Friday, October 12, 2007

Hey, look at the poverty here!

This afternoon I took the subway downtown to the Casa de Cultura to pick up a book I needed. The Casa de Cultura (above) is a handsome building on a grand block of Avenida de Mayo, an avenue that stretches out from the plaza of the same name. The plaza is home to the Casa Rosada.

But I digress.

The weather this week has been craptacular. Slate gray and dank. Not the kind of weather I would want to go walking around in.

Unfortunately, the Casa de Cultura did not have the book I wanted. So the nice man behind the counter sent me to another address. I showed up, but . . . you know what? Suffice it to say that if I'm lucky, finding this book will only take all of next week.

Meanwhile, my quixotic quest had me on the subte quite a bit.

The rain must have forced a lot of the wandering salesmen underground, into the subway. Because it really was quite the cavalcade.

Competing for my pocket change today were people selling:

  • Band-aids
  • A power strip
  • Cell phone cards (of seriously dubious origin)
  • Sheets of Disney stickers
  • Tissues
  • A carrying case for my CDs
  • Cards with saints on them
  • A flashlight
There were also a few blind guys asking for coins. It was unclear what I would have gotten if I had given money to them.

Everybody was right on top of one another. And, you know, clearly if you're selling tissues or bandages on the subway, it's probably not because you had a lot of other options and decided that this was the career path for you! And a lot of the people selling this crap are just kids. So it was a little sad.

At one point there were two salesmen hawking their wares and a blind guy giving his spiel when the blind guy stopped, chuckled and said to one of the sellers: "¡Che, mirá la miseria que hay acá!" ("Hey, look at the poverty here!")

I guess it helps to have a sense of humor about it.

Mind you, this is taking place in the same subte that has installed — wait for it — Wi-Fi throughout the system.

Yeah, I can see that.

Because half the people here don't have a pot to piss in, but we need wireless broadband in the subway.

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