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Paean of Buenos Aires

Pasco y Moreno

Esq. Pasco y Moreno

The sound of English is loathsome. The syllables of the guttural tongue scratch my eardrums like cat claws. New York City is surprisingly clean and mature leafy trees shade the small streets of the Upper East Side which are filled with rich young mothers out for a stroll with their babies and handsome spouses. The ghost of the old New York with its pimps, hookers, loiterers, and young toughs has been exorcised completely. It is a delightfully safe place, free of those annoying attributes that give a place character.

Apartment in Buenos Aires

Our apartment

Buenos Aires is loud and dirty. Grand old buildings, refugees from another era, wait patiently when their time will come again. And it will come, because it would be an unthinkable tragedy otherwise. Our building was modest, covered with graffiti, and had enough people who cared about it to keep decay at bay. The ground floor apartment housed a Peronist, who at times could be seen in unholy communion with the other Peronist from the 2nd floor. The parilla-with-no-name at the corner of Pasco and Moreno was where we ate perfectly cooked Argentine steaks along with house painters with spattered clothing. A few steps away was the Libonati’s neatly ordered wine shop where each purchase came with a healthy dose of conversation.

The new New York is a little alienating to me, as I am a creature of the old New York. Not having seen its evolution firsthand, the changes are rather disconcerting. I had a chance to speak to one of the urban planners responsible for the transformation. “I find the changes in Times Square grotesque. I would rather have the old one back with its hookers and drug dealers”, I said. She agreed that her department was unhappy with the way the whole project turned out. “We wanted the porn shops and drug dealers out, but we are disappointed with the results.”, she told me.

Umbrellas, Buenos Aires

On the sidewalk

In Buenos Aires you always have to be careful not to step in dog shit, which, despite pooper scooper laws dots the sidewalks like miniature biological IEDs. Service in the cafes is slow, forcing you to take in the faded grandeur around you, and life is measured out in coffee spoons and long aimless conversation. For the past eighteen months I have been a creature of the road, covered with grime and dressed in faded clothes. In Buenos Aires I fit in perfectly, but is there room in the US for such as I? In the bright lights of the malls and the mountains of produce at CostCo I feel very small, unneeded and lost.

2 Responses to “Paean of Buenos Aires”

  1. Jerzy says:

    and now, where to next?

  2. Neena says:

    Hi Jerzy!
    Well we have a plan of driving around India…we will see what the future brings. Meanwhile we will be in San Francisco for a while…

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