Saturday, March 15, 2008

Horton hears a what?

Today was a ridiculously nice day. The sun shone brightly, but not with the blazing intensity of January. It was warm, but not too warm. The sky was clear. A breeze blew ever so slightly. . . . which is more than this post will blow if I keep writing about the weather. But I'm just saying. It was frickin' awesome today.

Hey, so, as of 12:01 a.m. Sunday, we're back on our normal time zone. Two weeks ago we were four hours ahead of Chicago and now we'll be down to only two hours ahead. Crazy, huh?

Wow. I swear. The time zone here is just like the weather. If you don't like it, wait a little while and it'll change!

Right now, in order to force my computer into the right time zone, I have to set it to think it's someplace called Grytviken. I'm not making that up.

OK. Geez. You know what? I'm really sorry.

It's obvious, isn't it? I'm sort of avoiding the elephant in the room.

It's just that I don't even know what to say about the latest NY Times article on Buenos Aires.

Le sigh. The spirit is willing but the snark is weak.

Hey, speaking of elephants in the room — because I was, unless you skipped that paragraph — I saw that "Horton Hears A Who!" came out. And the first question that came to mind was how they were going to translate the movie title into Spanish. There are posters up all over the city so I didn't have to wonder for long. It's "Horton y el mundo de los quien". That's "Horton and the World of the Who."

Meh. I mean, it was never going to be the same, was it?

* * *

I want to recommend a place to get breakfast, but first I want to tell you what happened when I went this morning for a bite to eat.

The door was locked, which is not that strange because some businesses ask you to knock or get buzzed in as a security precaution. But the door to this place isn't always locked, and so I struggled with the handle before I caught the eye of a woman inside.

She walked over to the door and, failing to conceal mild contempt, told me that it was locked. Then she opened it for me.

I smiled and shrugged as if to say, "Huh! I'm such a boludo!"

I grabbed a magazine from the rack and took a seat. The young woman reached for a menu but I stopped her by politely telling her my order.

She could barely tolerate my request for a café con leche and three medialunas, and it showed in her face.

She brought out my coffee and served me three medialunas from a tray sitting in the window. I added my usual amount of sugar to the coffee cup and took a sip. It was shockingly strong, espresso with the merest suggestion of steamed milk on top. I added more sugar, but it didn't do any good.

I considered what that much espresso would do to my insides and set the cup aside. . . .

. . . which is when I realized that she hadn't brought my sparkling water. Not that I had ordered any. But café con leche normally comes with a small glass of sparkling water. Except this time.

Hey, but listen. This place is usually great for breakfast. Good medialunas. Bread baked on site. Excellent coffee. Nice selection of magazines and newspapers. Cool atmosphere. Not crowded.

You should stop by for breakfast. Maybe not for lunch or dinner. But for breakfast. It's called Masamadre es con M and it's at Olleros 3891.

Good luck!

* * *

Maybe you're wondering if there's anything that's changed now that I am down to my last couple of weeks in BsAs. I can see, say, having a list of things I want to see or do before I leave.

But I have dispatched with that whole ordeal by telling myself that I'll be back somehow or another before too long and, really, there's enough to see here for two lifetimes. So trying to fit anything extraordinary in two weeks would be a little silly. I'll just see what comes my way.

So, no. The only difference between the me of now and the me of a few months ago is that now I am spending my pile of coins with reckless abandon!

¿Que si tengo monedas? ¡Me sobran monedas, che!

* * *

Before I hit the farmers market this morning, I stopped off at Chacarita for some shots of the cemetery. I stitched together the panoramic photo at the top of this entry. It does an all-right job of giving you perspective on the place, but still falls short.

As always, you can click on the image to enlarge. If you scroll to the right, there's a woman walking in the shadow, which will give you a sense of scale.

* * *

There are different rules for public display of affection here. Maybe I should say that there is only one rule: Display as much affection in public as you can and display it with your tongue.

The idea is not new to me. I've seen it here, obviously. And it was all over the place in Spain.


Today I took a crowded bus back from Chinatown.

A young couple got on the bus and then proceeded to maul each other inches from my face for the duration of the 40-minute bus ride.

I am not a prude. And I don't wish my frigid northern sensibilities upon the warm Latin peoples.

But it was making me a little nervous. Part of me wanted to turn a hose on them and scream "NO! If the bus hits a bump, you're going to bite off her tongue!"


Anonymous said...

I'm glad I don't have to mention the NYT article now. When I read things like that I ask myself, how many times can the same text be repackaged, sold & reprinted for the public? Le sigh indeed.

Esteban said...

Wow, what a hodgepodge of a post (not that there's anything wrong with that)!

So I basically walked away with the following conclusions:

1) anyone who takes an interest in the latest cliché NYT article deserves the rotten service they get from the cafe you recommended; and

2) you're not going to wag your tongue up and down the city before you go because you can do that anytime upon your return in the future.

Was that the gist of it? Honestly, I liked how you wrote it better, though. ;)

BTW, nice panorama of Chacarita; very Frank Gehry. My still present cemetery tan flared pinkish at the sight of it.

Matt said...

I don't see your problem with such a well researched, original and, most importantly, timely article. It's certainly unlike anything I've read before about Buenos Aires. And with deep and intelligent quotes such as “There’s definitely something happening here”, it gives an insight into the city that other people (for example, expat bloggers) could simply neverget.

Or is it that you're just jealous you didn't think of re-writing EVERY SINGLE STORY ABOUT BUENOS AIRES FOR THE LAST 5 FRIGGING YEARS and selling it to the NYTimes as an original? After all, if this blog tells us anything (if), lazy journalism is your bag. ja.ja.ja.

Dan said...

There were a lot of things about that NYT piece that struck me, but on a nitty-gritty level, one thing was that it recommended eating at . . . Olsen! There's nothing terribly wrong with Olsen (or there wasn't when I was there three years ago), but they recommended it in February 2007.

And for accommodation, it recommended Home . . . which they suggested in their piece on Buenos Aires in December 2007. I guess we can conclude that it's still a good place to stay? Couldn't they have mentioned one of the other bazillion bed and breakfasts in Palermo? There are more B&Bs in that neighborhood than piles of dog crap or gay tourists. Almost.

I can feel a rant coming on, so I'm going to cut myself off before I really get going. I'll just say that it would never have occurred to me to pitch a story about Boedo or about what a great, hip expat destination Buenos Aires is. And I guess that explains why I write a lot more blog posts than travel articles.

Whole thing makes me a little queasy.

Sarah said...

OMG, remember how excited we were when they had bagels at Olsen, Dan?!! What a great lunch - but definitely bittersweet b/c it was in my final days living in BsAs :(

Dan said...

I 'member. I'm pretty sure it was your very last day here.

serenity said...

you know, the German translation of the title-giving movie was "Horton hört ein Huh" which means "Horton hears a Huh" and does not make any sense in German either, and there is a phonetic similarity between "Huh" and "Huhn," which means chicken. So it sounds like "Horton hears a chicke" .... random.