A Day in Buenos Aires

March 18, 2018

A typical morning in Buenos Aires, for me anyway, will usually begin with a stop at the fruit stand…but, as the morning moves along, the stop for a cafecito is the plan.  As I think of it, when I am in the United States, it is customary to grab a coffee on the run.  When I am overseas, who ever heard of such a thing? What????  Coffee is the destination – it is an event in and of itself!  Whether with a friend or solo, “IT” is a moment to be cherished, and something I have come to embrace….

Thus, many a morning for me in BA, begins with my coffee.  This shop, Piazza** is located right across the park/monument area from the National Congress building.  When not heading in the direction of ‘La Biela’, Piazza is usually a stop for me – especially on a day of roaming.  It provides a great view of the area, an excellent place for people watching, and always the mental and spiritual room to reflect.

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This morning, I came across a quote by Carlos Gavito: “nobody can teach you the feeling…”…and it resonated with me…  It brought to mind so many of the things that we learn and do and mimic but never really get to fully embrace the natural feeling of because we get stuck in the surface of the perfunctory….

Whether it is through our striving for spirituality, religiosity, seeking the understanding of life’s questions…or simply trying to understand a language, art, music, a dance…or even travel…we attempt…but, can we feel it…and while we study and attempt to learn…nobody can teach us what to feel…for even with the same impetus, each of us may feel the same or something completely different…thus, a different expression in response comes out…

And, as I pondered and daydreamed on this mental journey, I saw this couple sitting in front of me.  First the newspaper, so many things are digital these days, it always catches my eye to actually see someone reading a physical newspaper.  But, the hand-holding, the gentleness, the tender expressions, their spiritual embrace that could actually be seen…what path did they travel to get to this point…was it just rainbow’s and bunnies? (doubt it)…was their joy, pain, forgiveness, mutual interest….were periods of lesser happiness given up to experience a greater happiness…yes, quite the pondering this morning….

This awareness has be looking back on my own life and reflecting on all the things and the events that transpired in a particular way that now has me sitting in an outdoor café, in Buenos Aires across from the national congress building on an absolutely lovely day soaking in the culture of international fare….pushing the internal doors that open to realize the superficiality of some of my own previous understandings….never-the-less, as the day moves on…I settle up…go inside, down the stairs to the bathroom to get ready to begin my walk… and lo and behold:

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sooooooooooooo……..all of that deep reflective thoughtfulness, soul searching, and deliberative attempts at increased awareness…well…PAUSE!!!!

I admit, that when I was younger, I had very little appreciation for art…Now…well…I absolutely love it…for many many reasons.  Somewhere in this world…there is a reason for this particular piece of art…there was a motivation, and intent, a purpose…if you look at the not so subtle and the very subtle details…there is so much coming out of this piece…and personally, I appreciate all of it…however, even my own eclectic nature has its limitations…I will have to appreciate this piece as a part of my memory…not as my current focus…hahaha…I will leave that to you…enjoy…whew….yes, you can thank me later…ok, back to me…

While I am not a Porteno, and don’t pretend to be one…I also do not feel like the regular tourist…more like a very comfortable foreigner.  When I come, people who work in various places or who stay nearby…give me greetings when they see me…they remember me…and admittedly that feels nice…especially in a place such as this….Buenos Aires is full of the ornate…however, it is the simplicity that is the most amazing to me…especially its relationship to the ornate…

It is amazing to me, how some of the coffee shops are just simple little places, and others carry the history of a museum.  Except, in fact, that the coffee shop is the substance of the museum.  Take for instance, Cafe de Angelitos on Rivadavia:

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This absolutely beautiful place – people – This is a coffee shop!!  Of course it has more than that, but yes…coffee…and walking by looking in the window…seeing the engagements, the sophistication, the culture…yes, coffee is an event!!  🙂

As the morning moves along, Buenos Aires is a wonderful place to be when you have absolutely no plans whatsoever…just roam…the architecture:

