Published: March 17th 2006March 16th 2006
Av Angel Gallardo
View from my homestay's balcony
A month can go so fast, especially when it's the first month you've ever lived outside of your home town and especially when you choose to spend it in Buenos Aires. it takes a while to adjust but, as with everything in life, if you look at the so-called bad things from a certain point of view then you start to realise that they aren't bad, they're just different to what you're used to. All you have to do is remember that it's you that is different from the norm, not that IT is alien to you.
So, what did I find to be different. well, Jugglers and not windscreen washers (although they were seen) at traffic lights made a change; Instead of a soapy sponge being slapped on the glass in front of your face you could find a ball or a baton bouncing off it instead! The buskers on the Subte were as entertasining as they are on any underground train...... Sometimes. We had Guitars (Spanish, of course), Panpipes (not the last I'll hear on this leg of the trip, for sure) and Acourdians (due to the passion for Tango in these parts which I'm afraid I don't
share but, do admire). However, the most engaging show I saw was by a troup of three actors that performed a short story on Linea D one day. It was so convincing a portrayal of a screaming argument that at one stage I was going to intervene. This would have been foolish to say the least as I didn't have a clue what was being said (glad to see the money on the Spanish lessons was well spent, then!). In my defence, I had entered the scene after it had started and so, could be excused for thinking it was real. I was relieved when the performance ended abruptly and the carriage burst in to raptuous applause.
Traffic, and it's affects on me, were different too. Living on Avenieda Angel Gallardo was noisy to the extreme. I don't care if the song calls it the city that never sleeps or that I've never been there but, I'm telling you, New York will have to go a long way to beat BA for traffic all through the night!! Ear plugs are a god-send here. On the up-side of this issue, you don't complain when you fall out of a club
at 4, 5,6, 7am (take your pick) and get straight into a cab that takes you through still crowded streets for less than your lunch bill. That's another plus for us visitors- the costs or rather the lack, thereof. All transport was cheap, as is bound to be the case in a country that has suffered economic meltdown as recently as Argentina has, but the trains were just stupid! We paid around 20p for a fifty minute journey- beat that Mr branson (if you haven't sold Virgin trains yet)?
One of the best things about BA though, is the games you can play while you live there. Can you adjust your lifestyle, and bodyclock, to that of the Porteños (the natives)? Taking siestas and living two short days instead of one long one, eating after what is normally bed time at home (mine anyway) and then, going out to party between two and four- and all on a school night too!! Can you fit yourself in to a Subte carriage or on to a bus when it has just arrived, the doors have opened and people have fallen out? And, my personal favourite; Can you avoid stepping in the copious amounts of, sometimes, cunningly disguised lumps of dog crap that litter the sidewalks? I am particularly proud of my skill at this discipline. Not once, during my entire time pounding the streets of BA did I do the famous squish, slide and swear dance that is so commonly performed there. I did, however, manage to get dripped on at least ten times a day from watered plants on the balconies above or from faulty air-con units. You can't have it all, I suppose!
Besides the games, the most enjoyable part of BA is the people. Those I met that live there and those that, like me, were priviliged to be experiencing such a great city for a short period of time. To each and every one of you I say; Vos sos amable y simpatica, muchas gracias mis amigos!