Wednesday, September 30, 2009

K is for Kite Surfing

Kite Boarding, Surface Water Sport on the River Paraná in Rosario, Argentina
The sport of kite surfing has become very popular since its first appearance in the late 1990s. In fact, the sport has become a mainstream sport, also known as kite boarding, all over the world. Primarily the water sport is a combination of speed, power, agility and reaction. It can be seen as a cross between water skiing, skateboarding, and windsurfing. Argentina with so many climate zones and such a wide variety of terrain is heaven for outdoor sport enthusiasts and offers some great spots not only for wind and kite surfer. The surf location in the picture is to be found in Rosario along the small islands of the river Paraná.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Behind the Scenes - Teatro Solís in Montevideo

Behind the Scenes in the Solís Theatre, Backstage Area of the Montevideo Opera House, Uruguay
Not only Buenos Aires but also Montevideo, on the other side of the Río de la Plata, has a great opera house. The Teatro Solís is one of the major cultural attractions in Uruguay's capital. After a fire in 1998 the building had to be closed for comprehensive restoration until 2004. The main focus was put on the re-construction of the backstage area to make the stage and theater technology state-of-the-art. Among many other things, the stage size was increased by 80%, a new orchestra pit was built, the stage house was extended and last but not least a modern thermal conditioning system was added. If you want to convince yourself of the modernizations go backstage and let you take behind the scenes by some English and Spanish speaking Uruguayan students. They will show you around and let you discover the theatre complex and its secrets which ordinary theatre-goers otherwise won't see.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Father and Son Sitting on a Bench

Argentinean Men Sitting on a Bench in Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Portraits of locals pursuing their daily life in Buenos Aires are one of my favorite subjects. It gives an even deeper insight into the city. Don't know whether these men are related but they seem very close with each other. Thus I assume they are father and son. They were telling and listening to each other's news stories and gossip and it seems that they enjoyed the little break from the stroll through Puerto Madero. This scene was full of closeness and hence so worth the picture.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Argentines Keep 50 Billion US Dollars of Savings under the Mattress

Headquarters of the Bank of the Argentine Nation in front of the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina is a country with extreme swings in economic performance. Due to the many crises that have shaken the country everyone does his best to take precautions for the next crisis. The gross national savings rate in Argentina has almost doubled since the economic disaster in 2000-2001. It has reached 27% of GDP in 2008 which is one of the highest compared to many other Latin-American countries. For the USA it is 12% of GDP, just to give you a number. But how to save money when people have absolutely no trust in inland banks, nor in the government anymore? While rich people get assistance by American or Swiss bankers with bringing money abroad, the ordinary middle-class Argentinean is hoarding cash in dollar bills under his proverbial mattress. The mound of cash in Argentina is estimated to USD 50 billion, which is about 1,300 dollars per capita. This makes Argentina by far the number one in US dollar bill hoarding nations in the world. The second place goes to Russia with about USD 550 per capita.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Abasto de Buenos Aires — Shop until You Drop!

Impressive Art Deco Facade of the Shopping Mall Abasto de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Are you a fan of superlatives — and do you like shopping? Well, then this is the place to go. The Abasto de Buenos Aires shopping center offers you exactly 39,473 sqm sales area to shop until you drop. The mega mall is especially tailor-made for tourists who find great enjoyment in shopping. They even offer free transportation service from your hotel to the mall and back in case you are planning a shopping spree. Customer service is king! The most fascinating aspect to me, however, is the impressive Art Deco facade of the building.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Buenos Aires, the White City

San Telmo Cityscape View over the White City Buenos_Aires, Argentina
You are overlooking Buenos Aires or the White City, as I call it. From atop the roofs you get the impression that the city has been covered with white powder. Wherever you turn, from afar the whole city seems white-washed and pristine. The barrios you are looking at are Monserrat and San Telmo. Almost every building, every structure, every surface, even the sidewalks appear white.

There are more bird's eye views on Buenos Aires Perception:
Buenos Aires Concrete
Mind Blowing View Over Buenos Aires

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2 1/2 Room Apartment in Buenos Aires

Old Facade Giving the Answer to the 2 1/2 Room Apartment Conundrum in Once Buenos Aires, Argentina
Moving into a new apartment can be exciting and adventurous. It requires some research and plenty of patience. When you browse the ads for a new flat you will likely stumble upon the conundrum known as '2 1/2 room apartment'. What the heck does a half room look like? Where is the other half, then? What makes a room a room? You see, this is virtually a philosophical problem. Recently I was walking through the Once neighborhood and guess what I spotted: the 2 1/2 room apartment!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

