This "final" update, to my Remote Year, has been the hardest to start. Buenos Aires happened back in May and it's taken me months to want to put some brief thoughts about my experiences because I've been going through so many feels in regards to my thoughts about ending one of the best and unique experiences of my life. I had spent a year with these people and Buenos Aires is where all these feelings came to a head when we had to address the fact that we wouldn't be seeing each other for much longer. But, these hard fact feelings didn't take away from the amazing experience that was Buenos Aires which had to be one of the foodiest cities we had traveled to. So, i'll spend this time speaking on a few of those experiences.
Buenos Aires felt like a home almost immediately. It is a very modern city that felt like a mesh between Barcelona with sprinkles of New York tossed into the mix. The city has a huge urban sprawl yet manages to inject so much greenery into the surroundings that you never get that "concrete jungle" feeling you might get in an equally sized North American city. There seemed to be endless little pockets of neighborhoods just waiting to be explored and the people make you feel so welcome that exploration is exactly what you are compelled to do.
One of the first things I got to check out was a performance known as La Bomba de Tiempo which gloriously takes place once a week. It seems like huge portions of the city's population show up to see this improvisational percussion ensemble do what they do best which is get the whole crowd moving with their infectious, body moving rhythms. I couldn't help but get swept up in the feel and vibe of the crowd and lush sounds. It's definitely a spectacle that was worth the cost of admission and then some.
Music and food seem to be the lifeblood of Buenos Aires, as almost all activities seem to have a little mixture of one or the other. Another great music centric act I got the opportunity to check out was Fuerza Bruta which would best be described as an audience participation music theatre performance/experience. One moment you'd be watching a performance on stage, in front of you, and the next moment a translucent plastic stage contraption would be lowering above your head where performers would be frolicking above you while they are partially submerged in water. Then, once you were just starting to get your barrings together, you'd be bombarded with an entirely difference performance act where you find yourself encapsulated in a parachute material that covers the entire crowd while music pumps at you from all angles. Let's just say...it was an "experience".
Buenos Aires offers all types of experiences but nothing truly prepared me for all the wonderful food the city had to offer. Most of the food revolved around visiting various parrillas (barbeque joints) which offer mounds and mounds of meat as far as the eye can see. I thought I was a heavy meat eater before trekked to this city but the porteño people showed me that I was just an apprentice when it came to consuming the flesh. They've got the grilling technique down to a science with their various techniques of raising, lowering, & spinning the meat. But the only technique I had to master was lifting the fork from my plate to my mouth. And, I believe I started to get the hang of it.
One last thing I'd like to mention about the city is just the sheer amount of local art you find canvasing so many the walls. I discovered that the local people don't shun graffiti artists but actually embrace them because many artists came along after much political strife so it was their way of expressing themselves or their neighborhood's feelings. It's refreshing to find a city where all forms of art are celebrated and not condemned. With everything I experienced, I would say Buenos Aires is bursting with life with all of it's flavors and it oozes out of the seams of the city. It can be felt in the streets, homes, studios and just about anywhere you can imagine. And, although my Remote Year ended in this month, I know that I will someday find ways to make it back to Buenos Aires in my future travels.
- Empanadas, empanadas and spicy empanadas
- Witnessing the amazing La Bomba de Tiempo which is an improvisational percussion ensemble that brings the house down
- Eating non stop meats at all the Parrillas (bbq joints) (My favorite was Parrilla Don Julio in Palermo)
- Participating in the spectacle known as Fuerza Bruta
- Taking a side trip to Montevideo, Uruguay
- Watching a Tango show at Tango Porteño
- Eating at Fukuro Noodle Bar and seeing all the dope graffiti splattered inside and outside the building
- Seeing BadBadNotGood perform their jazz influenced wizardry
- Saying "Auf Wiedersehen" to all my Remote Year comrades