Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Wednesday 31 January 2007

Makeshift doorbells in San Telmo.

Intercom systems are the norm in apartment buildings here, usually with some way of buzzing open the door from your apartment. (Not in my place, though, I have to go all the way down to let people in!) They take safety seriously here, but sometimes a little too far. In my building, for example, the front door only opens with a key, for both going in and going out. This seems like a fire hazard to me, not being able to run out of the building unless you have your keys, but hey, what are you going to do? It's very common here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Tuesday 30 January 2007

Saw an interesting office building in San Telmo today. I don't think I'd like to work there.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Monday 29 January 2007

A normal BA street in Flores.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Sunday 28 January 2007

Pigeons on wires in Flores.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Saturday 27 January 2007

A walk-up kiosco, or corner store. You go up to the window, ask for what you want (candy, pop, cigarettes, copies, phone cards, etc.) and pay. Very convenient.

Friday, January 26, 2007

A crappy picture

Friday 26 January 2007

Okay, a fact about Buenos Aires that you won't find in the guide books - it's covered in dog poop. Everyone here has a dog, but no one cleans up after them. It might sound like I'm exaggerating, but you actually have to keep your eyes on the pavement when you're walking, or you'll end up with stinky shoes.

They've actually come up with a little superstition (in order to make the best of this situation, I think.) They say "Pisar mierda trae buena suerte." (Stepping in poo brings good luck.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Thursday 25 January 2007

This is a local little supermarket, with sale prices listed outside. Down the street from my house.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

No se olviden de Cabezas

Wednesday 24 January 3007

Another deathday here in Buenos Aires. Today marked ten years since the murder of José Luis Cabezas, a famous photojournalist. In the late 90's he worked for a paper called Noticias, which was known for its exposés. Cabezas had worked on several articles on police corruption, and also one on Alfredo Yabrán, a local businessman with mafia ties who refused to have his picture taken. So, Cabezas exposes some corruption, takes a picture of Yabrán, and a little later he is found dead, having been beaten, tortured, shot, and his body burned.

The chief of police and several other officers were jailed for life for clearing the area of police, thereby allowing the murder to take place. However, they figured the actual contract had been taken out by Yabrán. When they went to arrest him, though, they found that he had shot himself in the face. Now, there are still a lot of dodgy loose ends around the story (most people believe that Yabrán faked his own death, for instance) and at the protest today Cabeza's mother was still calling for justice. But it was a time when hundreds of journalists were being harassed and assaulted for investigating into leftover vestiges of corruption, and really, there is no one left to go after in this case.

So, to commemorate and at the least keep him and his cause in the spotlight, they had a nice little rally. His family members and friends all spoke, mostly just calling on everyone to remember Cabezas. More impressive, they projected his pictures and pictures of him onto the Obelisco, the Washington-monument-lookalike that sits right smack dab in the middle of downtown.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Tuesday 23 January 2007

Okay, this is the second time that Ryan and I have, at different times and at different places in the city, taken a picture of the same thing. (The last time was on Thursday the 18th, when we saw the same march, him at the beginning, and me at the end.) Today we both took a picture of the same species of butterfly (or moth?), although you should really go check out his. It was on a mirror, so is reflected, and looks like it's floating in space. (

I was actually really tempted not to put mine up, as his is far better, but I was so proud of myself of taking such a clear, close shot of an insect. And, my other pictures, of the cool old central post office, were all blurry. So, here ya go!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pawn Shop

Monday 22 January 2007

So, did some walking around the neighborhood today, between classes, took a lot of pictures. Here is a used electronics store. I really like all of the hand-painted signs and advertisements here. Gives the city a bit of an old-fashioned feel, like the stores are from the forties or fifties or something.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Beth!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ryan equals dinosaur?

Sunday 21 January 2007

Ryan and a dinosaur. Isn't he handsome? (Ryan, that is.)

We found this neat bit of graffiti inside an old broken-down building in Colonia. We saw a hole in the bricks and crawled in for a little exploration. The house must have dated back more than a hundred years, and there were ivy and ferns growing into the rooms. A neat little adventure.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Uruguay again

Saturday 20 January 2007

Second trip to Uruguay, time to renew visas again. This is in the old main plaza.

