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2003-06-26 - 11:44 p.m.

Down Argentine Way, Part I

Yes, I know Argentina isn't an island. I just liked the color blue.

Travel Time:
Washington D.C. to Miami = 3 hours
Miami to Buenos Aires = 8 hours

From my paper journal: I am in Buenos Aires, and the clock is ticking down my vacation even as I write. I like this town - in many ways, I feel I could be in Rome or Paris or London. This is so different from the South America I saw before - so much more cultured and civilized. People have dogs as pets here, whereas before they just wandered the streets, fur matted and always hungry.

This is the Recoleta Cemetary, in Buenos Aires. It's like a miniature city, with narrow roads and cherubs staring you down at every corner. I went on a gloomy day, as befits a cemetary, and wandered around by myself. Every so often, I'd get a glimpse of the real city, hovering at the edges, threatening to encroach on the cemetary's solitude.

Fallen Jesus, a victim of vandalism.

I couldn't help but think that my grandmother should have been buried in a place like this, with a huge tomb erected in her honor, tourists wandering past and peering into the tombs. But I don't think she would have appreciated all the Jesus imagery.

Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires. I wanted to see a show here, the ballet, or an opera perhaps, but I arrived during Semana Santa, Holy Week, and had to make due with a guided tour.

From my paper journal: I'm drinking coffee in the same cafe I went to yesterday, near the Teatro Colon, before the tour starts at 9 am. Yesterday, I was a curiosity, but today I feel more like an interloper; I don't think they get many tourists here. This bar feels like an old Buenos Aires institution - wide windows overlooking the plaza, wood paneling, framed pictures of opera singers behind the bar, an aging barkeeper, tango music playing on the loudspeakers. I'm transported back into time.

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