Friday, December 4, 2009

Meet the Carteleros

Carteleros Sticking Posters on a Wall in Shopping Street Calle Florida in Buenos Aires, Argentina
I met these friendly gentlemen in downtown Buenos Aires while they were sticking posters on walls in the shopping street Florida. They aroused my attention because they were working together hand in hand so well, emphasizing what teamwork is all about. Both were accurate, precise, and pretty fast. It was just half a minute and the whole wall was done. As soon as they recognize me they began to pose to give me a chance to picture them. The posters, by the way, announce a concert with Rolando Paz, "Chato" Arizmendi and Ariel Puchetta to end the year with Latin music. Well, I'm not familiar with any of these musicians but I suppose they are popular in Uruguay because it seems the event is specifically aiming at Uruguayos living in Buenos Aires. Thank you for the picture, guys!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Waiting for the Signal to Come

White Noise on a Public TV Screen at the Subteráneo Station
Buenos Aires is awash with public TV screens. Like it or not, you will encounter them virtually everywhere. One might think these screens are entertaining while waiting for the next train but in fact it's just annoying. One would wish that all these blatant screens would snooze soundly for awhile. The TV screen in this picture is obviously waiting for a signal to get back to broadcasting. The rather quiet specimen caught my attention exactly because it was so silent and waiting for a signal. Whenever I see this white noise image I kind of feel reminded of my childhood. I remember that I sometimes imagined those black and white dots were fighting each other and there was not a ghost of a chance of winning for either side.

The first of the month has arrived, and it is City Daily Photo Theme Day. December 2009 theme day is Waiting. If you like to see other interpretations of this subject Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Commuters in the Subte Linea C

Commuters in the subterráneo of Buenos Aires in Argentina
The subway network of Buenos Aires could be larger but at least the city is lucky to have a functioning underground transportation system that covers a large part of the city already. While four long lines lead straight to and from downtown Buenos Aires, there are two other lines that expand vertically. That is a good start but not yet sufficient. The city definitely needs more circular connectors between the radial lines. This would make public transport a lot easier, faster, and more efficient. Anyway, I love to tour around with the Subte. It tells so much about the people and the city.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cliché of Buenos Aires

View on Palacio Barolo and Edificio la Inmobiliaria Eclectic Architecture in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Speaking of clichés, media and travel industry have created an image of Argentina and Buenos Aires in particular that consists mainly of tango, great food, great wine, great architecture, and great people. They tend to blank out all the not-so-nice parts of the city and the country. This is as unrealistic as expecting a crocodile to turn vegetarian. For many Argentines this city is a place to struggle to survive just like any other city in the world. The problem is universal: too much to die on but too little to live on. So, when you want to look behind all those clichés you have to leave the typical tourist routes. Don't be afraid. You will be surprised!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Picada à la Argentina

Una Picada, a Typical Argentine Fingerfood, Buenos Aires, Argentina
A picada is a typical Argentine meal or pre-meal and perfectly fits to satisfy a growling stomach. Having it with friends is a fine Argentine tradition. Basically, a picada consists of a selection of hors d’oeuvres to munch on. It can be as simple as a few cold cuts and cheese or very opulent with many different items. This particular picada in the picture had some slices of salami (chorizo and salchichón), cured ham, cheese (Roquefort and Emmental), green and black olives (with pits), leberwurst (liver sausage), Spanish omelet (tortilla de patatas), vegs with mayonnaise and peanuts. It usually comes with bread. Oh, and don't forget to order a bottle of good red wine for you and your friends. That will make this typical Argentine dish even more authentic and tasty.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dancing with the Drill Instructors

Porteños Dancing and Exercising at the Paseo Guardavidas Argentinos in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Truth is Argentinians simply LOVE to dance. And yes, this is absolutely a true cliché. I have seen many people--young and old alike--shaking their bones in public places at day or night or in between. This must be their favored way to "de-stress" from the hectic but exciting life in Buenos Aires. I love watching them! This bunch of Porteños, however, was rather exercising than dancing "drilled" by some demanding dance instructors. Everybody could participate in this lesson for free. The guys did a wonderful sweat-inducing job and, obviously, everybody had a great time. They definitely rocked the crowd!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Buenos Aires Skyline versus Biodiversity

