Thursday, February 25, 2010

Singin' in the Rain in Buenos Aires

Thursday and Friday were working days for Linda, and thus play days for me.

I went to the gym on Thursday morning to work off some of the good food I've been eating. Afterwards, I stopped in a local cafe and ice cream parlot for lunch.

I ordered what I thought was a sandwich and a glass of water (very healthy). The water came, along with the smallest sandwich I had ever seen (a micro-sandwich).

I ate it, and was still hungry, of course. So, this being Buenos Aires, I ordered an ice cream cone for dessert. (coconut with dulce de leche)

I started eating it when, lo and behold, a large tart came out of the kitchen for me.

Turns out that the sandwich was just something free to tide me over until the tart arrived. So there I was with the ice cream and the tart!

Later that day I went out to find some coffee for the apartment. I didn't like the coffee that we bought in a grocery store, so I asked in a cafe where to buy coffee. The owner told me he normally doesn't sell his coffee, but insisted on giving me a free cup of coffee and selling me about a half pound of delicious coffee. While sitting in the cafe, I started talking to an interesting woman who told me about how difficult her life had been living in Buenos Aires. I got the feeling that, before the devaluation (2002?), her life had been pretty good, and afterwards she may have lost her middle class lifestyle. The cafe was in Belgrano (our neighborhood), but she told me that although she couldn't afford to live in such a nice neighborhood, but enjoyed having coffee there. I took the following picture of her, which she didn't like, and she asked that a take a second one with a smile. As I left, we exchanged business cards. Hola, Sra. Delia E. Bareno.Mucho gusto conocervos.

On Friday, I met Linda at her studio for lunch. As I walked down our street, out of the corner of my eye I saw something familiar in the window of a glass and mirror store that I had passed a dozen times.
 I went back and looked, and saw this familiar poster...funny.

Then I passed a lovely open doorway....

with a lovely entrance to the building...

On closer inspection, it appeared to be a shabby hotel, that probably rents rooms by the hour...apparently very popular in BA. The hotel was definitely NOT listed in any guidebooks or on the internet!

Continuing on towards the studio, I saw some men unloading a truck by tossing the boxes from one to the other. Fortunately, it was only toilet paper!

When I arrived at the studio, Linda and her mates were finishing something before lunch (the high point of their day!).

Now for lunch!

They eat like this every day, according to Linda.

Adrianna suggested I visit a photography museum down the street. On the way there I passed this amusing store that sold percussion instruments.

and then an odd store that sold only cooking oil of all types...Aceites 4.4.4. Go figure!

From across the street, I eyed the photo museum.
 It's a mannequin...

Inside were mainly exhibits of old cameras and photo equipment, and a few photographs. All the cafe tables were glass topped with photo equipment inside. Clever.

Of course, I had to have a beer. As always in BA, it was served with something else, in this case some chips, cheeze things and nuts. Note the beer - Quilmes - which is the predominant local brewery.

Next stop was the Chacarita Cemetery, which I thought might be interesting on a dreary day. I wandered around, trying to find the entrance to this giant cemetary. I encountered these children playing alone.

 Then a place alongside the cemetery wall where someone (not present) seemed to be living.

and then finally the grand entrance to the cemetery.

It was getting darker and darker. Rain threatened. A good time for taking pictures in a cemetery?
I passed some workmen carrying a ladder. What were they doing?

I figured it out. With so many people buried in each tomb, there were deep caverns below each one, such as shown below.

I thought about how all cemeteries were similar, in that they ultimately sold real estate. There were small, medium, large and monumental edifices, all presumably for different prices. I walked around and took pictures for a long time.

As I left and waited for the bus, it started to rain, and, as luck would have it, I had no raincoat or umbrella. I got out near the apartment, ducked into the Cafe Ritz, and ordered a coffee and a alfomja (wafer), covered with  chocolate and with dulce de leche inside! Yummy. Also included (as always) were some delicious cookies.

Over an hour later, I was still cooling my heels, waiting for the rain to let up. It didn't seem likely, so finally, I ran home and got soaked in the process. Linda arrived shortly thereafter, also dripping wet. We laughed a lot, and stayed home that night, while it continued pouring.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

today it´s a beautiful day, isn´t it?
"Muchas gracias" for your comments and my two pictures (with and without smile).
I live in front of the Abasto Shopping that you visited later that day.
I really enjoy your daily meal presentations. You should try something more popular like MATE Y BISCOCHITOS (only available at Argentinian homes).
My daughter & I laughted a lot with your "tarta de jamón y queso" y "helado de coco y dulce de leche" experience!!!!!
You and your friends should know that I dance TANGO in genuine MILONGAS PORTEÑAS at least 2 o 3 times a week and also, to increase my middle class income I accept guests and tango dancers from abroad at my place in Abasto or at my studio in Belgrano.
Keep in touch.