Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's called a "trip" for a reason

A week in Buenos Aires feels like two with all that I've done. Before I arrived I knew that there was one district I wanted to visit above all others (no, not the red light district): San Telmo. It's the sort of artisans hub with many galleries, hippie jewelry, and vintage and antique shops, or as they so originally call them here, old things (cosas viejas). I spent a day walking around that area looking in some of the galleries and shops where there is some really unique art and clothing. I've really enjoyed observing the women's fashion here with its very loose, flowing lines and usually eccentric patterns or graphic designs. A common style for women is wearing pants that somewhat resemble, and please excuse the reference, MC Hammer's parachute pants, though not quite as extreme. They don't look as bad as you might imagine, however, and after buying a pair for the hell of it I found them very comfortable. I also spent Sunday in the same area where the biggest and best street market in the city is found. The main street is blocked off from cars so that hippies, designers, artists, and street performers who come from all over can sell their merchandise and their talents.

I went to the MALBA last week as well, which is the Museum of Latinamericano Art in Buenos Aires, and that was quite a treat. The work ranged from film to painting to sculpture and mixed media and most of it was done in the past century, so it was anything but boring. My favorite piece was a sculpture designed exclusively for the space meaning it would have to be completely modified if there were any hoping of moving it. It was a set of wooden benches on multiple floors whose ends extended into vines that wound up multiple floors into other benches. The craftsmanship was really quite incredible, if you want to see it you can look on http://www.malba.org.ar/web/home.php and you'll see it on the right side of the page.

I spent another couple of days doing something I never would have done had I not gone with other people: walking tours. Ugh, they just sound horrible. I don't like tours. I'd much rather discover things on my own, but since they were free I decided to submit myself to them. And they weren't too bad. We walked from the Congreso to the Casa Rosada where Eva Perone aka Madonna gave her famous speech to the people. Our 27-year-old Argentinian male tour guide was very informative, funny, and not bad to look at, all good qualities to have for three hours of walking.

Everything at night doesn't start til around 1AM and usually goes til 6 or 7AM, so that's what I mean by one week feeling like two. The hours that I would have spent sleeping were instead spent at various clubs dancing and jumping around. I've had more good luck with meeting really fun people at this hostel I'm staying at, so each night has presented new kinds of entertainment. One English guy here is in love with Salsa dancing, so even when there is techno or hip hop on he'll grab one of the girls and just start swinging her around with the moves he's learned in only a few weeks. He's actually quite good, and has been complimented by various locals.

Last night we went to a drum show called La Bumba where there were about 20 different percussion instruments and musicians standing in a choir-like form playing such good beats that it was impossible to stand still. The audience was mostly tourists, but it was a show not to be missed. Beers were huge and the air was filled with smoke, giving the city a run for its name.

Tomorrow is my birthday and there are quite a bit of people rallying around it which is really nice, especially being away from home. Not too sure what we're doing yet, but it's sure to last into the wee hours of the morning. Tonight I'm going Tango dancing where I'm bound to make a fool of myself, but I vowed I would try so I'll plunge headfirst into that embarrassment. One valuable thing I've learned from this trip is that it's inevitable that I'll make so many mistakes and look entirely stupid at times, but it's only temporary and I just have to get over it as best I can. I gotta take it in stride, roll with it, and hope that I'll come out with a lesson or at least have a good laugh in the process!

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