Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Goin downtown...

We went to one of the cultural centers for a puppet show, and found out back a circus tent with people practicing on the high wire... circus is big down here ... a big revival world wide I think, thanks to cirque du soleil ... we have spied circus workshops in old factory buildings all over town, seen agile folks shimming up long stretchy cloths in the park trees... jugglers and clowns come out and preform for waiting cars at big intersections... the city seems to focus more on promoting art and culture than on fixing potholes and bad sidewalks...they reduce rent and taxes to property owners who hold an event or workshop. This whole cultural center, in barracas, does all the art theatricals exclusively... circus acrobatics, mime, puppetry, movement improv, musical theater ... its a really interesting place. The buildings were once an estancia, wide open air balconies, open but covered stable facilities for thirty plus horses. These are still intact looking like an open air stable, with a stage and seating in the middle. This is a neighborhood we are seriously looking at as our next place. In a dozen blocks, right by the river, lots of combination living and light industrial buildings, plenty available and far enough upstream that the river is quite clean.

... a shot from the top floor, fifth floor of the downtown university of buenos aires, housing the schools of language and philosophy. I spent a month here for first spanish classes. It, (unfortunately no photo) is a huge magisterial structure with twenty foot ceilings for the first two

floors, sweeping marble staircases, sixty by sixty foot mezzanines and is, unfortunately, the case with public buildings in serious disrepair, but what a place it must have been. This photo is looking east to Puerto Madera, the huge river right beyond, and the trees and park like area below is the landing zone for the presidential helicopter. The residence and offices etc. for the presidential couple, pink house it's called here, is a block to the right.

Out the same window looking the other direction, some of the dense downtown business district. There are actually apartments to be had here, some very inexpensive and quite nice, but you're living in a zoo. Millions of pedestrians on the narrowest of sidewalks, lots of bus traffic, tons of delivery motorcycles, it's really exhausting for us to spend even one hour going to just a couple of places. The building in the center low part of photo is the Chinese trade delegations permanent home. I'm not sure how, but lots of business gets conducted in this madhouse. With this mass of people, there are probably twelve restaurants per block, all surprisingly good and inexpensive and contrary to the Argentine norm, fast and efficient service is the order of the day. Of course, for the heavyweights of the business world are the small, tucked away bistros where a two hour business lunch is a couple hundred bucks, that's dollars. I'll wait for some heavyweight to invite me before commenting on the quality of the food in a place so exalted. Just had a call from our Portland pals, Malia and Jason who are just now, in a taxi in front of our place here for a two week visit. i get to be a bit of a tour guide and that sounds like fun.

Jamye has been working on this piece for a few months now.. its in homage to all the centuries of artisans who beatified rugs and tiles and cloth and everything around them with tiny repeat design...

and here's to more dogs in the park and more good meals!

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