Buenos Aires Travel Blog› entry 35 of 86 › view all entries
My grandmothers house was in a world of it`s own, large with a an endless amount of rooms to play in. Some were scary, like the one my grandfather died in, it was always freezing- others were forbidden areas like my grandmthers. It's the room were everything evil was left outside and even better full of little boxes with powder, necklaces and old teeth. It was also the only place that could give me peace when i was 15 and a total insomniac. Grandmothers kitchen was always full of summery desserts to be eaten and the living room full of things only too look at. Upstairs was our world; old rooms with old toys. Old wardrobes -some full of beautifull ancient dresses and fur that we dressed up in till they fell appart and some full of mothbals, hats and miceholes. Outside forests streched full of fairies, elves and trolls. The feeling of something that magic can be hard to find when jobs and deadlines have crushed the last troll and the fairies are trapped umder stacks of beurocratic paperwork, but in Buenos Aires it can be found again. There´s endless rooms to roam in, magic C.S. Lewis doors to open and lots of different worlds to disappear into.
First i chose Recolletta: here there are golden foyers, pooches in Gucci and an art museum with Rembrandt and Picasso and edgy argentine modern artists. Whoever is in here will never be lost in history. Next door the quest for imortality continues in Recolettas city of dead. Heavy gates lead into a world were urnes and coffins are saved in house size shrines. Staircasses lead deep down into the ground to underground rooms past shelves and shelves of coffins. Here Eva Peron rests.
In microcentro the need for imortality stops as this part of town never sleeps. Huge treelined avenues form the bearing threads in a messy cobweb of oneway streets. Leave these and you're engulfed in a world were all your senses are attacked at once. The smells of roasted nuts, popcorn, dogpoo and dieselfumes compete for imediate attention with the deafening noise of too many people and the flashing lights of too many adverts. But behind the chaos silence can be found. Churces and monasteries have been swallowed by grand buildings and walking past small facades is like stepping into the silence before the storm: Grand halls with arched sealings high above open up. The sudden silence is bliss and looking at people in peacefull prayer i wish religion could do for me what it does for them. But the statues peer down at me with pitty and blame. Disobediance is sin here and sin is punishable beyond death. Unpeacefull as it is i believe i am in charge of my own sins. So as the statues roll their wodden eyes at me i reach for the door to take me somewhere else.
Huge theaters and old covered markets offer halls full of all sorts of art and creativity behind equally small entrances. I watched my first opera which amazed me, wandered through streetmarkets from a different era and forgot everything but now. This day Daren watched the football in the bonbonera. It looks nothing like a choklatebox but nevertheless the colourfull houses and shabby streets of this backwater area are their own live museum of Argentine passion fior football anf tango.
And then there was our area where the magic ends and people can only dream of houses like my grandmothers. We shared an old mansion with about 10 peruvian families. In the backyard, sourrounded by happy children we'd cook in a small shared kitchen. Here we learend about these families lives: Some have been here for over 6 years. Generally each family has one room for about 4 or 5 people. The rooms only have beds and a bit of plastic furniture. The fathers leave for work realy every moring in neatly handwashed clothes. their jobs are enough to by whats needed to prevent the families from becoming homeless but not enough to change living conditions. Outside in the evening the street becomes buisy as it seems to have been taken in use as an extended livingspace. Children play, teenagers hide from prying sibblings and adults dive out for air from the daily tasks. All are seeking space or looking for a magic door to appear somewhere...