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Day 24-25 "Good Airs"

sunny 33 °C

Upon arrival to Buenos Aires, we saw a bunch of very familiar looking unfamiliar faces, whose Mediterranean features are unique on this continent, whose European attitudes make them, well, very European-like.

We took the suburban train to Palermo, on familiar looking crammed cars that don't have closing doors, where you risk pulling somebody off with you on a sharp turn if you happen to be holding on to your money in your pocket instead of the grab bar.
Walked the streets of Palermo Soho, where sidewalks are uneven, cracked, littered, but packed nevertheless. Folk minding their own business in numerous mom and pop confectionary stores and in old obscure passage gallerias, reminiscent of commerce oriented small local business times of the past.
Dodged erratic traffic on narrow tree lined streets of Palermo, and around parks of Recoleta flanked by wide boulevards. Traffic lights are mere urban furniture when the pedestrians and drivers take the initiative to determine the right time to cross, or right of way is what you make of it.

Argentine rock blasting out of a taxi; Grace Jones on air at the Chinese run grocery store, rock show ads plastered on street walls; music definitely has a special place in people.

On pedestrianized Florida Avenue shopping strip got introduced to the local "blue" dollar, the unofficial, and supposedly illegal street exchange rate for the pesos. Young Argentinian lads and lasses stand around all day on Florida, repeating the words "cambio-cambio-cambio" non stop, trying to attract tourists and non-tourists for a blue rate that's roughly 30% higher than what the government wishes.
Satisfying and economic "Ejecutivo" steak, fish or chicken set meals from the parilla barbeque are abundant at mostly classic restaurants, for those who wish to spend their cash wisely that is, otherwise one risks the inevitable credit card "surcharge"at non-blue dollar rate.

Startled by the random fireworks and drum rolls on streets; apparent signs of a football game happening that day. On match days, hoards of fans in their one of a kind jerseys might just stop in a random corner of a street or in a train station or wherever, and start rehearsing match time songs, chants and music. After a five minute ruckus, they would turn around and head towards the stadium again.

Tango whether on the streets or in theaters, is the symbol of passion for life in daily life. Elegant grace and unconscious sadness it embodies, are true life substance the daily life thrives on, despite all the misfortunate results it yields upon its people. It is seems as it is synonymous with the porteno (people of the port) outlook on life.
In the meantime, at Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, apparently "The man with an axe and other brief situations" had started it all. The axer is solely responsible for the array of concurrent life stories mixed up and shaken, cracked, broken, dumped out, faded away, then forgotten, and then remembered, vaguely, but all somehow tied up together by a simple thread. Passion for life thrives on this chaos created by the convergence of numerous phenomena in this city.

"The man with an axe and other brief situations" by Liliana Porter at MALBA:

Posted by ayca ozer 07:24 Archived in Argentina Tagged music rock tango buenos aires palermo recoleta axe porter grace jones malba puerteno liliana

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