Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina! I am currently traveling South America and thus unable to update as frequently as usual. Enjoy an excerpt from a mass email update to my family and friends, and check back in August for tales of my adventures south of the equator.
on a cloudy day here in the city, my love and i are curled up against the chill in our little apartment (reading and computing, respectively). after a long but painless overnight flight from new york two weeks ago with my best friend, christa, we took a taxi into the city to settle into our rooms. she stayed with a friend from college, while i stayed with my boyfriend just a brisk ten minute's walk away. we're on the seventh floor of an apartment building in palermo viejo, the bohemian chic neighborhood of BsAs (buenos aires). graffiti and cafes abound, as well as plenty of bars and pubs where locals and expats alike can get their flirt on to a mix of argentine and american radio hits. it does resemble any other metropolitan city... a little barcelona, a little turin, a little san francisco, characterised of course by its own language (castellano is spoken here, not spanish) and local specialties on the handwritten bar menus (cafe + medialuna = small coffee + croissant is an inexpensive breakfast favorite). still, i can't shake the feeling that i've seen this city before, walked the broad avenues and large streets, admired her green parks that manage to flourish within the monstrous concrete sprawl, drunk her coffee at an outside table and watched her elderly struggle to simply open a newspaper. this is story of humanity in the modern international city.
the botanical garden near our house is peaceful on a sunny day and recalls that era i love so dearly, of greenhouse conservatories and manic scientific labelling of species, genus, and types. i've walked through countless artisan markets that occur on various days in each and every neighborhood - big sunday fairs in recoleta, small weekday vendors in belgrano, one or two people selling outside of a restaurant in the microcentro - admiring artists' handiwork and thinking wistfully of all the beauty that i myself might spread into the world. i was really impressed by the famous recoleta cemetery with tombs so tall and clustered so closely to resemble a weird marble victorian town whose wealthy and kindly inhabitants have all been called urgently away, leaving the narrow avenues hushed and vacant. very strange sensations there.
i think we'll really experience something new when we leave the city. we've rented this place for four weeks, at the end of which we've sketched out seven weeks of travel around the continent before returning to buenos aires for the flight home. he and i will take a train up the northwestern part of argentina to salta, where he has some friends who offered to host us; from there it's a quick train or bus ride to the salt flats of bolivia, where there are natural hot springs, with a view of the andes! we're planning to stay a week in each spot. then up through bolivia to cusco, peru, where some friends are putting on the second annual open-air festival in the sacred valley of the Incas, a four day celebration of mother earth, love, light, and community. we hope to get a group of festival-goers together to hike macchu picchu. we'll take the last week of august to travel back down the eastern side of argentina, past iguazu falls, and back to the city for one last hurrah before coming back stateside.
in general good health and spirits. very relaxed. nice to be with my love once again, rediscovering one another and admiring each one's respective life journey. we might not be going the same direction after this, but we're certainly on the same path right now and intend to enjoy every minute. what fun!
blessings and hugs to everyone at home,