The Rio Delta is very different in colour from the Atlantic, the sea goes from sparkling azure to brown and sludgy on the way up to Buenos Aires. Docking at the port takes AGES. The ship that has been stalking us (MSC cruise line) was already set up and disembarking when we arrived.
The tug boats pulled us into a densely packed area thick with green foliage, like a huge floating football field. It must have been at least a metre deep. It was crackling audibly as we were pulled through it. Lots of swooping black martens, swallows and tiny exotic birds darted angrily from their nests on the water like flying arrows.
The port crew then dropped one of the guiding ropes and eight men stood around for ten minutes wondering how they were going to retrieve it. Finally a fork lift truck delivered a long pole with a hook on the end and after further fiddling about the rope was caught and we breathed a sigh of relief.
The roads to traverse in Buenos Aires are the widest I have ever seen. It was like crossing a double motorway and you have to move pretty fast to cross as the traffic is hurtling towards you. There are some amazing old style trucks here – think DUEL- imported from USA. They have most likely been rocking around since the 50’s.
We soon found our way to the shopping area (ahem) Calle Florida where I bought a pair of silver glitter platforms (think early Spice Girls) for the equivalent of £11. Everyone in Buenos Aires wears platforms. We ate Argentinian Steak and chips at 11 Gran Caffe. Mr B bought a belt and wallet from a lovely lady in a shop in one of the arcades. I bought a silver cross body bag. Leather is really cheap in Argentina but great quality. I also bought a picture book about Eva Peron which had been hilariously translated into English. I would like to read more about her as she was an interesting individual.
There were beggars in the streets who sent out their kids to beg. There was one angelic little girl who must have been about 4, she had a little worn green bag around her neck worn across her body, plastic flip flops that were two sizes too big, leggings and a plain cotton smock dress. As she asked for money she absentmindedly curled up the corners on the menus repeating her request over and over almost in a dreamlike state.
It was so heartbreaking, her little face, hair unbrushed, floating from table to table like a butterfly with a damaged wing.
She got some cash from people and she calmly stuffed it into her bag. As she played nervously with her bag repeating her mantra, a low value coin dropped out onto the pavement and she hastily picked it up, slipping it back in. Mr B told me that he had seen the grotesquely fat mother who was carrying another baby on her hip screaming at her kids to get more money.
It was truly heartbreaking and it did bring tears to my eyes especially when I saw another little girl, same age, but well dressed, holding her daddy’s hand going shopping. It made me think how the lottery of life can be so cruel sometimes.
We had booked that evening for a tango and meal event. It was brilliant although the meal was a little shambolic as they rushed to get the food out before the show began and then some meat came out tough, mine was delicious, but the young Brazilian girl next to me sent hers back and then had to eat it in the dark as the show had started.
She was very sweet and was very proud to practice her excellent english on me during our meal. Mr B thought this was quite funny as she was chattering away and asking me so many questions I could hardly eat my dinner. We were sat with some frightfully friendly Americans who asked me what English people really thought about Obama. I thought it was a funny question but then quickly changed the subject as I don’t like talking about politics during dinner it always gives me indigestion. Plus I had Mr B with me, who is an excellent person to have next to you as he knows interesting things about interesting subjects so can always get the conversation flowing almost as fast as the wine.
The story of Tango is fascinating.
It was brought over by immigrants from Italy, Spain and France and the African slaves and their wonderful dances and music. It started with the men dancing (fighting) with knives usually over women and then the prostitutes started to partner up and dance with the men. The sons of aristocracy wanted to dance with the prostitutes but high society wouldn’t accept it so the young men took the prostitutes to dance in Paris where it became adored and accepted by all members of society, especially the upper echelons. Once it had been embraced by high society in Paris, it was easy to import back into Buenos Aires and the elite accepted it and it became part of Argentina’s history.
There are many stories of how Tango originated I am relaying the one we were told en route to the venue.