Buenos Aires Skyline, View from Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve, Argentina
The Buenos Aires skyline is relatively young and yet incomplete. The best view is either directly from the Río de la Plata or from the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve as in this case. This huge peaceful morsel of nature was formed by landfill from demolished buildings during the 1970s. Since then it developed itself into a biodiversity hotspot. It's ornithologist's paradise and an important bird area. Sadly, the biggest threat to this park is the skyline itself that comes ever so close. Let's hope the property sharks will keep their greedy hands off the nature reserve.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Design Store in Palermo Soho

Inside View of a Design Store in the Palermo Soho Neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Design stores, whatever that may be, are a phenomenon of big cities such as Buenos Aires. They became a textbook indicator for a rising neighborhood. Out of a sudden, they shoot up like mushrooms. The neighborhood of Palermo Soho is the perfect example of such an upscale area. Here you will find plenty of these design stores.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ava Chagall Sign Fail

Trash Bin and Ava Chagall Signpost in Palermo Soho in Buenos Aires, Argentina
This picture is a good example of an inappropriately placed sign. Here, the combination of content and context creates a completely different connotation to the original meaning. Ava Chagall is a luxury boutique in trendy Palermo Soho. The odd combination of their signpost with the waste bin evokes a veiled reference to the quality of their clothings. Don't get me wrong, neither do I know the boutique nor the quality of their clothings but I do know that this sign is ineptly placed. To me, it says, "Dispose your newly bought Ava Chagall acquisitions right here!"

There's another sign fail post on Buenos Aires Perception:
Buenos Aires Subterráneo Sign Fail

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tourists in La Boca

Arts and Crafts Street Market in El Caminito in La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Caminito area is a banal tourist enclave in the heart of La Boca. These three tiny little streets are separated from the surroundings by tourist police which makes it kind of strange to be there. Nonetheless, it is hugely popular with foreigners and crowded every single day. All the hustle and bustle reminds me of San Telmo's Feria on Defensa street on Sundays. You will find many touristy tchotchke shops, restaurants, and local artisans selling arts and crafts, not to mention the many tango shows.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

José Gervasio Artigas and Joaquín Lenzina

Monument and Mausoleum of José Gervasio Artigas at the Plaza Indepedencia in Montevideo, Uruguay
In the center of the Plaza Independencia in Montevideo you'll find the monument of José Gervasio Artigas, the national hero of Uruguay. The history of Argentina and Uruguay is closely connected. Both belonged to the Spanish Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. Seizing the opportunity of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe both countries declared their independence from the Spanish crown in the early 19th century. Artigas dedicated his life to the fight for a free, democratic, and federal Uruguay. His remains rest in a mausoleum under the ground of the Independence Place. Noteworthy is Artigas' close friendship with Joaquín Lenzina, called the Black Alsina, who once was captured by Portuguese soldiers and made a slave. Artigas bought him from captivity and released him. Alsina accompanied his savior till his death as a friend and biographer.

Ansina me llaman
Y Ansina yo soy...
Sólo Artigas sabe
Hacia donde me voy.

Ansina they call me
And Ansina I am ...
Only Artigas knows
Where I go.

¡Viva el oriental que ama al Paraguay! Poem by Lenzina (truncated)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lady and the Tramp in Tigre

Lady and the Tramp, Two Dogs on a Jetty in Tigre, Argentina
When I was in Tigre the other day I ran into Lady and Tramp while they were waiting for a taxi boat into town. Tramp wanted to take his lady out to the Big City. They both love to dance the night away and Lady couldn't even remember her last evening out in Buenos Aires. Well, they asked me where to go. At first I was a little clueless, but then I had the idea to send them to a milonga. They pointed out that they love the Tango Argentino so it would be a great possibility for them to shake a leg. Thanks guys for the photo, hope you had fun!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Inspiration is for any Age

