K & G in BA
The consistency of this blog, or rather lack there of, emulates life in Argentina and I do not doubt it shall continue. Sorry but that’s just how it is here.
I thoroughly enjoyed showing my parents around Buenos Aires and seeing them come to the roughly the same conclusions about the city as I did when I first arrived. The conclusions: It has no immediate appeal. Its’s big, very big. And because of this it’s difficult or requires a lot effort to do anything. And it’s tiring. But there are little gems to be found here and there if you can be arsed to go and look for them after work.
Ironically, like mine, the beginning of their stay was a bit of a disaster. George’s bag did not arrive in the airport with them and so after doing a few basic necessities on Sunday (trip to the supermarket, buying a sim card) we spent the first two days fretting about that. K and G were told the bag would arrive on Sunday evening but surprise surprise it didn’t. Instead the owner of their Airbnb, with whom the airport had contacted about the bag had told them not to worry it would be delivered on Monday before 6pm. Not convinced and not wanting to waste days waiting in the Airbnb we decided to try and get some more information on the whereabouts of the bag and a shorter time frame for delivery. K and G had also discovered that their address had been taken down incorrectly in the airport. Narrowing down the already slim chance that the bag would ever arrive.
It was the most stressful day off work I’ve ever had. The heat was a taste of what is to come in December/January, only then it will be hotter. It was about 32 degrees and combined with humidity of 80% it was oppressive and so was the lack of information provided to us. We rang various numbers that Iberia had given us but were sent around in circles, with some people saying we had the wrong number and others passing us another name and number to call. One of the numbers was the courier service the airport had said they were using to send the bags, when I rang them, various times, they claimed they did not work for the airport and nor were they a courier service. Me and George then went to the Iberia office where we were given another name and number to call and told that 63 bags from that flight had not arrived with the plane. Again dampening our hopes that the bag would arrive, so me and George went out again to buy him some more appropriate clothes and shoes for the heat. 6pm passed and still no bag, I left K and G to go to yoga and the bag was miraculously delivered and all our antics of trying to obtain more information seemed ridiculous, as if there had never been anything to worry about and the bag was always going to show up.
So after that we cracked on with the excellent itinerary prepared by moi that involved (in no particular order ) eating, puerto madero, congresso, jazz, San Telmo, jazz, eating, La Boca, jazz, tango, los bosques de palermo, mate, art museums, tango … you get the idea. All activities within a day were carefully selected so that they were within a reasonable distance of each other. I was working during the mornings and on a few of the days I left for work at 8am and didn’t get home until 2am and had to be up again at 7. It was a lot faster pace than I usually go at but it reflected my feeling of lack of free time to do much. While K and G were here my usual chores, such as shopping (which takes ages because the supermarket is huuge and everything takes ages here) and cooking were suspended — it was fab!
K and G’s visit purposely coincided with the jazz festival in Buenos Aires and we went to some of their ‘cruces’ or ‘crossings’. The idea behind this was that musicians from all over who had never played together before met that same day, practised a little before then show and then performed. All of the shows were saw were fantastic, I have never been to a jazz concert before and it was great to see the musicians thoroughly enjoying themselves and reacting to the music as if they were hearing something the audience couldn’t. These crossings really emphasised and took advantage of the fact that jazz is improvisation. As is Tango. As is language. As is life.
Having K and G here reassured me that I do know Buenos Aires pretty well and it was great to experience the city more as a tourist would. This is something that I haven’t really had a chance to do for various reasons. For one, when I arrived here I didn’t give myself completely free days to just be here, I arrived on a Sunday and on the Monday I started at the language school. And secondly, a lot of the people I have met and made friends with are people from Latin America, be it Argentina, Columbia, Venezuela. This means that many fo the activities I might normally suggest doing, that for me are not expensive, are out of their price range.
I’d say everything about their trip from the jazz festival information being released last minute, the luggage going missing, the unpredictable weather — while they were here it ranged from about 16–34 degrees during the day with varying humidity is reflective of the chaos, or lets say almost chaos, of life in Buenos Aires.