Sunday, November 01, 2009

last tango in san telmo

Sundays in Buenos Aires would make one wonder whether all 3 million inhabitants are just figments of Argentine imagination; the city is silent, cafes are closed, even the usual rush of cars that defies lane-use and traffic laws seems to be mellowed out.

But if one were to wander into San Telmo, the artsy quarter just south of downtown, Buenos Aires would burst into life again. A vibrant street market is centered on the Plaza Dorrego and trickles out along the brick streets in all directions, winding its way through antique dealers leaning out of their stores, tango dancers who have taken over entire intersections, old men standing on boxes singing their bow-tied hearts out, Rastas selling pipes and dread beads, sheets covered with mate bombillas (some original, some with Homer Simpson's face... how that character became an international icon is totally beyond me), photographers selling prints and bedraggled moms selling the cheap plastic stuff you can find in any city in the world, tourists being loud, tourists being quiet, men pushing carts with popcorn kernels for a quarter, and the sex of Tanghetto pulsating throughout it all.

Buenos Aires comes here for Sunday, and if you don't follow suit, you'll have the whole city to yourself... but would you want it, without all of this?
"Quien quiere bailar?"

1 comment:

Kelly Anne said...

Are you serious about that "post-grad reading list" of yours? I understand I should be commenting on your more recent blog posts and all of your South American goodness, but after realizing that you are presumably serious about those books, I had to ask: Are you CRAZY?

Love from Seattle, Kelly

PS - I'm still waiting for Goodwill and Top Pot doughnuts.