When the Time Gets Short, the Short-timers Get Going

8 Mar

The Botanical Gardens

Following the blog you’ll know that my time in Buenos Aires is slowly rolling down the hill. I avoid thinking of it at all costs, but it’s an inevitability that I can’t ignore forever, and though months here remain I’ve already begun to feel sort of sentimental. Take for example this long weekend that I’ve been marveling in. It has allowed me to spend time doing the things that most imagine an expat taking for granted. Walking around aimlessly, finding a cafe, reading and discovering oneself. Going out for a drink and having no worries about what time you wake up. The reality is that while some people might live that life, we don’t all get to taste the fruits of no labor.

Yet March is a magnificent time in Buenos Aires–the brutal heat of January is gone and the rains of February have subsided. It’s still hot, sure, but it’s a nice hot, the kind which you revel in because you know that soon the autumn will come and you’ll have no more opportunities to wear shorts or get a good tan. This time has allowed me to slow down and forget about work while admiring the good side of the capital of Argentina. Despite all of the bitching, it does have a European feel to it. I mean, just look at all the Peugeot’s flying around. There are a plethora of yet-to-be-found restaurants and cafes, empanada stands, and even kiosks which sell the cheapest sodas.

Buenos Aires

We don’t all experience this but now with my apartment by the Botanical Garden, I look out of the window and see a green park, maybe the equivalent of what someone living in front of Central Park in New York or Boston Common in Boston would see. It’s prime real estate and I’m just upset that I didn’t find this place a year ago. The sun sets over the city and I only want to stand around watching it for a few minutes longer, but it’s already getting shorter each day.

I was riding on the bus the other day and noted how this city is so big, you only scratch the surface day by day, no matter how long you spend here. You see a group of people in a park drinking mate or a big family at a restaurant, and it’s all so interesting and inviting that you can’t possibly cram it all in, not in 2 years of life, let alone a week of vacation. Over time I have created a series of things which I like to treat myself to on weekends when I have the time, but because the city is big, transportation can be a challenge, money is an issue, etc, I only work my way over to these things once every couple of months.

I’m talking about a visit to Chinatown for spicy fried chicken on a stick, going to the hidden Ecuadorian restaurant in Once for the memories of my first year in Latin America, going for a couple of drinks at Milion Bar or El Living for good music and friendly faces. I like to go for a run by the Rose Garden in the Palermo park system, get lunch time empanadas from the friendly Brazilian women a couple of blocks from my office. They always call me “ojos” (eyes) and the most audacious of them always asks me for a kiss. <Dáme un beso.> <¿Un peso?> <Un beso!> <Ah, buee.>

Fuerza Bruta, running man

Spring is such a happy time to be in this city, and even the fall is crispy and reminiscent of something pulled back from a childhood memory. Not as brilliant in tree color, but fresh nonetheless. But I won’t get another spring and I’ll just have to bank on coming back sometime in the summer, sometime in the future. There’s always a concert, always a new and interesting theater, always some kind of festival that might be hard to find, but getting into that niche makes you one of a privileged few.

In short, I want to make the most of my remaining months in Buenos Aires and end on a fantastic note. I’ve got two trips pending and am thinking of another short one before the jumbo jet home. I’ve had to put up with enough crap and setbacks here that I’m finally letting myself enjoy a cup of coffee at the cafe around the corner, and even checking out prices on a shirt in the store I walk by, because who knows, I might go home with some cool style that no one else has. And it’d be a shame to not use the resources I have in front of me to at least get a sample of the iconic expat life. Every steak, slice of pizza, or ice cream is helpful in reminding me that through all the complaining, it wasn’t all bad.

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