Kiddo in Front of a Painting in the Museo Naional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Gotcha! You're younger than 20 years of age and appreciate art? What's wrong with you? This young guy was all alone and deeply contemplating this painting in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA). So I guess it is not true to say that youngsters are not interested in well established art. At least in Buenos Aires you see many adolescents in the museums of the city and I don't speak of students on a field trip. Well, art has always been a great source of inspiration. It is truly for any age. Maybe this kiddo is the next Michelangelo or a new Banksy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

El Odio Graffiti

Saint Valentin Graffito by El Odio (lit. The Hatred) in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hatred is the most powerful negative emotion. It is destructive and sickening. Whatever you're going to do to satisfy this feeling will even create more hate. In the end it will eat you up, it destroys you from the inside-out. I know many people really hate graffiti, either way I'm looking forward to reading your comments. (:
The person that is responsible for this graffito named himself "El Odio" (lit. The Hatred). Dunno, who he is and why he chose this name. My guess is it is a reference to graffiti's bad reputation.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

R is for Rusty Ride

Old and Decrepit Jalopy Car in the Streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires' streets are full of old and decrepit cars. The other day I came across this green-blue-ish jalopy car parked in the streets of Palermo. It looked as if it would just fall apart and made me wonder what it was held together with. I saw at least no tape or string. Another point that caught my eye was the car's perfect adaption to its environment--its color almost matched the color of the facade of the houses! If you like these jalopies as I do there is another one for you here. Well, if Argentina had a "cash-for-clunkers" program, this one would certainly qualify.

Enjoy even more ABC Wednesday posts from around the world! Click here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Border Triangle of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay

Confluence of Paraná and Iguazú Rivers at the Border Triangle of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina
The Misiones area had been a bone of contention for Argentina and Paraguay for decades. The War of the Triple Alliance, a union of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, against Paraguay eventually clarified the border in 1870. While this war was unimaginably ruinous for Paraguay the other involved parties swung up to the wealthiest nations in South America. The picture was taken from the Argentine side in Puerto Iguazú. You see the border triangle at the confluence of the rivers Iguazú and Paraná. The lights on the left belong to Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, those on the right to the Brazilian city Foz do Iguaçu. Paraguay is separated from Brazil and Argentina by the Paraná River, whereas the Iguazú River forms the natural border between Argentina and Brazil.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Arrival in Mesopotamia

Verdant and Dense Flora of the Jungle in Misiones, Argentina
The whole night the bus went through Mesopotamia. In the morning we arrived at our destination in the northeastern corner of Argentina, the "land between the rivers". Mesopotámica, as it is called in Spanish, is the name for the region between the Rivers Paraná and Uruguay, which consists of the provinces Entre Ríos, Corrientes, and Misiones. Overnight the landscape had enormously changed and it was pretty obvious that we have arrived in a different climate zone. While Buenos Aires' climate is temperate, the area we ended up is hot and humid. The soil is wonderfully reddish brown and the surrounding flora is verdant and dense giving an air of adventure and paradise.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tails of Fire and Sparks in the Night

Lines of Light like a Tail of Fire and Sparks on the Road in Argentina
From the beginning, the cama suite was well worth the money and the coach couldn't be more comfy. For hours, I switched between reading and looking out of the bus window. For miles there was nothing but plain fields and emptiness. Then the last bit of brightness was gone. Now that the darkness has covered the land, the look out the window reveals only some fragile lines of light of the sparsely passing traffic. Soon dinner will be served and then it is time to decline the seat to its full extend. Tomorrow a new day awaits in a different climate zone.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cama Suite for Overnight Bus Travel

Cama Suite, First Class Bus Travel Overnight on Long Distances in Argentina
Argentina is so huge that either an internal flight or an overnight bus is the most practical way to get around. Long distance bus providers offer some of the most luxurious and comfortable busses in the world. Taking an intercity bus is like flying. Logically, the higher the category you book the better the service and comfort will be. The most comfy but still affordable option is the cama suite (this is equivalent to flying business class). There will be food & beverages served by a steward/stewardess and you get entertained with a video and audio program. There are many other comfort classes so there's something for every budget. An overview and description of the comfort classes can be found here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Villa 31 across Retiro Bus Terminal

