My last ten days in Buenos Aires, or Good Sheep, as Stevo perversely persists in calling it. My love affair with the city is, if not over, a matter of taking a step back from the beloved and gazing at her with the rose tinted spectacles tossed to the ground. I finally see her, warts and all, and need to be away for a protracted amount of time to decide if we are really meant to be.
On the one hand, I see the appalling poverty that is ignored and/or resented by the well-heeled, the pointless, grinding, soul-destroying bureacracy, the intolerance for those who don’t fit into society’s mold, the political corruption, the ghastly business practices, the spiralling inflation (30% last year and still going) and the soaring crime rate that invariably accompanies such things.
On the other, however, Argentines (and I’m including Porteños – natives of BA – in here) are on the whole generous, curious, creative, courteous, good-looking (hehe), fun-loving, family-centred, loyal, and the most likeable bunch of people I have ever met. And I’ve met a lot of folks. I could back up every one of those adjectives with at least ten examples (and maybe shall some other time if you allow me to ramble drunkenly at you in the bar).
They’re into LIFE with a capital everything. Tango – and where would BA be without its theme music? – wears its heart on its sleeve and is witty and sexy, and damn, I wish I could dance it. In fact, Argentines simply have music embedded in their souls.
Their malbec has enslaved me and put me off any other varieties forever (ok, rhetorically). Their beef is so good that Graciela has had to forcibly prevent me from singing in our favourite restaurant in San Telmo when taking my first bite of a big, juicy, rare (damn, dribbling into keyboard now) steak.
I prefer Argentine Spanish and lunfardo slang over all other varieties. Show me another country who, when deciding what to swear about, opts for a parrot?! I love the Springtime here, when the jacaranda trees are in flower everywhere and your blood turns to fire in your veins and you dance down the street rather than walk. I love my wonderful, funny friends here.
Oh, and I go weak at the knees for bbq-ed pizza.
Guess what am saying is that I do still love the place, I had hoped I was going to live here forever and build a business and a life and what have you, but this time round it hasn’t worked and it’s time to cut losses and get out before the love affair sours. Maybe some places are better to visit than to live…