The recent reports of panic in Times Square, reminded me of a recent trip to Buenos Aires. The scariest part was being caught and almost trampled in a mob running toward us and not knowing why. In that case, what I learned is when throngs of people are running, you should just run with them, like with the bulls. Here was an account I wrote at the time.
My observation about Buenos Aires is that it is a missed opportunity. As an example, the sidewalks need repaired, even in the best neighborhoods and walking through the rest of the city is somewhat daunting. It is at once a metropolis on the edge, but also vibrating with indescribable beauty and passion and possibility. It is the kind of city where we stopped into a cafe for a quick snack, glass of vino tinto, and charge for our phones … and were treated to a tango dance. We spent six days walking and exploring, eating and drinking and by the way, the Malbecs didn’t disappoint.
On the Eastern Side of the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires stands the Casa Rosada — the palace of El Presidente — currently Mauricio Macri. It’s from the balconies here that Eva Perón famously preached to throngs of impassioned Argentines. The building’s color could have come from President Sarmiento’s attempt at making peace during his 1868–74 term (by blending the red of the Federalists with the white of the Unitarists). Another theory, however, is that the color comes from painting the palace with bovine blood, a common practice in the late 19th century.
On Sunday August 9th, we had made a reservation to see La Casa Rosada and walked through some — it seemed to us — not so safe neighborhoods to get there. One of the events going on en route was some sort of Peruvian festival complete with dancers in sequined outfits, entertainers, food vendors and hawkers of every sort of thing imaginable.
After wading through masses of people whose contagious enthusiasm immediately put us in a celebratory mood, we arrived at the Palace. It was walled off with an impenetrable iron fence and a garrison of armed soldiers standing at the ready who explained to us that the palace was closed for “maintenance.” But I didn’t think so.