Villa 31 - Villa Miseria (Asentamientos) in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Once you have bought your ticket and sit comfortably in the coach you are about to make a strange experience. Right after you have left the Terminal de Ómnibus de Retiro, the first thing you traverse is a so called villa miseria. A villa miseria is the Argentinean version of a slum area. These precarious housings belong to Villa 31 which is just across the huge bus terminal. In the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires there are 21 of these slums, according to estimates several hundreds of these "precarious neighborhoods" exist in Greater Buenos Aires. Public authorities tend to euphemistically call these zones asentamientos (settlements). Well, don't let 'em hornswoggle you!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Counters at the Terminal de Omnibus de Retiro

Counters at the Retiro Bus Terminal in Buenos Aires, Argentina
If you like backpacking, Argentina will be heaven for you especially when you're on a budget. The country is easily accessible via bus, and getting around is cheap and reliable. There are many different bus companies to get in every tiny corner of Argentina and the neighboring countries. Well, all you need is some extra time and, of course, a ticket. Hence, you will sooner or later find yourself at one of these ticket counters lined up in an endless row in the bus terminal of Estación Retiro. Just choose your destination and find the right counter. Buen viaje!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Q is for Quilmes

Chairs and Tables of a Restaurant at the Plaza Dorrego advertising Quilmes Beer in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The extinct native Indian tribe "Quilmes" (Kilmes) has given its name to a city in the Province of Buenos Aires, a village, and a beer brand in Argentina. Nowadays, when people speak of Quilmes they mostly mean the brew. It is the leading brand when it comes to beer in Argentina. Furthermore, Quilmes is sort of a national Argentine symbol and was one of the country's biggest assets. During the last economic crisis in 2001/2002 the brewery got into turmoil and, thus, had to be turned over to foreign investor-owned corporations. Since then the Brazilian company AmBev has gradually acquired the majority of shares.

Enjoy even more ABC Wednesday posts from around the world! Click here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

La Boca Bridge

La Boca Bridge aka Puente Transbordador de La Boca in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The old Puente Transbordador in La Boca is a famous witness of Argentina's industrial revolution. As a matter of fact it is one of Buenos Aires' best known landmarks and the symbol of La Boca. The bridge was planned as a transporter bridge to link the city of Buenos Aires with the Isla Maciel of the Ciudad de Avellaneda in the province of Buenos Aires. The metallic component parts were built in England and then assembled in situ. In May 1914 the bridge was opened to the public. In 1939 already a replacement bridge was erected only a stone's throw down the Riachelo River. By that time the Antiguo Puente Nicolás Avellaneda, as it is also known, has fallen into disuse. Since 1995 the old transporter bridge is a declared "Site of Cultural Interest".

Monday, November 9, 2009

Colón de Santa Fe Fans Flock to the Game

Soccer Fans of Colón de Santa Fe in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Soccer is the glue that binds the Argentine society together. The popular sport has, like nothing else, great powers to integrate different social groups and classes. When it comes to soccer all are equal. These fans of the Club Atlético Colón de Santa Fe had just arrived at their hotel in Buenos Aires to support their team in the match against the Boca Juniors. They were waving flags and singing and chanting out loud in anticipation of the game. That's the way real fans cheer and stand up for their team, right? The match took place yesterday in the Estadio Alberto J. Armando in La Boca which is also known as La Bombonera (The Chocolate Box). It ended in a draw (0 - 0).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Close-Up Shot of Auxilio de Colectivo

Close Up of a Expreso Quilmes Roadside Assistance Truck in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Today I give you a close-up shot of the same old and fancy auxilio de colectivo that you saw in yesterday's post so you can once more marvel at its perfectly formed car body. This is one of the so called auxilios recortados. That means the bus has been converted to a roadside assistance truck to give the vehicle a multi-role capability which is a very common practice for old colectivos in Buenos Aires. Judging from the design of this tow truck, it's obviously a Mercedes-Benz chassis probably a LO-1112 from the swinging 1960s, but I'm not an expert. I just love the vehicle's exceptional design. Have you noticed the improvised car bumper? It's made from an old tire.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Auxilio de Colectivo - Expreso Quilmes

