|sunset over buenos aires, argentina.|
we were sitting around the other day asking ourselves what makes buenos aires so uniquely wonderful, what sets it apart from other destinations? aside from quirks like milk in a bag, or dinner at 10pm, street salesmen selling everything everywhere, its obsession with the falkland islands, wine served in porcelain penguins, the talented dog walkers, people with mate cups and thermoses of hot water permanently attached to their bodies... well, we'll get to those in a minute.
|the inescapable eva peron.|
they have this tremendous capacity for looking inward and facing out all at the same time. we can't think of another densely populated place that's been so friendly, so curious, so interested in us. and thank you spanish 101 for allowing us to answer "de donde son?" so many times.
the city itself is in on the act. all over the place you see people in bright yellow t-shirts handing out information about health, sports, music, culture & public events. over the course of six weeks we've seen free, city-sponsored concerts of classical music, a tango orchestra, a string quartet, free movies, a percussion ensemble (well, they can't all be winners, i mean, it's free), art exhibits. each and every time some complete stranger has asked "so, where are you from? do you like buenos aires?" and a test of our spanish, and their patience, begins anew.
now, about those quirks...
|mate at concerts, parks, class, cafes... no wonder they stay up so late!|
evita: we can't even get into the "peronism," the unbelievable hate/love war with the story of eva peron, or evita, and her legacy. everyone has an opinion and we've tried our hardest to get our heads around the history. but like so many other stories that are used for political gain, it takes much more time than a few weeks to peel back the layers. let's just say, wow. you can come here for months on end and spend your time doing nothing but studying eva peron and the political/social ramifications of her story. you think american politics is twisted? buenos aires and argentina gives some serious competition. feel free to dive right in and get back to us on this one. got some hours to kill? start here, and good luck.
|would you like your yogurt on the floor or the wall?|
milk in a bag: or yogurt in a bag. seriously, worst packaging idea ever. my favorite quote: "when you're drinking milk from a bag, that's when you know you're ballin' it in buenos aires." um, no.
can't tell you how much yogurt has been squirted all over the kitchen since we've been here. of course, now that we're about to leave, someone tells us "oh, we have these cheap plastic holders for those. you cut the corner, pop it in the plastic thing and no worries." oh, thanks!
|nostalgia for home in the form of a ford.|
ford falcons: having just arrived from several months in southeast asia, where the scooter is the king of transport, we noticed these old fords sitting around the streets, you know those late 60s, early 70s ford falcons? it felt refreshing until we realized, "wait, we're in buenos aires, right?" every block has one amidst the audis and VWs. turns out, ford had a manufacturing plant down here for ages. it just felt good to see some solid, old american cars.
tango: not a quirk, of course, but part of a rich history and a curious transformation happening here. in every guidebook regarding buenos aires you read something akin to "on every corner you'll see tango dancing. it lives in the hearts of every citizen of buenos aires." sounds cool, i guess. but it ain't true. well, it's sort of true. the fascinating thing is there's an entire generation that doesn't seem to care about it at all. when we searched out some tango (not on every street corner, by the way), what we found were older couples moving quite slowly across the dance floor mixed with couples from a much younger generation. the old folks are remembering, and the young ones are "rediscovering." there's a generation in between that seems to have considered it "their parent's thing."
|first round, la ronda primera, of the buenos aires tango competition, "milonga" category.|
words can't describe how enamored we've become of buenos aires. we've written before about how easy it is to feel at home no matter where you are, and the melancholy attached to leaving someplace. very few of our stops have been disappointing and we grew attached to most of them in some way or another. but buenos aires has kept us engaged for six weeks and we still want more. there's something aching this time as we prepare to leave. it's a funny arc, too, because our first impressions were "wow, this is a big city. wow, this is an expensive city" and "wow, this is the first city where someone has attempted to pickpocket us."
when we started traveling we thought "well, maybe along the way we'll stumble on a place where we could imagine living." we have to say, rampant inflation and yogurt on the walls aside, buenos aires is a wonderfully livable city.
with that, we leave you with a few more visuals from a city we now love.
|wine served in penquins! el penguino. makes you want to keep ordering wine. seriously, trust us on this.|
|did we say it was a big city? 10 lanes! one way!|
|el homero, as in "homer" simpson. donuts filled with dulce de leche. can you say "yum?" sabor!|
|"a country with good people." and it's true, too, as far as we can tell.|