Saturday, April 5, 2008

Parting Words from Buenos Aires

My brazilian friends: Edson, Carolina, Ariadine, Thais, Marina, and Louis I received my new VISA card yesterday—hallelujah!!! I went to the bank this morning, got a crapload of cash, paid back four students and one teacher who had loaned me money, ate lunch—twice—bought a new shoulder bag to tide me over until I can replace my photo backpack, packed my backpack, and came to the bus terminal in a taxi.

Let me take a slight detour before continuing. The taxi drivers in Buenos Aires—of which there area whopping 40,000—are great. I've taken probably a dozen of them and they were all nice and charged a fair price. When in doubt in Buenos Aires—regarding safety or how to get to your desired destination—take a taxi. They're cheap. You're even bound to get a little tour of the city. A few drivers have been kind enough to point out highlights as we drove by. It's also an opportunity to practice your Spanish.

A window washer I came to the bus terminal yesterday to get a replacement ticket and returned today as instructed by the guy at CATI international, the bus company I'll be taking to Santiago, Chile. He told me to come back with a copy of the police report and I'd get a spot on today's bus to Santiago. I gave him a copy of the police report and two pesos and he gave me a new ticket. The question is did I get the same kind of seat I paid for—a full blown fold down seat that becomes a bed? They're giving me a free ticket replacement, so I'm not about to ask. I'll find out as soon as I locate seat number twenty-nine.

This bus goes straight through to Santiago. I think it's about a twenty-one-hour trip. These buses are sweet, though, so I won't sweat the long ride. The but trip from Rio to Iguazu Falls was similar in length, so I know I can tolerate it.

The Tango Show at Café Tortoni There are a couple more random subjects I'll address in this final blog post from BA.

I may as well start with the one that is forefront in my mind right now and that is the lady sitting about sixty feet from me with one of her rather large boobs hanging out of the front of her shirt and on which her little girl is sucking. Only a few minutes ago, the daughter was feeding from the other one, which must have run dry, since the mom tucked it away and whipped out the current one. I'm planning on filing an indecent exposure lawsuit. Okay, I'm not really that bothered. That definitely wouldn't fly in the States (Reminds me of the episode of The Office in which Creed takes a photo of the mother [a temporary character whose name I can't remember] while she was breast feeding in the office and sets it as his wallpaper on his PC. When another guy in the office expresses admiration for the shot, he simply says he was in the right place at the right time.) The daughter looks satisfied.

The Tango Show at Café Tortoni Next, I just wanted to mention that if you're visiting BA and need to make a phone call or check your e-mail, there are Internet kiosks all over the place—multiple per block, in some cases. You simply walk in, ask for a computer or phone, they tell you what number to use, you make the call or use the computer, walk back to the desk, and they tell you what you owe. If you need to dial the States, just dial 001 then the number (xxx-xxx-xxxx). Very easy.

Went to a Tango show last night with Thais. There's a place just a block-and-a-half from Avenue Hostel called Café Tortoni. Fifty pesos for a show from 11:00 P.M. to midnight. It was great. Recommended.

Also, last Friday, several students, Lucía (one of the teachers), and I went to a milonga—a Tango bar. Apparently, it's a pretty famous one. It was definitely a hole-in-the-wall joint—a really amazing looking place inside. You would never know it was there unless you had the address and were looking for it. When we got The Tango Show at Café Tortonithere, there was a Tango class going on. Lucía taught each of us the basic Tango step (out in the hallway). That was fun. We never did take it on the dance floor, though. A small Tango band performed for a bit and we went home shortly after that, as it was probably past two in the morning by then. Unfortunately, the audio I recorded of the performance and the photos I took will probably never be heard or seen.

My final thoughts on Buenos Aires? They're mixed. I ended up being there for one month—about five days longer than I would've liked. I got robbed twice, the first time by a pickpocket, the second time by a much luckier thief. I did, however, make some good friends, both from abroad and locals. The city is vast and has lots to do and see. I would go back to see more and to visit old friends, but I would hopefully be wiser.

That's about all I have on my mind right now. I'll pack up my laptop, grab my bags, flip off a crook if I see one, and go out and wait for the bus to arrive. In a little over an hour, I should be on the road to a new country.


Anonymous said...

(Insert mental image here):
Index finger wagging foreward and backward

(Insert witty Nipponese saying here):
"Nakedness is often seen but never observed"

(Insert "High Road" moral thought here):
The world is too cosmopolitan and we're all too much a part of a world-wide cosmopolitan society for somebody to notice that a natural function of childhood is happening 60 feet away from you...

(Insert "Low Road" moral thought here):
Dude, what are you watching a woman in that situation for?!? After all, you're in a cultrue where that's normal, although you're seeing the situation and finding it abnormal enough to comment on.

(Insert "Honest Reaction" thought here):
I saw the same kind of thing in a church on the north shore at Haiku, and found it difficult to ignore, but that's just the beach culture at work (or maybe the mother was so counter-culture that she was trying to make a political statement).


Jay said...


Out of that whole post, the only thing you commented on—a long reply, I might add—was the woman who was breastfeeding???

Yes. Even though she was 60 feet away, I noticed. I did say she was well endowed.

Yes. It's normal in this culture. The key point is that this isn't my culture, so it's not normal to me.

Besides, she wasn't exactly an ugly woman.

Besides, I'm a normal man.

Besides, it's an interesting thing to read about. At least you found it interesting!


Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the Warner Brothers cartoon (Duck Dodgers in the Twenty-Fourth-and-a-half Century) where Daffy fires off a bullet at Marvin Martian.

It comes to a stop about a foot from Marvin's face, opens up, and unrolls a banner that reads,

"Surrender, or be blown into 1,205,363,597 microcells."

Marvin fires back a bullet that halts about a foot from Daffy's face, opens up, and from within the larger bullet a smaller bullet blows Daffy's beak out of alignment.

Odd as it sounds, that's the situation we have here. So rather than debating who is right and who is wrong...

...I'll hope that you don't run into anymore problems like you had in Evita's hometown!