Roadside Assistance Truck, Expreso Quilmes Auxilio de Colectivo in Buenos Aires, Argentina
This would have been your colectivo to Quilmes but, obviously, it has a problem. Well, this kind of daily trouble is not rare in a big city like Buenos Aires. Actually, it is not a big deal. You just get off the bus and take the next colectivo that comes, and they are coming frequently. In case of a vehicle defect of line 98 this fancy tow truck comes to the rescue. Remarkably, every bus company has its own auxilio de colectivo, a roadside assistance vehicle. To me, this old Mercedes-Benz truck was rather a roadside attraction. Thankfully, I have personally never experienced a breakdown with a bus in Buenos Aires yet (knock on wood).

Friday, November 6, 2009

Classic Wooden Interior of Subte Linea A

Wooden Interior of Subte Linea A in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Subte Linea A is considered the tourist epitome in every guidebook of Buenos Aires. I guess, back in the good old days when Argentina was unimaginably rich this was one of the most comfortable and elegant public transportation lines in the world. This picture shows some details of the historical wooden interior of Linea A which is in use since the Roaring Twenties. Nowadays, riding this subway line isn't so pleasant anymore. It is making a loud clattering sound when running, but still, it's fun. It is definitely one of the most authentic tourist attractions in Buenos Aires.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fun Sport at Plaza Serrano

Performance at Plaza Serrano in Palermo Soho Buenos Aires, Argentina
What do Argentinos do when they are bored? Any idea? No? Frankly, me neither. What these three guys were doing at the Plaza Serrano in Palermo Soho, however, caught my attention. I was observing the trio for awhile while sitting in the sun, but I was not able to figure out what these funny activities were all about. Then my mind came up with an explanation so simple and yet so profound! The girl asked the kneeling guy to hold up the leg of her boyfriend so she could check his shoes for dog poo. Luckily the newly bought Nikes were still clean and tidy. Boy, what a relief!
Well, I'm kidding. I still have no idea what they were doing! I guess it was some fancy relaxation method -- Reiki, Shiatsu, T'ai-chi, Tae Bo ... whatever, you name it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

P is for Parrilla

Parilla in the Food Court Mercado del Puerto in Montevideo, Uruguay
A parrilla is a specially designed grill to broil huge pieces of meat. Using the parrilla is the most popular cooking method particularly in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile. You will find these kinds of grills in all styles imaginable. There is hardly a part of cattle you won't find on these charcoal or wood fired parrillas. From sausages like chorizo (pork sausage), morcilla (blood sausage) to riñones (kidneys), chinchulines (intestines), mollejas (sweet breads) to tenderloin and strip steaks, everything gets grilled. You just have to make your choice. The beef is naturally flavorful and always perfectly tender. Buen provecho!

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Man Selling Candy on the Street

Man Selling Candy (Bombon) in Buenos Aires, Argentina
You can come across a lot of hard working people trying to eke out an existence by selling you anything and a lot more on the streets in Buenos Aires. The gentleman in this picture is selling candy amidst the exhaust fumes and the rumble and roar of the traffic on Avenida Nueve de Julio. So, if you get your sweet tooth while you're stuck in traffic you can buy some bombones for one peso each (about 25 cents of a US dollar). It's very hard to believe that these street vendors can make a living out of it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Estacíon Retiro - General Manuel Belgrano

Entrance Hall of Estacíon Retiro Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The district of Retiro is the location of the huge namesake railway station. Retiro station consists of actually three separate terminus stations. Each of the three is named after a famous military leader from the time when Argentina fought for independence. The one in the picture is named after General Manuel Belgrano who was one of the authors of the Argentine Declaration of Independence. Locals also refer to the station as Ferrovías. This is the name of the company that operates the Belgrano Norte line which leaves from here. These trains will take you to Villa Rosa in the Greater Buenos Aires area.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Doorway of Palacio Paz in Buenos Aires

Doorway of the Círculo Militar formerly known as Palacio Paz in Retiro Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Palacio Paz near the Plaza San Martín in Retiro is just amazing. The magnificent building was commissioned in 1902 by José C. Paz, the founder of "La Prensa". La Prensa is a major daily newspaper based in Buenos Aires. The French architect Louis Sortais designed and erected Paz' mansion which was completed in 1914. Clearly, this mansion was build to impress visitors and locals alike reflecting the owner's power and wealth. Back then, it was the largest private residence in whole Argentina with unimaginable 12,000 sq meters. Justifiably, this building is considered one of the most beautiful palaces in Buenos Aires. It is full of beautiful art work and gorgeously decorated halls and rooms. Today it is housing the Círculo Militar, a veterans' organization.

