Week 2: Reflections

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

 › entry 10 of 17 › view all entries

Carlos Fuentes wrote that “May is the ideal month to talk, to make oneself heard, to seduce and be seduced in Buenos Aires.”

 

And now that it’s June, looking at this city with the knowledge of departure, gazing through the window that is soon to be memory, I can see the subtle spell the streets of Buenos Aires have cast over me. I can feel her pull and taste her seduction. Buenos Aires is the long haired waiter with the muscular arms and graying hair dressed in his black apron standing behind his espresso bar staring at you while you drink your café; when you meet his eyes, the gaze is intensified not broken. Buenos Aires is the worn patch of grass between the palm tree and the broken lamp post where the winning goal in the World Cup is scored daily by a child. Buenos Aires is the warmth of Malbec enjoyed with the smoothness of jazz. Buenos Aires is a city of tin, cardboard, wood, and dogs shadowed by a city of stone façade, fur coats, and leather boots, separated only by train tracks. Buenos Aires is the question to an answer, working backwards to piece together the city that once was trying hard not to ignore the city that will be.

 

The city that is Buenos Aires is a puzzle, a patchwork quilt of which I am a piece. As I    sit on this balcony looking out to the balconies of other buildings, broken occasionally by browning sycamore trees leaves unwilling to let go from their branches still dancing in the wind… I am a part of a horizon that makes me feel small, isolated, and  simultaneously a piece of something much greater than myself. I am a part of the city as I breathe in the chilled air, absorb the morning sun, listen to the busses pass three stories below, squealing their rusted brakes to come to a stop at the CafĂ© on the corner where people sit reading the news, sipping cafĂ© con leche and eating lightly sweetened medialunes. Just around the corner from the cafĂ© a small fresh produce and meats store helps her women choose the perfect mandarinas and get the perfect cut of meat for her dinner tonight. A street away, an old couple wash and fold the clothing and laundry of others who entrust their most intimate apparel to the couple. Don’t bother bringing your own detergent, the man will tell you, for theirs is much better, it actually washes, not just “bubbles” the clothing.

 

This is the collage of Buenos Aires. This is the city that has enveloped me, held me, and let me move through her barrios as one of her own. This is the city I will remember. This is the city I will see through my window when the smell of wine or croissants brings me back to her streets.

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