2013-01-07 - 3:47 p.m.
all photos this page © 2013 by elaine radford
obelisk entrance to the presidential palace
I think I was a bit dulled by the turbulent ride and the motion sickness yesterday. How could I forget to mention the large group of Mexican people, all with large black velvet sombreros, complete with brilliant red pompoms, ahead of me in line at passport control? I'm not just guessing they were Mexican because of the sombreros. They were clutching their Mexican passports in their hot little hands. Do Mexicans really wear those things or are they members of the world's biggest mariachi band?
I'm afraid I also noticed that some of them were wearing bandannas just like mine. My bandanna did not come from Mexico. It came from San Antonio. But it was a shop that catered to the Mexican construction workers. This morning I found an ATM that did not gasp and guffaw when I humbly requested some Argentine pesos, and so I was able to buy some more fashionable scarves, as well as a couple of more summery shirts. If I understand the exchange rate correctly, the price was certainly right.
I have a better understanding of the downtown area now, and today I strolled all the way over to the presidential palace and the nearby Cathedral, where uniformed soldiers stand watch over the mausoleum of the no-doubt-very-important dead guy -- indeed, S. had previously informed me that he'd liberated half of South America. As a person from Louisiana, I hope I am excused from knowing any world history. The huge crowd of people around the mausoleum was proof enough of the dead guy's popularity, and everyone besides me seemed determined to have their picture taken there.
The cathedral also held a crypt with a model of the freshly dead Jesus at the head of the stairs. Most people did not venture that far, but I saw a tourist couple do so, and I followed. The man took a photo and then touched the bloody part of the foot. I thought he might be just wondering what a plaster Jesus felt like but after he left, I saw a native- looking woman go over and touch the foot as well. So maybe it's lucky. I will go ahead and admit it. When no one was around, I touched the foot as well. Is this how superstitions get started?
Somewhere near the pink palace, I entered one of the endless pizza restaurants and ordered a couple of empanadas in Spanish. Well, maybe in Spanish. I made myself understood, tee hee. I also noticed that in this place, the water (10 pesos) was more expensive than wine (9 pesos). Tempting but ultimately it was a little too hot and humid to go with a wine for lunch.
My Argentina bird list is not very big thus far, but on the grounds of the pink presidential palace, I did add White-Eyed Parakeet, European Starling, and Shiny Cowbird.
Buenos Aires is well nicknamed "The Paris of South America," considering the colorful and ornate buildings, and the streets full of intriguing little shops. How about some photos?
Sarmiento Street, which includes the street of music sellers:
Obelisk shimmering in the summer sunlight:
What is Paris without her graffiti, and the same question might be asked of Buenos Aires...
After my siesta, I went over toward the National Congress area. It's a BIG building.
In the United States, The Thinker is associated with constipation jokes, or at least it was when I was in the 7th grade. This take on the thoughtful man in a park near the Congressional complex had me wondering if they too had a Congress that sometimes suffered from constipation.
No clue about the windmill on top of this old building but it's my guess that it's about to become condos. Also in this area, I found the vintage shop where I bought a few more items. Stop her before she shops again. Already I can't close my suitcase. Eek.
I have been informed that we are to dine in a fine steakhouse...so perhaps it's just as well that among my purchases I have a suitable blouse.
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