Chicos…so sorry for my delayed posting but as the trip winds down I’m finding it difficult to muster energy to blog. En realidad, it’s amazing I made it this long before losing steam so I hope everyone will bear with me as I try to get things wrapped up. I’ve really been enjoying my relaxing time here in BsAs and have even enjoyed my Spanish classes…in part because of some really great teachers but also because I was put in a group with Jesse, a fellow midwesterner from Michigan, who was a really fun guy to have class with. Lucky for us all, Jesse will be making a special guest star appearance next weekend when a group of us (including everyone’s favorite Englishman James) all head to Iguazu Falls for the Easter weekend so stay tuned for that. Also, now may be a good time to confess that I don’t think I’ll be making it to Uruguay this trip despite the fact that it’s a mere hour by boat across the river. Unfortunately I didn’t plan my weekends well and have now run out of time to make the cost of the boat trip worth it. By all accounts the places I was planning to go in BsAs are missable so I don’t think the Extravaganza will be ruined by my oversight. Well, I hope not anyway.
Perros waiting for their walker to pick up another friend
Look…these doggies all match!
Ok, back to the blog. I must warn you all right off the bat that this post is probably not going to be all that coherent and certainly will not contain a specific theme. As it turns out, I haven’t been doing too much lately that is blogworthy plus I have a couple of things I wanted to share with you all that don’t require a full post plus some random phots of BsAs so that is how we arrived at this hodgepodgy post.
These are pictures of the 2nd most beautiful bookstore in the world (after one in London) that is housed in an old theater on Avenida Santa Fe
By now you are probably all wondering what is the deal with the pictures of the packs of dogs with walkers. Well, I’ll tell you…I asked the very same thing upon arrival in BsAs as they are everywhere in the city…and especially the swanky neighborhood of Recoleta. Apparently the position of dog-walker is quite a good gig to have as it is comparatively well-paid and requires little continuous effort…only a committment to walk each dog twice a day every day. Among the wealthier set in BsAs it is prestigous to have your dog walked by someone else and indeed necessary as people work all day and live in apartments. The walkers pick up the dogs door-to-door at their houses, take them to the park to play around for a while and deliver them back to their apartments later. Typically the walkers have 8 to 10 dogs at a time and it’s amazing to see how well all of the various dogs of different breed, size and shape appear to get along. Indeed, if you are a dog, it must be more fun to hang out with other dogs than by yourself in your swanky apartment. Just thought you guys might be interested in some canine information…enjoy the photos.
Pictures from La Boca
Stacey and Wayne having a beer in La Boca
Next up in the hodgepodge…the BsAs neighborhood of La Boca. La Boca is best known for being the neighborhood where the famous South American football team the Boca Juniors resides. The Boca Juniors fans are a rowdy bunch and I have it on good account that the games are positively nuts and the fans wildly devoted. In addition to this infamy, La Boca is also known for being the roughest and poorest neighborhood in central Buenos Aires despite the fact that its main drag is also a major tourist attraction. In the main street of El Caminito you’ll find lots of brightly painted buildings that seem to be a cross between the French Quarter in New Orleans and Valparaiso, Chile with all of its brightly painted buildings.
A rundown section of La Boca…
…in comparison to the gussied up tourist section
In the 19th century this area was the settlement of genoese (Italian descent) sailors and port workers who founded a friendly society structure that originated poets, musicians and plastic artists. As I mentioned, this barrio is best known for its football team, Boca Juniors, for whom the legendary Diego Maradona played, but also for its multi-coloured wooden and corrugated iron houses. The houses were built and painted by the resident dock-workers, of mainly Italian descent, who used leftover materials and paint from the ships. The most famous street, Calle Caminito, possesses the best of the painted houses and is where artists, street performers and tango dancers congregate daily. Tango was developed in this neighbourhood and, in the 1920s, children from wealthy families would come here to dance the dance banned elsewhere in Buenos Aires.
Making empanadas at school on my last day
And speaking of tango…I had seen a bit of it in the streets and in some touristy areas but finally decided to venture out with my English friend Wayne to see an actual show. Most will agree the shows are all pretty touristy but the dancing is of high quality and very entertaining. We opted to go to the show in the famous Cafe Tortoni which was a haven in years past for famous Argentinian and European writers. Unfortunately none of my pictures from the show turned out so I’m snaking these from other places so you can get an idea of what things look like. I really, really enjoyed the show and was a little surprised at the fact that I found myself completely mesmerized by the story and the dancing and all too soon it was over.
There is much debate over the origin of the tango though it is largely agreed upon that it started out in the late 1800s in the bars and brothels of Buenos Aires as a dance between men while they waited for their prostitutes. The dance was considered to be quite scandalous for those times as it requires very intimate contact and the music has a very sensual quality to it. Up until the 1920s it was largely danced in secret as it was looked down upon by many…until the Parisians took a liking to it and popularity of the tango soared and spread world-wide. Los porteños have always emulated what was done in Paris whether it was architecture, fashion or trends in dancing. Regardless of the origin and its touristy quality, a tango show is an absolute must when in Buenos Aires.
OK, that’s it for now. I’ve got lots of things coming up that will hopefully inspire me to blog some more. Of all bizarre things to do I’m off to a Bob Dylan concert tomorrow night with friends from my school. Nos vemos chicos!
Tags: 11 - Argentina, Buenos Aires dog walkers, Cafe Tortoni, El Caminito, La Boca, tango