J is for Justo, Justo Máximo Lynch

Día Gris--Grey Day, Painting with the La Boca Bridge in the Background by Justo Lynch in the MNBA in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Justo Lynch (*1870 in Martínez, †1953 in Buenos Aires) is an Argentine artist known as Marinista, a painter of seascapes, scenes and events of Argentina's naval history. He was trained in the Asociación Estímulo de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires where he met Eduardo de Martino and Oscar Vaz. In La Boca, the legendary harbor neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Lynch was one of the founders of the Nexus group, whose art works reflect themes of folklore and local traditions. The group's style was close to impressionism with elements of academic naturalism, a technique Lynch got acquainted with during his journey to Paris and Rome at the beginning of the 20th century.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Strange Trash Baskets on Poles in Buenos Aires

Trash Baskets perched on Poles, Peculiar Garbage Collecting System in Buenos Aires, Argentina
I always wondered what it is with these wrought iron forms perched on poles that you find on sidewalks in some residential neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. Some of them are empty while others are filled with plastic bags and plastic water bottles. Then I realized they are garbage collectors. But why do Porteños put their trash baskets on poles? Well, there are several good reasons to put them up. Main reason: animals! Elevating the garbage baskets above ground is rat, cat, and most importantly dog-proof. There are so many hungry stray dogs that would otherwise spread the rubbish. Another reason to keep garbage off the ground is the heavy rain that occasionally floods the streets. Last but not least, a reason might be also that these baskets make it easy to spot recyclables, such as cardboard, paper, cans and bottles. There are thousands of trash pickers in Buenos Aires that make a living of what others dispose.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Futuristic Window Mannequins

Mannequins in a Shop Window in Buenos Aires, Argentina
I met these three young ladies in a boutique in Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, only one of the three was in the mood to strike a pose, the others just turned away when they saw the camera. They all appeared as if they were from the year 2081. Obviously the Argentine ideal of beauty must have strongly changed by then. Oversized eyes and extremely small snub noses in combination with a hypoplastic midface seem to be en vogue. Not to mention the other futuristic body modifications like the hook head. Their hairstyle, however, is more like a remembrance of the last century.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Smooth and Speedy Ride Home

Riding Home in a Colectivo with an Eerie Relaxed Bus Driver through the Streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina
When the wild bash is over coming home and going to bed is everything you want. Well, now you would die for living close to the club. As the party locations in Buenos Aires are too spread out living close would mean you have to rent an apartment or at least a room in almost every quarter.
While only reckless fools drive a car after drinking or ride with someone who was drinking, alternative means of locomotion must be found. A taxi would be an option but, frankly, it is only half as exciting as using the fancy colectivos. They are too swell to be refused and their drivers are even cooler. Take a look at this bus driver and let me tell you he was driving at breathtaking speed through the streets of Buenos Aires. But at least he was sober! (;

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Night Out in Buenos Aires

Clubbing in Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Any plans for tonight? How about a night out? Since Buenos Aires is buzzing with nightlife, you can basically expect everything from live music to dance performance, night theatre, bar hopping, clubbing, and so much more which makes the splendor of the night certainly appealing for every age. When it comes to clubbing you will find a very relaxed attitude and atmosphere. Buenos Aires has a great nightlife reputation and you can choose from a long list of clubs. The party crowd is a trendy sexy hodge-podge mix of just about every nationality in the world. So, get lost in translation and ready to enjoy an exciting nightlife.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Teatro Colón’s Ongoing Refurbishment

Teatro Colón Seen From Avenida Libertidad in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The world famous Buenos Aires opera house is under refurbishment for almost 3 years now. It closed in October 2006 and was slated to reopen 18 months later. But now 2009 is almost over and the Columbus Theatre is still closed. Nothing's gone according to plan. The renovations took longer than expected due to financial problems of Buenos Aires. Although the city is in real straits it kept the renovation humming. Anyway, it was announced that the Teatro Colón is scheduled to reopen in 2010. Let's see whether this goal can be met.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shooting Strangers Unintendedly

Man Ran into my Camera in San Telmo Buenos Aires, Argentina
Don't worry, he is still alive and so am I. Photographing strangers can admittedly be tough at times. You always have to be prepared for their reactions. Sometimes I ask them for permission, sometimes not. It depends on the situation, my mood, and the picture I'm going to shoot. Either I frame a photo carefully or I just shoot from the hip and hope for the best. The latter was the case with this snapshot. The unknown gentleman, however, ran straight into the picture without asking my permission. *g* I decided the grim look on his face was caused by the sun shining into his eyes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I is for Great Waters

Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat), Main Attraction of the Iguazú Falls in Argentina
Well, actually I'm referring to the greatest waterfalls on earth which lay on the border between Argentina and Brazil. The indigenous name is Iguazú which in English means "Great Waters". Iguazú is truly one of the most spectacular natural sights on the planet. The Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat), which you see in the picture, is formed like a horseshoe. It is roughly 150 meters wide, 700 meters long, and 80 meters high. The Iguazú waterfalls are much larger than you can see on this picture. It's virtually impossible to catch this place on one photo.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Working Hands: Fábrica de Pastas