The first of the month has arrived, and it is City Daily Photo Theme Day. November 2009 theme day is Doorways. If you like to see other interpretations of this subject click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Open Mausoleum with visible Coffins in the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, ArgentinaI thought this would make a boo-tiful image to accommodate Halloween. If that day had the same importance in Argentina as it has in North America, the cemetery in Recolata would be a great place to find plenty of really good scares. I guess this is what Halloween is all about -- celebrating the fear and the darkness, right? Well, in Argentina Halloween is neither a tradition, nor is it very popular. It is considered a gringo thing. But wait, Halloween's popularity is constantly growing and I think it will find its way to Argentina by the backdoor. Thus you will definitely find some parties and events tonight in Buenos Aires.
Anyway, Happy Halloween (if you celebrate it)!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bridge Pier Graffito

Sometimes graffiti look good sometimes they don't. Sometimes graffiti convey social or political messages, sometimes not. I'm not sure what category this graffito falls under. I guess it's the fun category. And yes, graffito is the singular form of graffiti. The name El Rechifle (the Boo) is probably not connected to the graffito but refers to an identically named Murga group in Palermo. Murga is a carnival hilarity which is very popular in Argentina. The artist can probably be identified by the capital A in the circle on the right. I don't have a clue who (s)he is, though.
What do you see in this graffito?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Indigenous Protests in Chaco – Because of Food!

Poor and Homeless Woman in Buenos Aires, Argentina
On Tuesday there was a serious incident in the city of Juan José Castelli in the province of Chaco. Protesters led by the organization MIJD (Movimiento Independiente de Jubilados y Desocupados -- Independent Movement of Retirees and Unemployees) were looting a governmental warehouse where food and clothes are stored. It was a political protest to draw attention to the desperate situation in Chaco. This province is one of the poorest regions in Argentina located in the north of the country. Several native tribes call this region their home. Especially indigenous people are facing a terrible plight in Chaco, many people have died of hunger in the past years and many more are suffering from malnutrition and poverty-related diseases such as tuberculosis and dengue. But the worst part is that their plight receives very little attention from Argentine authorities and national media. Thus it is probably no accident that many Argentines are not aware of a substantial aboriginal community being pushed to the edges of society.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

O is for Once

Cupola of a Building in Once Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires has officially 48 community districts. Many of them are further subdivided into sub-barrios whose names often reflect famous buildings in these subzones. Once is one of these rather unoffical neighborhoods. It is basically a part of the Balvanera barrio but hardly anyone uses this denomination. Once's namesake is the massive Once de Septiembre train station. The Spanish word once means "eleven". The train station was named after Buenos Aires' rebellion against the Federal government on September 11, 1852. So don't get confused, it has nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorists attacks in the US.

Enjoy even more ABC Wednesday posts from around the world! Click here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Colectivo Orientation Sign at Estación Constitución

Public Bus Overview Sign at Estación Constitición in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Orientation is everything, especially when it comes to find the right spot to catch a colectivo in Buenos Aires. If you have made experience with the public transport system, in particular with the buses, you know what I'm talking about. Often it's very hard to figure out which bus to take for a certain destination, and more importantly, to find the right bus stop. If you ever happen to be clueless at the bus terminal on Constitution Plaza, this orientation sign in front of the train station comes to the rescue. All you now need to know is the number of the colectivo line and the direction you are heading. Simple, isn't it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cartoneros in Buenos Aires

Cartonero, Waste Hauler Collecting Cardboard in Buenos Aires, Argentina
A cartonero (lit. cardboard picker) is someone who digs through the trash to collect anything that may be of value. Basically, they are sorting through the garbage set out at the curb, mostly in search for cardboard and other useful remains. The cartoneros work within certain territories in the various neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. Sadly, there are thousands of them out on the streets, many are children. The number of cartoneros has rapidly increased during the last economic crash in 2001. For many people in Argentina, that is the only way to make a living.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Photo Shooting Under the Crane

