First off. I am alive and well people. The Chilean earthquake passed without too much commotion over here. The news is in a tisic, but thats about it. I, personally, didn´t even feel a thing. Not surprising though, since I would sleep through a stampede (or my current roomate´s snoring, which is about the same decibel level).
Right. Got that out of the way. I bid you all a Buenos Dias from Buenos Aires! I´ve been settling in here nicely. The city is an amazing fusion of extremes, that when put together just seem to fit. The widest Avenidas ever, where when the light is in your favour you are best running across the 20 lane road, alongside some of the smallest cobbled streets wide enough for a tiny car... maybe.
Lets get some reference. I am in the southern end of downtown in the old part of BA called San Telmo where the buildings are older than anyone I currently know alive, and some are so ornate that at times I feel like I am in some European capital. Others are really small and simple, giving off that charming sort of thrd world vibe... and the two types are more likely that not found next to each other.
The people here are not at all the pompus ´porteños´I was led to believe. I have been told that is because I am in the cheaper, working class end of BA surrounded by travellers, but even on my sojourn to the ritsy bar and club district I didn´t notice any visceral animosity... so I don´t know what to think. Then again, I went to both these districts on a tight head, and ANYONE could have been my friend. (75 cents for a Litre of Beer is awesome). I will tell you something I have noticed about the residents of BA though. They have a bizzare talent for being constantly pious and simultaneously heavy partiers. Example: every Thursday, a group assembles on the Plaza de Mayo, consisting of about 50-60 old women. They march for half an hour, weeping and chanting for the government to release information concerning the disappearance of their family members, who disappeared some 50 years ago. Every thursday. Without fail. For 50 years. Then they hug each other and go to a cafe for a glass of wine and a chat.
Second Example: One of the city´s main attractions is Recoleta Cemetery, where the rich dead are buried in extremely ornate mausolems. I am told it costs more to be buried in Recoleta than to live in Buenos Aires.
The tombs are covered with marble statues and the insides are decorated with stain glass, for the dead to enjoy no doubt. A scenic afterlife.
Partying in this city is a trip in itself. ´Nowhere starts going before 3´ they say. And thats true. Friday I did the bar thing (the early portion of the evening--from 12 to 3--then on Saturday, with the assistance of some Dutch and American guys, trekked through the city until 8 in the morning looking for just the right club, Goldilocks style. We never found it since the third attempt was intercepted by some Argentine guy who heard us speaking English and invited us back to his place for drinks to talk politics and football. And from what I gather... thats a normal night out.
All things considered I am enjoying myself thoroughly. Soaking up the city and all it has to offer, whether that is trips to the markets on a Sunday morning to bump elbows with the throngs of tourists buying trinkets and sipping coffee at corner cafes, or drinking wine and beer in the evenings with tango dancers spinning around me. School starts today (my spanish courses). So that should keep me pretty busy over the next 2 weeks while I explore the city further.
Hope everyone is doing splendidly. Congrats on the gold Canada! I can imagine the chaos, and wish I could have seen the madness of Toronto last night!