Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Querido Buenos Aires

When all is said and done you cannot but love Buenos Aires. It is always easier to notice, talk and write about the faults as opposed to the fortunes of a city and here has certainly been no exception. Therefore the until now uncommunicated truth is that each day I find myself growing to love more and more the town they call Good Airs.

Naturally after over four weeks in this capital city I am still completely charmed by the local Porteños who accompany everything they do with a smiling "sorry, please and thank you". This spontaneous rapport that exists between strangers is a joy to watch each day and you quickly reassess your personal haste and habits when you see that everybody has the minute and penny to give to the unlucky. Naturally being Argentina, yet again this short act is also invariably carried out with that warming smile.

As you might guess the cafe culture is alive and well in Buenos Aires where the worn woooden interiors expertly kill the time of those present. On entering such establishments you invariably first hear and only then see a loud gathering of impeccably dressed male pensioners huddled around a table eloquently arguing about football, before moving on to the less serious matter of solving the world. So common and widespread are these reunions that I am becoming curious as what their notably absent female counterparts erstwhile get up to.

Thus far I have been to see two of Argentina´s most successful rock groups in concert. The energetic performance by Las Pelotas and acoustic gig by Los Divididos were excellent entertainment once you became accostumed to the insistence of the crowd to clap off beat. I also went along to these events with great enthusiasm in order to discover for myself what was this authentically Argentine "Pogo" which they all said I had never before seen. In the end it turned out to be nothing other than a timid version of the moshing that you can find any night of the week in Man Friday´s, Drogheda ! In each venue the door security was like that of an airport and on obtaining my ticket I read the usual conditions of over 18´s only and the more unexpected, "nobody under the age of seven". Such measures are in reaction to a recent Buenos Aires nightclub fire (Cromañon) in which 194 tragically died (including minors) in very similar circumstances to the Dublin "Stardust" tragedy.

Fro my personal point of view, the most enjoyable aspect to Buenos Aires is the people. This mat well be because I find them in personality very similar to the Irish especially in terms of humour, conversation and group dynamics between friends. I have been unsurprised for many of my acquaintances to have Italian, Spanish, German and Jewish grandparents. However I was until now unaware of the number of Syrians who immigrated here down through the years. This mix of races is notable on the street with that added drop of indigenous blood that almost 60 % of the population have. The girls live up to their fame of being ridiculously goodlooking yet dangerously jealous. They shy of wearing much make-up which is of course understandable once you witness their shiny clear complexions and "natural" beauty

As most of you know, Argentina recently lost in soccer 1- 0 to Paraguay. However the hurt of losing when they have already qualified for the next World Cup did was nothing compared to the joy of seeing the neighbour they despise, Chile, being trounced upon by a legendary Brazil.

Recommended cafe´s; Los Hermanos Cao, Calle Mateu 812, La Giralda, Ave corrientes 1453, Cafe Tortini, Ave. de Mayo 825/29, La Buena Medida, Calle Suarez 101, Arbos, federico Lacroze 3499.

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