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If you time it right and are fortunate, you might just happen upon ‘una feria’ a street fair with some amazing items at amazing prices:

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And, I have to mention one of my favorite areas…a very long avenue, very wide, full of history, energy, life…any ideas? 🙂

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There are many places in this area where I spend significantly good time…while it may not be a mountain top, a brook, a beach, a temple, or one of the many sites that traditionally are talked about as being one of the great views or experiences of the world…in fact, move beyond the perfunctory…and it can be similar to those things…

To see people…what can be seen….and…

 

there is a meaning, like art though, we have our interpretations…that belong to ourselves…our feelings….now….this couple:

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I watched them for a bit…what is it…what are they doing…how did they get there…what did it take to get there….in actuality, they were quite captivating…talk about a spiritual embrace that made them stand apart…to the degree that as busy as this avenue can be….what seemed so simple about them, actually carries the answers to many an unanswered question…

Plenty of Art to be seen in the dynamic and captured moments of people, but if you are also interested in the more traditional type…then keep walking…you may come upon the National Museum of Beautiful Arts:

Traditionally captivating…many excellent pieces…the type of place where you can easily spend the entire day…look for the section that specifically focuses in on the history of the development of Buenos Aires and Argentina…it is more than worth the time…

To add, after a long day of strolling, observing, pondering….even better if you have a small earphone with some of the classics playing….you may come across another of the simply sophisticated wonders of Buenos Aires – Cafe Los Violetas:

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Yes, a cafe…are you starting to get the point about the cafe’s – SMILE!!!!

Like many other places, it isn’t possible to get the feeling of Buenos Aires from one trip…it is possible to become aware of the feeling…but, to understand it requires a guide.  Not, the tourist guide, but the guide.  Whether you are into Tango or not, there is this confluence that takes place that the term fusion doesn’t necessarily highlight the nuances that exist.  But, attach with the Portenos, and you will understand…you may end up at a place such as ‘La Hormiga’ or  ‘La Catedral: Social and Cultural Club’:

You might also find yourself, watching blues dancing, or listening to a contemporary band that has an orchestra nuevo type of feel:

Either way, you will give the standing ovation…and let me tell you something…this young lady…whatever stereotype her appearance may manifest, she is indeed a young Billy Holiday in Buenos Aires (I have the video to prove it) 🙂

As the evening closes out…you may still have the energy to keep going…maybe you will end up at Salon Canning, Gricel, Obelisco, or the Temple (El Beso)…but, maybe, just maybe….you may find a gem in San Telmo or La Boca…or….you may even find a surprise, along with a live Tango band, in ‘La Viruta’:

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I don’t pretend to know everything about Buenos Aires, in fact, I am simply sharing my experiences in that they may help someone else who is on a type of journey.  I started out further exploring my international interests, and that merged with an interest regarding Tango.  This interest in Tango inspired me to knock on the door of the cultural impetus of Tango…and more and more doors continue to open…to the degree that as these doors get explored…more and more friendships in all walks of life from all over the world continue to develop….and I’m referring to actual friendships…not ‘status-ships’….if you can tell, these explorations into the external create opportunities to better understand the internal…and vice-versa….something way beyond the perfunctory and reflective of the feel…I look forward to returning soon…in the mean time…

While these trips to Buenos Aires somewhat started as an exploration of Tango, the dance, all of these other experiences accumulated in my mind because as my friend Beatriz Dujovne (In Strangers’ Arms) writes,

“A fully lived Tango is all about the exaltation of a human connection at the primitive level of our senses, movements, and reflexes.  It sublimates our basest instincts, which actually interfere with dancing, and draws out our memories, histories, sentiments…”

Fully lived? Sublimates?….mannnnn…..puhlease…..we aren’t just talking about a dance…however, as I explore what fully lived actually means, as I better manage my ‘ensimismamiento’…and I move into its realization…maybe I will eventually learn how to dance Tango….

smiling….

Amigos, Hasta Pronto!!!!

 

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