Monday, November 26, 2007

Spring in Buenos Aires

Well, here I am.

Long-shadow evening light overlooking the Parque Lezama from David Miller's apartment in San Telmo, an old barrio here in Buenos Aires, the megalopolis of Argentina.

To my right, I can see the yellow and blue stadium where the legendary Boca Juniors football team plays (Fenway Park would be the American equivalent). To my left are modern glass highrises, beyond them, the Rio Plata river delta, wide as an inland sea.

This morning, driving into town from the airport, the taxi driver was whistling a tango and horses grazed in the shadow of dilapidated tenements.

David and I spent the afternoon walking around San Telmo and Centro, downtown, past all the old statues celebrating the Europeans who conquered this land in the name of Christ and Gold - the symbolism so stark, a man (Don Pedro, father of the city) with flowing hair and a black sword in front of a topless Indian woman, her arms thrown back in an attitude of surrender.

We walked around the Plaza del Mayo, where mothers of the disappeared gather to remember their sons and daughters, kidnapped and tortured by the military dictatorship not so long ago, their bodies often dumped from helicopters into the river, just over there, beyond the new luxury condos.

Buenos Aires is an ode to indecent grandeur, a burst of human creativity on epic scale that straddles the end of the world. Economic collapse is a recent memory; political repression and corruption are simply taken for granted here - but people go on with their lives, eating meat, drinking vino - teenage lovers in the park, lost in each other's arms.

"It's still America," says David. "America with the blood still fresh on the streets."

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Anonymous Tim U said...


You made it down there alright, good to know. Guess we never got a chance to do that double date before you left. Hope your thanksgiving was good before you left. Keep in touch man, hope you have a great time!

9:58 AM  

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