Photo Shooting at the docks of Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The old discarded cranes at the Puerto Madero docks are not only eye catchy but also a popular photo point for all sorts of people. The other day I watched this young Argentine lady lying on the crossbar of the crane foot. She was posing like a pro and was been filmed and photographed by a little group. Don't think I have seen her before but judging from the ease of her performance she could be a model or singer.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Crumbling Stairs in La Boca

Crumbling Stairs in La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
These concrete stairs are certainly crumbling for years. One wrong step and you could end up at the doctor's or in the hospital. Sadly, it is no unusual sight in Buenos Aires to see sidewalks in such a poor condition. Indeed, the city has recently invested some effort in patching and repairing those break-a-leg pavements but obviously not in La Boca. It seems some neighborhoods warrant higher priority than others for fixes. You better watch your step and look where you're going!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Calm before the Tourist Storm

Empty Beach in Punta del Este, Ready for the Tourist Storm, Uruguay
The beaches around Punta del Este are still secluded and empty. But soon enough, visitors from all over South America will head to the exclusive Uruguayan resort at the Atlantic Ocean. Needless to say that those tourists are mostly upper and upper middle class people because Punta del Este is a first world village devoted to celebrating money. It is the hotbed of Brazilian and Argentine high society, or those who fancy themselves as such. The locals call them chetos, which is just another word for the rich, the snobs and their like. Let's see if they come as numerous as last year.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Unearthing Literary Gems in El Ateneo Bookstore

Book Shelves in El Ateneo Bookstore in Buenos Aires, Argentina
What is it that makes browsing a bookstore such a great pleasure? What makes it so different from downloading a pdf or ordering a book online? I guess it is the notion of discovery and the physical presence of books. Their feel, smell and disposition can be highly addictive. The bookstore El Ateneo has additionally an atmosphere that enhances these sensations. Its extraordinary history is still present all around. Hard to believe that El Ateneo, this adorable bookstore, ranked only second under the world's top bookshops according to a list published by The Guardian in January 2008.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

N is for Niceto Club

Niceto Club 69 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Niceto Club is a popular nightlife spot for locals and visitors alike. The great thing about this location is it reinvents itself with different theme nights every week. The weekend starts on Thursday with Club 69 and the probably most international crowd. Before midnight you can enjoy aspiring local bands and live acts and afterwards the DJs start to play dance music. Around 2:30am there's a performance on stage for an hour or two. Remember, Buenos Aires is a late city, these parties rarely get going before 2:00am-3:00am. You find the club at Niceto Vega 5510 at the corner Humboldt in Palermo.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Buenos Aires before Sunset

Buenos Aires Cityscape View with UADE Building in the Center just before the Sunset
This picture was taken in the evening just before the sun set. This time of the day has the most intense light for photography. The backlighting from the sun made the city look absolutely atmospheric. Maybe you remember the last cityscape view where Buenos Aires appeared almost white. This time the city makes a more grayish and kinda dirty impression, almost a bit smoggy. In the center of the picture you see the UADE building, the Universidad Argentina de la Empresa. This educational institution ranks among the top five of Argentina's universities.

Monday, October 19, 2009

La Boca Bomberos

Mack CF 650 Fire Truck of the La Boca Fire Department in Buenos Aires, Argentina
What do you think is the biggest threat to an urban environment now and then? Yes, it is fire! Many ancient and modern cities fell victim to its disruptive forces. Luckily, there are fire fighters always on standby and ready to help. How important they are could be seen in downtown Buenos Aires today when two fire incidents were reported, one in a restaurant in Montserrat and another on Avenida Madero where a truck caught fire. Fortunately, in both cases, no persons were harmed.
The fire truck in the picture, a Mack CF 650 from 1973, belongs to the fire brigade of La Boca. You will find the fire department in Avenida Brandson 567.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Showdown in Montevideo