Fábrica de Pastas: Handmade Pasta in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Making fresh pasta is not all that complicated. It involves typically only a few ingredients but all the more handwork which can be physically demanding on the hands and wrists. This gentleman certainly mastered making pasta from scratch. I so much enjoyed watching him handling the dough mass with his classic pasta machinery. Unfortunately, I just witnessed the penultimate steps - the extruding and drying. Yes, you guessed it, the fan is to dry the pasta.
It's truly amazing to see how food is coming into existence. I really appreciate good old handwork and the care that goes in it. Not to mention the trust it creates on the customer's side.

There's another Working Hands Post on Buenos Aires Perception:
Working Hands: Confitería Argentina

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rusty Iron Beams Left Over

Bare Steel Beams, Remains of a Balcony in an old Building Facade in Buenos Aires, Argentina
What has happened to the balconies of this house? Seems loose bricks and rotting concrete had finished them off. Just the bare steel beams remained. The house owner, obviously, is keeping all options open. He neither decided to tear down the steel beams nor to rebuild the balconies. Instead he installed wrought iron railings.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Live Elvis Presley Painting to Rock ’n’ Roll Music

Speed Painting Elvis Presley to Jailhouse Rock at the Feria de San Telmo Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sundays in San Telmo are for repeating the same ritual over and over again. It's Feria de San Telmo - a colorful bazaar with a lot of crafts and entertaining artists like the guy in the picture. He used a black man-sized sheet as a canvas to paint on it wildly with his fingers while a ghetto blaster was screaming Jailhouse Rock. Gradually, he turned his blank canvas into something that I could recognize as the portrait of the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Waiting In Line

Long Line at a Bus Stop in Avenida de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina
What are these people waiting for? All these ladies and gentlemen are standing patiently in line at the bus station waiting to get on the bus home. As a rule, be prepared for a crush of people around rush hour. Then it is most likely you will see insanely long lines for a colectivo, especially in the city center. In general you don't need to expect such huge queues but some routes seem to be more frequented than others. Riding the bus in Buenos Aires, however, is interesting and a great possibility to mingle with locals.

Friday, September 11, 2009

La Boca - Barrio Bonito?

Nike Barrio Bonito Advertising Mural La Boca Buenos Aires, Argentina
I have no idea how old this advertisement really is but it exemplifies the weird world of Nike. Calling the neighborhood of La Boca a beautiful quarter borders on cynical manipulation. When street crime is prevalent, environmental pollution is evident, and poverty is overwhelming, can this area still be called a Barrio Bonito? Well, this is something I personally cannot fathom. However old this advertising mural may be, the situation in La Boca existed long before. How far can marketing freaks live from reality?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gardeners at Chacarita Cemetery

Gardeners on a Small Ride in the La Chacarita Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina
It is almost impossible to say how many graves there are in the graveyard of Chacarita, but they are definitely many. At least this cemetery is enormous enough to be called a city, a city of deads. Well, maybe I should have asked these local cemetery gardeners. They are in charge of tending the graves and general gardening. They might know. These guys clean the graves from leaves and dead flowers. When I took the picture they were on their way to the next section to cut the grass and clean the paths of the largest cemetery in Buenos Aires. It seems these gentlemen really enjoyed the little ride and the environment in which they perform their job.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

H is for Happy Graffiti Scene

Grafitti in San Telmo by an Street Art Artist called LOUIS aka GROLOU in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Street art is all around in Buenos Aires. The scene is very vibrant and has some very gifted artists. Although not everyone is happy with graffiti in public places, the majority here seems to be easy-going when it comes to urban street art. Even the police have a laissez-faire position towards graffiti as long as it is not offensive, rude or contains any kind of slurs. Some even say you can paint the wall of a police station without getting into real trouble. Probably that's why private property is usually respected in Buenos Aires. Moreover, the creative output is mostly on a high level of quality and expression. The cheerful wall painting in the picture is to be found in San Telmo and was done by an artist called LOUIS aka GROLOU.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Estación Constitución - Southern Gateway to Buenos Aires

Constitution Square Station with Colectivos in the Constitución neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Plaza Constitución is the central travel hub for trains, buses and cabs in the south of Buenos Aires. This makes it one of the busiest areas if suburban traffic is concerned. Everywhere you see Argentineans catching one of the various commuter buses to get into the city's center or to their homes in the suburbs. The pink building is the train and underground station Constitución. It was built in the late 19th century to cope with the increasing suburban traffic due to rising immigration. From here you can travel further south by train to destinations like Mar del Plata and Bahia Blanca, for instance. At day the area is insanely crowded, loud, and at least to some extent chaotic. At night this place is best avoided.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Oblique Lorea Caffé

