Whoever said that you never really know a city was right. I’m still discovering new aspects and parts of Buenos Aires, even though I lived there for over thirty years. Maybe that’s why there are so many places I haven’t seen: one tends to take one’s hometown for granted.
My birthday was in early November and since it was a big one (the dreaded four-oh), I decided to throw the mother of all parties in BA with friends and family. Two of our friends from Dallas, David and Kelly, decided to join the celebration. How kind and sweet of them. It was their first visit to the city and Sean and I acted as their guides, sort of. It was thanks to them that I knew a little more about my hometown.
One day we decided to walk around San Telmo and meet at Plaza Dorrego (intersection of Humberto Primero and Defensa streets). We were early so we sat down to enjoy a coffee al fresco. Actually, I had coffee and Sean had a submarino, a tall glass of hot milk and a chocolate bar. You drop the chocolate bar in the milk (the submarine) and stir it until it melts. Predictably, a couple of tango dancers set up shop in the middle of the plaza and passed the hat around after their number. I must confess that this was my second tango show.
Our friends joined us and set off. We were walking along Defensa Street when I spotted a sign pointing to the Casa Minima. I ran to see it. The Casa Minima (Pasaje San Lorenzo 380), as this construction is known, is the narrowest house in the city of Buenos Aires: it is only 2.5 metres (8.2 feet) wide. According to an urban legend, it belonged to a freed slave, who built in in the sliver of land his former master had given him. However, city records show that it was part of a larger house, converted to tenements after the yellow fever epidemic of 1871. Oh well, it was a romantic story anyway.
Then we walked along the Paseo de la Historieta, or Comic Lane, also in San Telmo. The local council decided to erect statues of the most popular and beloved characters from famous comic books and strips that delighted generations of Argentinean children and adults. It’s work in progress still, but I was able to take my photo with some of them: Mafalda (corner of Defensa and Chile), Larguirucho (corner of Balcarce and Mexico) and my favourite playboy, Isidoro (Balcarce and Chile).
The final destination of our walk, Plaza de Mayo, was awash in purple: the jacaranda trees were in full bloom, the loveliest sight in spring in this part of the world.