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.

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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.

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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.