an evening in san telmo

I'm doing the farewell rounds, and that includes saying goodbye to my favourite barrios.

A couple of my friends don't like San Telmo and hardly ever visit. True, there are crumbling buildings and dark corners, and it's overrun by gringos. But it feels like the heart of Buenos Aires to me.

I went first to Walrus Books and, after a leisurely browse, exchanged one paperback for another (Well I have to have something to read on the plane.. what, I already have 50-odd books to fit into my baggage allowance? shush...). From there, I walked past the South American Explorers Clubhouse which I first joined way back when in Lima.

I popped into Cafe Notorious music store and once again the older man and the younger man who work there selected the perfect CD for my requirements. This was the store where I cried on hearing Maria Betania's Pirata album. No tears this time round, just a discussion of whether the English think Argentines eat rubbish potatoes (I know - how random?!) which then moved on to wondering what the English ate before they stole from Latin America: potatoes, tomatoes, chocolate, coffee, etc.

It was time for a last ice-cream from Nonna Bianca's. Mint and lemon, with white chocolate and sugared orange peel. A read of the paper and a look out on the evening street.

I walked up to Plaza Dorrego and stood in the crowd gathered to enjoy the weekly milonga. First the couples danced chacareras then tango under the street lamps. They danced in killer heels and sharp dresses, in jeans and pumps, in sombreros and suits. Some forgot the steps, some chatted, some performed to the crowds, and some leaned close and danced as if it was their last night on earth.

I walked past Origin café, waved goodnight to the waiter there, and waited for the 126 bus to take me home. Maybe it's that I often take it at night through the quiet back streets, maybe it's the hope of catching the disco-bus that sometimes runs this route, maybe it's because it drops me off half a block from home, but this is my favourite route.


Anonymous said…
Sounds like a perfect BsAs evening to me! Many lovely memories for you I hope. Can see the dancers in my mind now under the lamplight.
Rachel said…
It was a lovely evening - I think the only other time I saw the dancers was with you and Maria and Rachel (the photo is from then) x