Lorea Caffé Logo in Oblique Perspective Totally Squeezed between Two Air Conditioners in Buenos Aires, Argentina
I guess signs appeal to humans because they speak to our senses as well as to our intellects. In general, signs do not have meanings per se. It's people that have meanings for signs. Thus signs are differently perceived by different people. This filigree café logo, however, had a distinct meaning and appealed to me in several ways. One very simple reason was my desire for coffee that was about to be satisfied. Coffee was within reach!
Another reason was the logo was so helplessly squeezed between these two monstrous air conditioners, so I had to photograph it. Not to worry poor little sign, I recognized you. (;

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Stencil Mass Media Critique

The Shit of Today is the Fertilizer of Tomorrow: Mass Media Critique Stencil in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The shit of today is the fertilizer of tomorrow. Wow, what a strong statement and so many ways to interpret the message behind the stencil. The bottom line seems clear enough, nothing is as bad as there isn't something good in it — be it just to serve as raw material to produce a good fertilizer. In my understanding the stencil refers to the concentration in the mass media landscape and the uniform opinion that comes with it. Those newspapers ain't good for nothing but to work up a massive ****. What's your comprehension?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pouring Rain

Colorful Reflection of the Exterior Lighting of a McDonald's Restaurant after the Rain in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Rain is not only a simple matter of pouring water splatting and drooling down over heads and rooftops. Rain is precious, making Buenos Aires so calm and peaceful. The sound it creates mutes the noises of the ever so hectic city at least for a brief moment. I enjoy this transient silence. Abruptly, nobody is out there anymore except for cars. The streets get cleaned, pedestrians look for shelter and vehicles compose this distinctive watery melody. As soon as the rain stops, the city recovers to the former bustle.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Chess and the City

Chessboard integrated in a Stone Bench in a Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Besides football, chess is a very popular leisure activity in Argentina. For those who love to do this mental sport in public places, there are plenty of possibilities in Buenos Aires. In many parks you will find chess boards placed on park benches or tables. So all you need to play this subtle game of kings and pawns are the chess pieces, a ruthless strategy and tactics and most importantly a chess mate. Also worth mentioning is that Argentina has spawned several notable world class chess players like grandmasters Oscar Panno and Julio Bolbochán that brought fame to the country and popularity to chess.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Argentina Jeopardy

View on the Cityscape of Rosario from the Tower of the National Flag Monument, Argentina
You are looking at the third-largest city in Argentina which is only five car hours away from Buenos Aires. The city that lies on the Parana River in the province of Santa Fe is considered the cradle of Argentina's national banner. A great way to observe the cityscape is from the tower of its famous landmark, a patriotic monument that was built to honor Argentina's flag and its creator General Manuel Belgrano. What else do we know about this city? The famous/infamous Ernesto 'Che' Guevara was born here. Students appreciate the opportunity to choose from more than ten national colleges and enjoy the vivid nightlife that comes with them.
Have you guessed the city yet?

¿oıɹɐsoɹ sı ʇɐɥʍ

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Frugal Society

Sustainability the Argentinian Way: Old Printing Press in Buenos Aires, Argentina
I suppose the frugal society is an ideal breeding ground for sustainability. Sustainability, in a nutshell, is the principle of an economic system that suits the demands of today without burdening future generations. In most high-tech societies where the maximization of revenue is the strongest economic impetus the buy and trash cycles become shorter and shorter. Hence, times are tough for the traditional gadgets. Not so in Argentina. It is truly fascinating what large numbers of old machinery you can find in daily life in Buenos Aires. Traditional machines that surely have seen better days which are still kept functioning and resilient like this old printing press. For sure, a certain adversity has unintentionally built a frugal society and forces people to be more prudent and more rational in their planning and spending.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

T-Bone Steak BIG as Hell

Carnivore Argentina: Big T-Bone Steak in a Buenos Aires' Restaurant
Argentina is where steaks are an art form. What you definitely can expect from Buenos Aires are prime steaks and meats in a lot of restaurants. This BIG one on the plate is the classic T-bone 800 gr. (1.76 lbs) garnished with some French fries. That grilled T-bone steak is BIG enough to feed a family of four hence you can imagine how hard it is to eat it all alone. What a waste! What else can I say? Size does matter and BIG is king when it comes to steaks! There's something else BIG to report: the estimated beef consumption. Well, the average Argentinean eats 68 kg (150 lbs) of red meat per year which makes Argentina the most carnivore nation on earth.

You may have already guessed it by now - this month's theme day topic is BIG. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants