Saturday -Mental soundtrack -> The KLF -China Clipper day at SFO! Pan Am 4ever. -LAN is officially my new favorite airline. Brand new planes, warm blankets, excellent food on real china, great entertainment, helpful flight attendants and top-notch customer service. Virgin can suck it. -Running through the Lima airport to make my connecting flight. -Dramamine: my wonder knock-out drug.
Sunday -Mental soundtrack -> Caetano Veloso -Goodbye Bay Area winter, hello Buenos Aires summer. -The wonderful and charming Casa Las Cañitas, who fed my jet-lagged self a lovely breakfast and got me oriented in the neighborhood while I waited for my room to be ready. -That first walk through a new city, the glorious sensory overload. -Banana lassi + a veggie thali + a shot of chai at Krishna. -Unbelievable street art on every available wall. -Brightly-painted buses that whistle like they're catcalling you when they're about to stop. -The cheap and easy Subte, that got me wherever I needed to go and pretty efficiently too. -Piles of art and antiques for sale at the giant Feria de San Telmo plus street performers, a drum parade, and tango so emotionally authentic I finally understood why people get addicted. -A "chico" cone of orange + lemon ice creams that was still piled almost six inches high. -I love a city that stays alive after night falls. -Ginger ade + mushroom stir-fry with chilies and coconut milk over rice + a glass of vino tinto at Bio. -Unrusting my Spanish. -Luxuriating in a warm rain storm on the walk home. -Late-night alfajores.
Monday -Mental soundtrack -> Menomena -Medialunas + café con leche: my new breakfast obsession. -A twisty, windy walk from Plaza de Mayo to Congreso. -The Plaza itself, where so many protests take place they just keep the barricades on hand. -A Quilmes + a mozzarella and tomato pizzetta at Café Tortoni. -Hipsters in Pavement tees from the show the night before. No luck bumping into the band themselves though. -Chocolate + tropical fruit ice creams at Heladería Cadore. -Total splurge on real tango shoes at Darcos. But oh what shoes. -Little bit challenging finding a place open for dinner on a holiday Monday. Had a nice walk in the gloaming around Barrio Norte though. -Vino tinto + a veggie quesadilla at Las Cholas. -Found the Dutch pub right around the corner from my hotel. Random... -Did I mention Casa Las Cañitas keeps a plate of chocolate chip cookies in the lobby?
Tuesday -Mental soundtrack -> The New Pornographers -Holiday over, dog walkers out in abundance. -A day of death, art, and shopping. -First, beautiful death at Cementerio de la Recoleta full of elegant statuary, friendly feral cats, and that tickle I get at the back of my neck whenever I'm around coffins and crypts. Oh yeah, Evita's buried there too. -Curried vegetable rice bowl + fresh orange-mango juice at Tea Connection. -The amazing permanent collection at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, especially the Argentine artists on the second floor. A special exhibition on Ernesto Deira, Rómulo Macció, Luis Felipe Noé and Jorge de la Vega totally rocked, and I got a little watery in their photography show about Nelson Mandela too. -Dulce de leche ice cream + a bubbly water on the patio of La Biela. Too hot for a beer, if you can believe. -If I make it through this week without stepping in dog poop or getting hit by a bus I will feel very accomplished indeed. -Grilled margherita pizza + vino tinto at Morelia.
Wednesday -Mental soundtrack -> Warpaint -Reading The Anthologist in my spare moments. Nicholson Baker makes an excellent traveling companion. -The women of Buenos Aires: totally trying to make the harem pants trend work. More power to 'em. -Fantastic all-female group show Me Gustan Chicas at Planeta Cubico curated by Cesar Abelenda. Especially loved Teresa Pereda's earth pieces. -Recursos Infantiles tragically closed, newspaper on the windows and with no sign of a forwarding address. -Reams and reams of beautiful books and paper products at Papelera Palermo. -Cheese ravioli in mushroom sauce + ginger-mint lemonade at La Esquina de las Flores. -I make the Argentinians laugh with my Dutch punctuality. -An afternoon walk through the heart of Buenos Aires, including a tour through the grandeur of Palacio Paz. -Consumerist overload at Galerías Pacífico offset by incongruous real-art ceiling murals and the Borges Center on the fourth floor. -The newly-renovated Teatro Colón, where no English tours are currently given but I asked nice and got a peek inside anyway. -A café con leche at Café Richmond. -The opening of Marlok's Sweet Candy Aparition at Galeria Ruth Benzacar complete with the artist herself dolled up and welcoming porteños while sucking on a lollipop. -Vino tinto + a Japanese vegetable stir-fry + dulce de leche-filled crepes with ice cream on top at Novecento.
Thursday -Mental soundtrack -> Sleigh Bells -Not only are the buskers genuinely good on the Subte, the passengers actually applaud them and freely give them money. -Historical saunter through San Telmo, ending up in the hidden tunnels under the neighborhood at El Zanjón de Granados. -Headed toward El Hipopótamo for a café con leche I stumbled into Disquería Eureka instead and they pulled out their boxes of old 7-inches for me and yeah there went the time. -Spinach tagliatelle with roasted vegetables + coffee flan at Origen. -Vino tinto + crispy spring rolls + veggie yaki udon + lemon cheesecake with blueberry sauce at Bokoto. Happy Thanksgiving to me.
Friday -Mental soundtrack -> Aeroplane -A Quilmes + an eggplant foam amuse-bouche + grilled scallops with tomato salsa + rhubarb and fresh berry crumble with cream in the restaurant in Iglesia Santa Catalina. -A dockside stroll through Puerto Madero and then a tramp through Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, totally worth it in 90-degree heat just for the views of Río de la Plata. That's one fucking big river. -Vino tinto + pumpkin ravioli in thyme cream sauce + a wee lemon meringue pie in a glass at the Museo Evita restaurant. -Still 80 degrees at night. -A woman dropping her groceries to feed the stray cats in Plaza Italia. -Following the sound of a trumpet down the Subte platform to where a young man was playing with two other friends, they on guitar and snare drum.
Saturday -Mental soundtrack -> Best Coast -An afternoon of walking the green of Parque 3 de Febrero and environs, killing time until my overnight flight. -Iced tea + a tartine topped with goat cheese, olive tapenade, and ratatouille at the MALBA cafe. -Said cafe was almost completely populated by polo players. In uniform. Hair slightly mussed. Yeah. -A cone of dulce de leche-chocolate chip + vanilla creme ice creams at Un' Altra Volta. -One last Quilmes in sunny Plaza Serrano. -Sunset over the city from the back of my cab.