Tango in New York City

Looking for a tango partner, read the Craigslist ad. I’d been in Buenos Aires a few months and was searching for the same. He was originally from New York, living in Argentina for … reasons he’d not want me to mention. We became good friends. “I don’t want to visit New York until you’re back…

Taxi Cabs and Rip-offs

After twelve days at a spiritual retreat in Abadiania, Brazil I was looking forward to getting home to Buenos Aires. I hooked up with an Australian couple from the retreat to share a taxi into el Centro. When asked about the taxi situation in BsAs I assured them that in all my time here I…

Bank Holiday

It was my fault. I waited until the last minute to exchange travelers cheques into Brazilian reais. I stopped first at the American Express office, only to find that it was a bank holiday. It wasn’t the anniversary of anyone’s birthday, death, nor independence. It was just a day to close the banks – because…

Day Trip to Colonia, UY

On the Calle de Suspiros is the tiny Galería de Suspiros which, like all the other buildings on this Portuguese-style cobble-stone ‘street of sighs’, used to be a brothel. The paint has faded since last year when I first was in Colonia but the interior, which I had never seen, comes alive with floor to…

Retail Inefficiency

I admit that I’m a bit Obsessive/Compulsive when it comes to efficiency. I don’t see any point in expending more time and energy than is required to get a job done. This appears to be a city, country, culture (not sure how far it goes) built on inefficiency. I’ve gotten used to what appear to…

El Día del Amigo*

In a city that worships friendship, connecting regularly is the norm among most porteños. In past years, fear of incarceration or death kept Argentines from gathering and there was little to celebrate while loved ones were disappearing. But, with increased political and economic stability, el Día del Amigo has become another excuse to exchange small…

El Zanjón* / San Telmo

It is surreal to me that I would be living on the primero piso of a conventillo on Calle Defensa where nuns once nursed those dying of cholera in the 1800s. This is one of 500 tenement houses in the San Telmo barrio. We are situated between the Edea Galeria (where last August I had…

Travel Advisory

When you mention that you’re traveling to South America you get looks of concern for your safety. Banditos, guerrillas and drug lords will no doubt have their eyes on you. La policia will stop you at blockades and threaten you for cash. You will be expected to bribe your way out of every confrontation. Keep…

Recoleta Cemetery

At 1800 hours the bell tolls and the gate to La Ciudad de los Muertos is closed. They lock up the dead. They put chains and padlocks on the door to each eternal home—to keep . . . someone . . . from getting out—or . . . someone . . . from getting in.…