Argentina 2010 Notes

12 July 2010

Having arrived and settled into my accommodation in Buenos Aires, I walked for 4 or 5 hours around the city. It is a massive city, quite built up and busy. However, the pedestrianised areas are nice, with little shops and traders. I managed to find an artist that paints tango dancers, so I bought a painting. Speaking of tango, I plan to go to a show on Saturday. This is, after all, the home of Argentinian tango.

Yesterday, of course, I watched the World Cup Final. In the end, I decided to watch it on a giant public screen in the city centre and, as expected, the atmosphere was fantastic. Most were Spanish supporters and I got some great photos of their flag-waving celebrations; even a guy in red tights! So now it is over for another 4 years. I am so proud that South Africa managed to pull it off with any major incidents or problems.

I discovered some great sculptures yesterday, including a massive flower, which is maybe 3 storeys high. I might try to sketch it sometime over the next 2 weeks. Even the hostel has some creative inspiration. There reception desk is made from a green scooter!

19 July 2010

I am having a latte before my tour bus of the city leaves in an hour. It’s been a busy few days with workshops and talks on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. One of the highlights outside of work has been visiting a place called Caminito. It was always a poor area, with houses mostly made of corrugated iron, near the city docks. Then about 10 years ago, some entrepreneurs decided to celebrate the diversity and lively culture of the place, so they opened restaurants and markets and played music on the streets.

Now it is a bit of a tourist destination but, like Camden in London, retains its vibrancy. The houses and restaurants are painted all different bright colours because originally people painted their houses with whatever paint was left over from painting the ships.

At one stage, the government wanted to build big walls to block off this emerging tourist spot from the surrounding poor houses, but one of the restaurant owners (of El Paraiso, which I’d definitely recommend for a meal) managed to stop them, saying it was part of the story and the charm. Besides, local artists could paint murals on the walls of the surrounding houses. It’s a great story of social enterprise and urban renewal.

I am on my way out to do an interview for a magazine, so I will end off here.

23 July 2010

This is my last night in Argentina. I am just back from a radio interview. I have had a great visit in Buenos Aires – busier than expected, but that’s a good thing.

There is a nice vibrancy about the city, especially in some of the restaurant hotspots. (Eeek! I just ordered ‘limonade’, which thought was lemonade and it turns out it is pure lemon juice!).

Anyway, as I was saying, I think B.A. is good for socialites and night life. I am a little sorry I couldn’t travel out of the city, either to Patagonia in the south, with its glaciers or the forests and waterfalls in the north.

What else can I tell you about Argentina? If it’s not red and bleeding, they don’t eat it! Not really a place for vegetarians.

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