Young Uruguayans Playing Soccer in Ciudad Vieja of Montevideo, Uruguay
Sundays are for hitting the ball with your buddies -- not just in Argentina but also in Uruguay. Last Wednesday, however, soccer attracted an even greater attention in both countries as it came to a crucial battle between their national teams: La Celeste (Uruguay) vs. La Albiceleste (Argentina). As you may be aware, it's Fifa World Cup qualifying at the moment. Soccer fans in Montevideo's Estadio Centenario got to see an exciting and nail biting match virtually until the last minute. When in the 84th minute Mario Bolatti scored the 0-1 to punch Argentina's ticket for South Africa in 2010, national team coach Diego Maradona was bubbling over with joy. What a relief! The battle was rather a bogey match for Argentina because they had last won 1975 in this stadium. Uruguay now has to go into the playoffs against Costa Rica on November, 14 and 18.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

... Motor Home after the Vandals

Graffiti on Vintage Camper Van near the National Congress Building in Buenos Aires, Argentina
If yesterday's post didn't bother you, this shouldn't either! Surprise, surprise... this is the same vehicle on the same spot just a few months later. Ui dios mio, what a difference some paint makes! As it turns out, a young French artist named Louis D’Anjou whose alias is 'GROLOU' came along and painted the rusty colectivo all over. Happy and multicolored faces are his specialty. And I don't think, you can do this in such a flawless way without the owner's permission. Still, the question remains about the 'what and why' of the van. Some of you commented on yesterday's post, such a vehicle wouldn't last long in your city, especially not in front of the Congress. Well, I would have expected the same for Buenos Aires but nobody seems to bother. Maybe that's because old, rusty cars and vans are quite common in the cityscape.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Motor Home before the Vandals...

Tagged Vintage Camper Van near the National Congress Building in Buenos Aires, Argentina
There is this mysterious vintage camper van on the Plaza de los Dos Congresos, just a stone's throw away from the Argentine National Congress. I was always curious about the "what and why" of its presence, apart from parking. Is it a form of political protest, a camper who will not leave until his/her problem is solved in Congress? Protesters are pretty common on this plaza, either as single demonstrators or in groups. But maybe the van was just left to rot and gather more rust. Anyway, it obviously has become sort of a message board with all the graffiti tags on it. If you know more about it leave me a comment. Well, not on the bus of course. (;

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day - Climate Change

After a Bushfire in the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day on their own blogs with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. This year's subject is climate change.

There's is absolutely no doubt that saving energy and reducing carbon footprints are a must, not a choice. However, we must not stop thinking for ourselves. The ongoing debate about global warming and climate change is highly emotive and often dominated by a doctrinaire approach. Sadly, the controversy has become a one-way ideology, a question of believe rather than a matter of facts and knowledge which makes the exchange of arguments in a public discourse almost impossible.
The history of climate change is as old as the earth itself. There are serious reasons to think of global warming as a natural process or, in other words, the periodic cycles of cooling and warming alternate over time. It is most likely that the sun has a much greater impact on our climate than mankind. In fact, the earth is not the only planet that experiences a permanent climate change. Another fact is that after World War II the earth experienced a cold period while the carbon dioxide exhaustion exploded. Why are these and many other facts and data stubbornly ignored? Moreover, why are serious scientists who submit critiques and rebuttals attacked? I think a hysteric debate won't solve anything. What is your opinion?

PS: The picture was taken in the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve in Buenos Aires. The damage was a result of a bush fire in 2009. The area is already recovering. Climate change has nothing to do with it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

M is for Montevideo

Club de Paris, Table Dance Bar and Strip Club in Montevideo, Uruguay
I could have easily told you this building is in Buenos Aires, but it is not. It's in Montevideo, the charming Uruguayan neighbor city across the River Plate. The city is filled with beautiful architecture that is remarkably similar to that of Buenos Aires. This building caught my eyes because it was strikingly different from the others with its blue facade, the round windows, and these suspicious red logo signs. Well, as it turns out, I stepped right into the twilight zone, the 'dark side' of Montevideo. The Club de Paris is apparently a table dance bar and strip club. Yikes! Seems men have the same simple needs all over the world.