Cafe 409

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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Café 409 is a creation of Masters residence and the people who live there. It’s an impromptu café where people gather to work and discuss mini-life crises’ along with the latest in love affairs. It came out of a necessity for a safe haven to gather and talk in the later hours of the night. It’s free to stay but BYOFD (bring your own food and drink). The discussions are intense as well as intriguing. Last night the train of thought went from what constitutes good pizza, to eggs, to hermaphrodites, to Jamie Lee Curtis, to Arnold Swartzenagger, to the Republican Government all over a beverage whose presence is faux pas. The cuisine is excellent, always a few choices of cheese, olives, crackers, and fruit… the traditional piquettes if you will. Incense is burned to clear our minds and the air. It makes the community feel surreal and gives boundaries within the commune of the residencia. It’s a place to write in a journal, maintain a blog, and dig a little deeper within yourself without loosing the comfortable feeling of being with others.

            A few weeks ago our program took a tour of the main highlights of Buenos Aires. We stopped by a very famous cafĂ©, Tortoni’s. It was the place that J.L.Borges and other poets, tango writers and musicians alike, authors, movie critics, and editors came to dive within themselves to dredge out their best work. The environment was aristocratic, deep mahogany, spiffy waiters, petit finger foods…including eggs, cheese, and olives. Although I didn’t feel comfortable and at home there, I could understand that if you took out all the tourist and the traffic noises from outside, it could be transformed into a place of enlightened men and deep thoughts.

            The other cafes that I have dinned at, most memorably Commidines, Martinez, Havannah, and a few around the residencia are identical in smells, choice, and comfort. Some have better wall paper than others but they all have sandwiches, pasta, coffee, and a great deal on medialunas. The chairs are wooden as are the tables, no table clothes, and a paper menu if you order a full meal. The waiters let you sit for however long you choose and you have to call them over to get la quanta when you are ready to leave. Smoking is allowed and outlets for you laptop are few and far between.

            Although I know some of the waiters by name, as I do stop in frequently, I haven’t found a commercial place where my muse resides. The only place where I feel comfortable enough, the only environment that is personal enough, but still has the grand benefits of company is cafĂ© 409.  Its form and fashion is local to Argentina, even though it can’t be found on a tour bus- yet.

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