Impressions of Buenos Aires

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I arrived at the airport late at night. I couldn’t withdraw pesos at any of the ATMs. I thought it was my foreign card and freaked out that I was going to get stuck there for good. I found out later that ATMs often run out of cash in Argentina. One day in the city centre, a nice lady let me walk with her for 15 minutes to a bank which was actually giving money.

Everywhere in public places, I only heard international hits of the 90s. I wondered why?

On Sunday morning, I saw more rain in a few hours than I saw in London over the last year. I braved the weather. The streets were completely empty.

Dove hand soap smells like Dulce de leche.

(Dulce de Leche is a religion).

In Palermo, I saw a number of dog walkers, one guy with 7 or 8 big dogs, one really looked like a sheep.

I recognised traits of Haussmann architecture on several buildings. Didn’t feel like Paris though.

The streets and parked cars are covered with the purple flowers of this tree I’ve never seen before. I asked what it was but couldn’t get an answer.

I knew that the accent is much different from the European Spanish I know, yet I wasn’t prepared to integrate that ‘lama’ is pronounced ‘chama’. It created a number of misunderstandings.

I was hanging out all the time in a colourful café called Bartola. The first time I went, I was reading Vernon Subutex by Virginie Despentes. The waitress exclaimed: “Virginie Despentes! La Teoria de King Kong!” We talked about feminist writers for a little bit. I felt welcome at heart by international sisterhood because King Kong Théorie is a book that changed my life.

I went to a tango class at the Armenian centre in Palermo, because the friends who hosted me told me that the famous open air milonga in La Plaza Dorrego San Telmo was a dangerous area alone at night. Later on TV, that night, we saw that the body of a big finance guy had just been discovered in a suitcase in that neighbourhood.

The tango class was kinda bad, there were mostly washed off dancers in couples. I was one of the youngest and I was by myself. There was a man who was the curly Argentinian version of an idiot guy I used to have a crush on in London, so I kept staring at him biting my tongue not to giggle. I, of course, randomly ended up dancing with him and I didn’t know any of the steps because I was focusing on his resemblance rather than on the teacher. At 10:30pm, everyone started dancing rock’n’roll out of the blue.

I was hosted by a lovely couple who are friends of my lover. I had never met them before but they opened me their door, gave me a set of keys, fed me empanadas for two days and helped me in every way they could. When I left for the airport, the guy dropped what he was doing and came with me to make sure I was getting on the right bus although he had a deadline for university that evening.

I took the bus back to the airport near the Rio del Plata. Some people were fishing. The dusk light was stunning. When I come back here, I’ll walk on the bank of the river for a whole day.

I crossed the city by bus as the night was falling. The further we were driving, the more the atmosphere was changing. At the periphery of the city, some houses were made of wood and cardboard. I saw a nun talking to a whore on the street – unless I’ve seen too many Almodovar movie and this was just my imagination?

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2 thoughts on “Impressions of Buenos Aires

  1. Jacaranda – is the probably the purple flowering tree. We have them all over the greater Los Angeles area and most people have a love-hate relationship with them. Simply beautiful to drive down a Jacaranda lined street in bloom – quite a mess to clean off a bloom covered car (I lean to the love side).

    Like

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