Buenos Aires: Living In A City Of Passion (And The Comedown)

Friday, June 3, 2011

I remember when I first walked the streets of San Telmo — a neighborhood in Buenos Aires — and becoming hyper aware that I was no longer in North America. The people, the architecture, the steak, the all-night partying was all very grandiose. The young ladies talking loudly on their phones, the groups of guys making theatrical jokes on the buses, the people in line at the bar gesticulating wildly. For the first couple of months, I felt very small.

I read this recent article in The Telegraph about an author’s experience in the city rumored to be of passion, pessimism and drama. When it came down to life and relationships, one porteño described how in Buenos Aires, “We don’t have a middle road . . . We love or we hate.”

It’s black and white, yes or no, straightforward and to the point. It’s bold and it knows what it wants. It appears to have confidence. And I wonder why and think that perhaps it is something in the air. As the author describes, “[T]he real magic of the city lies in something essentially Latin. Trying to discover just what that something is can be the most fascinating part of a visit.”

Trying to live through it was almost a sensory overload. The energy of a city so intense leaves you permanently elevated. In the beginning, it was funny and flattering. Some days I would get dizzy with the frustration of trying to hold a conversation with some porteños for longer than an hour. Towards the end of my stay in the city, it just was what it was. Like the article implied, if sitting at a bar, the men do “throw themselves at you,” but if you are uninterested they leave just as quickly.

Eventually, living in this kind of atmosphere did prickle me a little. And like all good cities, when you live with it, you take the bad with the good (alas, no city is perfect). Sometimes, the imperfections (like lack of interest in clean streets and a functional recycling program), are the tiny details that can be worked on. What matters is if it has a good heart.

Now, since moving back to North America, rifling through pictures of my home to the south, it’s those small imperfections that I miss. And the comedown gets harder every time.

By Brit Weaver


About the Author

Toronto born and based, Brit is an avid leisure cyclist, coffee drinker and under-a-tree park-ist. She often finds herself meandering foreign cities looking for street eats to nibble, trees to climb, a patch of grass to sit on, or a small bookstore to sift through. You can find her musing life on her personal blog, TheBubblesAreDead.wordpress.com.

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