Another Buenos Aires Morning for Me

Trip Start Jun 16, 2006
1
6
23
Trip End Aug 15, 2006


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Flag of Argentina  ,
Sunday, July 2, 2006

I`m tired and I have to sleep in late because I stayed up too late drinking beer. If Rio de Janeiro is San Francisco on steroids, then Buenos Aires is a rock concert that smacks you straight in the jaw. Everything is hectic here. Everything runs at 100 miles an hour. It is a wonder how the Argentines function on such little sleep.

Martin and I are driving 60 miles per hour through the city, and he is weaving in and out of traffic. We´re on our way to a party, and he´s blasting reggaeton and hip hop out the windows. Everybody drives this way. It`s as if hundreds of marbles are bouncing about at different angles and directions. And the marbles are cars. Luckily, the cars don`t run into one another, even though physics and conventional wisdom would demand that they do. Skyscrapers and billboards (telling you to buy the next great product or look like the great next supermodel whiz by), framing the night sky.

We end up at a party at a friend´s house in San Isidro, a wealthy neighborhood on the northside of town. It is a birthday party. We eat hamburgers and drink wine and beer. I see some familiar faces and I say hi and catch up on people´s lives. But we´re their only until 3:30, which is early by Bs.As. standards. Some people stay and some people go. Nobody can figure out what to do. We keep repeating that we want to do something, but yet we remain and smoke cigarettes and drink. No bar or nightclub is on the agenda for tonight. The Argentines are in a somber mood from the loss at the World Cup.

A pretty brunette yawns and says she wants to go dancing. Instead, the boys stay and argue for 2 hours about football. They argue about the other match-ups, the substitutions the coach should have made, and the glorious teams of antiquity. Martin and I get in the car and head back to Belgrano, calling it an evening. He has to get up at 10 tomorrow to study. He`s getting his Masters in economics with an emphasis in international economy. Those that stay look exhausted, but maybe they make it to a nightclub. I wouldn`t put it past ther endurance.

So today I show up late to San Telmo. I walk the cobbled streets in the late afternoon and watch the perfomers: the folk singers, the tango artists, the Carlos Gardel (famous tango man) look-alikes, the puppeteers, the statesque people who move funny (those still people you can see in Vegas). I watch the crumbling facade of San Telmo´s colonial architecture. The 18th and 19th centuries decay before your eyes.

Meanwhile, merchants peddle antiques such as knives, mate (tea) sets, old soda bottles, nostalgic posters and artisan crafts (necklaces and bracelets). I buy nothing because I`ve already done this. I´m only here for the ambience. I`m waiting to see what Ecuador and Peru have for sale.
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