations of
mary-janed genial minds. Victor Grippo, for instance, illuminated us on the artistic and philosophical essence of potatoes, expressed in different sculptures and synthetized in one motto, ´´La papa dora la papa, la conciencia ilumina la conciencia´´. Popcorn can also reveal the deepest meaning of life with a simple equation ´´Corn and too much hot make a burnt corn and no pop´´. So true.
Oh, and today was our last day in Buenos Aires, before leaving for Iguazu, up to the North, between Paraguay and Brazil, so we decided to adopt another balladeer, after wandering in the street of the musicians, next to the clocks-one : Jimi H., our fantastic ukulele! Then
Of course, in the meantime, we fed ourself with plenty of alfajores, delicious empanadas and barbecue or ”parrillas” (they are omnipresent in Buenos Aires), and at the end of the day, generally, our feet were almost crying for pity after walking those long, broad avenues with eight ways for the cars. Still it was wonderful, even if it was a little annoying to constantly keep spare change for the bus (the ticket machine only allows coins of one or two pesos).
And thank you Janyce for guiding me in the city and through bus lines!
Last but not least : the Spanish you learn at school is not the real one spoken everyday by hispanophones and it does not guarantee an immediate comprehension. So, prepare your best faces to express in funny ways “I don’t understand” and be strong, because all you’ll get the first few days of argentinian speech is a few words and many strange sounds (the intervocalic -y and -ll must be prounounced with a wet -ch here).