Tomorrow it will be two weeks that I have been in BsAs and I’ve only taken two tango classes. It’s not why I came here, but I keep meeting people with a tango mission, who try to master it every single night. The challenge interests me, particularly when it involves creating something beautiful, which tango tragically is, but my patience can only handle it in small, well-spaced doses.
Madagascar jasmin. Looking out from Parque Lezama after a torrential downpour. Barracas.
Why did I come to Buenos Aires?
That is what people keep asking, so I’ll try to answer. I can be vague and say a number of factors and people entered my life a while back that, when all put together led me to a city in South America I hadn’t considered living in before. But I also needed to get out of Paris for a while, find new subjects, add some new colors to my palette and open up my senses to the Spanish-speaking world. And in Paris, Argentina was in the air everywhere I turned. Si si, c’est vrai.
Church squeezed and shadowed. Tiles in San Telmo.
So I’m here.
The shock of the first week is over.
I’m eating empanadas daily. It’s like the crepe: ubiquitous and cheap.
Practically everyone I meet is a talented artist.
I’m living in a semi-industrial and economically-challenged neighborhood. It’s relatively safe, but you have to be very careful at night. While it’s at the southern edge of the city, where I might expect a sort of peace, it is the noisiest place I have ever lived.
El sol, direct and indirect
From the red-tiled garden, under sun filtered by grape vines, I hear :
The elevated train passing every two minutes, which I no longer mistake for a coming thunderstorm.
The man who drives his pick-up truck up and down the block with a grainy megaphone announcing “naranjas, uno kilo cinco pesos!”
A faceless person who blows a rhythmic whistle every morning, bright and early. Why?
The occasional low-flying helicopter.
Heavy trucks and buses bouncing regularly and violently on the broken pavement, making enough noise to put a pause into a conversation.
And… the occasional mini neighborhood batucada on the corner, which is always welcome.
Arriving in Buenos Aires from Paris is like going from noir et blanc to Technicolor, in sound and sight.
Architecture and the watcher of the bridge in Puerto Madero.
PS. As I write, I have been bitten at least 4 times by mosquitoes despite the OFF! I’m slathered in, the next-door poodle is barking at the Dalmatian that hangs out all day in his barred window and Vicentico is singing to a fast rhythm on the radio.
And a sculptor friend in Paris just wrote to say, “I hope you know what you’re doing. Times are difficult. I have no money to make sculptures so I’m taking photos.” Ahem, my response was more aggressive than I usually am, and is a blog entry for another day.