[Picture not mine. Just what I saw. Picture is from this website.]
The past couple of days have been exhaustingly fulfilling. As a fan of informal lifestyles, I seem to have found my niche here, in Buenos Aires. As an active anti-state, anti-coporation, and anti-religion population, the people have the will to find many different ways to do things.
For example, here they have no recycling programs. It's not really at the top of their priority list right now. Thus, they have guys riding around throughout all hours of the night rooting through garbage just to find glass and plastic. After, they take their loot to the recycling plants. No corporation or municipality pays them. It pays itself. The will to do something seems to occur everywhere.
Yesterday, Jameson and I met up with Naty, one of the ladies who owns our apartment. She lives in a barrio called Las Canitas, just north of Palermo. Naty wants to learn English. Jameson and I need to learn Spanish, or castellano as they call it here. So, the three of us met for coffee at El Clasico. She told us that she was paying native English speakers to teach her the language. Apparently, when they got the amount of money needed, they just stopped showing up to teach her. What better way to informally learn than to exchange language for language. She has a skill we need and we have a skill she wants. Barter and trade.
Almost 3 hours later, we realize it's going to be dark soon and we still have to meet up with Maggy. Three hours of listening to Spanish, doing internal translating (I was told that's bad), and no food made for a bad headache. So we said our farewells and see-you-soons and walked just south of Las Canitas to Palermo Hollywood. It was dark when we got home and the pastel de papas (essentially, sheperd's pie) was sitting heavy. In a good way. So we all went to bed early so that we could wake up early to rent some bikes to tour the city with.
Thus, being the first to rise at the break of 10am, I went and did some errands. Got back, grabbed the comrades and went around the corner to get the bikes. Ten pesos (around $2.50CA) an hour per bike. Not bad. I guess the inexpensiveness is what you get when you go to a bike shop instead of a tourist centre. At the tourist centre, the people actually organize a tour. You have to do what they recommend for you to do. How about an informally paid business man giving us 3 bikes and saying "I close at 7pm"? Not bad.
To Puerto Madero we rode, at 2 in the afternoon. UV index of 11. Didn't I say I learned my lessons about siestas? Nonetheless, we checked out an ecological reserve located in Puerto Madero and it was beautiful. We rode straight across to reach the water, the massive river-delta where Bs. As. shares its shore. I have never seen anything like it before. Brown as far as the eye can see. Acting much like an ocean with waves and wind and dead-fowl stench. But, not. It looked more like a bigger version of the Mekong: a giant mud puddle. Although it wasn't magical or serene, it was definitely interesting. Especially looking towards the city. Trees, marsh, cranes, grass, condos, skyscrapers, cranes, a dirty haze.
Arriving back home, it is time for my afternoon coffee. I think I need a little pick-me-up after the sun charred my body. Until next time, comrades.