Prisons and Tango
Buenos Aires Travel Blog› entry 113 of 177 › view all entries
Only real sightseeing today was a visit to the Penitentiary Museum in San Telmo. This is supposed to be open most days from 2-6pm, but we´ve had a lot of trouble actually getting in, it has regularly been closed during the times it should be open. But lucky today! The building itself started life as a religious place in 1740 and was later a community centre, asylum for abandoned women and children, insane asylum, gunpowder store and finally a prison. The hall on the museum side of the courtyard is lined with gates, doors and windows from various prisons and we saw here some of the finest examples of Spanglish (the cousing of Chinglish!) we´ve ever seen. The side rooms were interesting, with rooms dedicated to prison guard uniforms, the pharmacy, prison furniture, mock-up cells and even the director is on display - his office is one of the side rooms and you can look in to watch him at ´work´.
Went over to Abasto today, the famous tango area. Saw the old Abasto Market - used to be the fruit and vegetable market and has now been restored and turned into a shopping centre. You can also visit a kosher McDonalds here, due to the Jewish community in the area. First stop was the Carlos Gardel House Museum, the house where he lived with his mother in his final years. You can see lots of personal items and information about his life and friends. Interesting that his only long-term love affair was with a girl he met when he was 30 and she was 14! The house also shows the kitchen and laundry as they were when Gardel lived there, and displays a copy of his last will in which he states that he was born in Toulouse, France (this seems to be in conflict with the birth certificate that Tacuarembo in Uruguay claim to have showing he was born there!).