If I understand things correctly, Uruguay was in a "regional federation" with Argentina between 1810 and 1828, when it finally won its sovereignty. My guess is this is how a tile with the date of Argentine independence ended up on a Uruguayan wall.

Friday, January 19, 2007

San Expedito

Friday 19 January 2007

On the 19th of every month the church around the corner holds a little market, selling rosaries, saint medals, candles, and novenas. It is held to honor Saint Expiditus, an Armenian in the Roman army who converted to Christianity then mysteriously died. He is now the patron saint to Urgent and Just Causes, and is evidently well-loved in the Once neighborhood. There were hundreds of people there this morning, lighting candles and offering prayers.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Jorge Julio Lopez

Thursday 18 January 2007

Yes, another protest here in Buenos Aires. They happen with predictable regularity, but this one was bigger than normal, and they certainly have something to yell about now. Four months ago today, on the 18 of September, one Mr. Miguel Etchecolatz was convicted of murder, kidnapping, and torture under the old dictatorship, and was sentenced to life in prison. He was one of the first people to be brought to justice for crimes during the "dirty war" since Argentina lifted pardon laws disallowing their trials.

The problem is, a day after testifying against this man, one of the star witnesses, Jorge Julio Lopez, disappeared. Political disappearances like this were common here in the 70s and 80s, but this is the first time it has happened since the end of the dictatorship, and people are angry, and probably a bit scared. For the past four months his face has been seen on the TV, on ads, on graffiti, everywhere you look. What happened to him isn't exactly a mystery (cronies of Etchecolatz most assuredly took their vengeance as a warning to other witnesses) and I doubt that anyone is really expecting him to show up anytime soon. But people are keeping this issue in the spotlight, and making it clear that they will not quietly be led back into a darker time.

What I found interesting about the rally, however, was the speeches that accompanied it. At first I was so proud of myself for being able to understand pretty much every word, which is difficult when they are being shouted over a loudspeaker. But after about two minutes, I realized that they were saying the same thing over and over and over again. No changes, just the same phrases, mixed up in different orders. "We demand that that government return Jorge Julio Lopez alive, and that those responsible are brought to justice." That was about it, and I'm guessing they stuck around for an hour. I can't believe how boring it actually was.

Oh, and I guess Ryan saw the same protest, at a different point, when they were marching to the Plaza de Mayo. So you can see a better picture and probably more poetic explanation at: (His photo blog. Check it out.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Mannequin shop

Wednesday 17 January 2007

The part of Flores where I often work is full of clothing shops. In fact, there is very little else there, a fact which usually frustrates me when I am looking for a place to buy a phone card or a sandwich or something, and all I can possibly get is a good deal on a new shirt or the hottest little dress.

But today I found the stores where they all buy their mannequins! It was a little freaky, actually, walking past these shops full of plastic people, all lined up and naked.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Flying away

Tuesday 16 January 2007

In the Chacarita neighborhood.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Monday 15 January 2007

This is a church in the Flores area, near my student's house. I always walk past it and think what a nice picture it would make. Today the sky was just so blue, I had to stop.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Red Door

Sunday 14 January 2007

A doorway in the Chacarita neighborhood. You sometimes see houses covered with these colorful tiles instead of siding or paint, and I quite like it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Last Supper

Saturday 13 January 2007

So, I was just cruising around ancient Jerusalem today, and this great group of guys invited me out to dinner. Turned out to be a bit more serious than I expected, though.

No, really, Ryan and I went to one of the more famous Argentine theme parks today: Tierra Santa. (Holy Land) Ryan's friend Kendra is visiting for a few days, so we figured we'd show her the odder side of Buenos Aires, and see something we'd been dying to go to ourselves. It is a park recreating the ancient middle east, with a "village" of full-scale buildings of plastic made to look like plaster and wood, giant fake palm trees that creak in the wind (why fake ones, I don't know, seeing as palm trees grow all over the place here), and of course, all kinds of statues depicting famous biblical stories. After going to Haw Par Villa in Singapore, which is dedicated to Chinese mythology among other random strange things and features detailed scenarios of every level of Chinese hell, we just knew we'd love this place. And we were not disappointed. One of the best parts were the anamatronic recreations of particularly important moments in religious history. The creation, the birth of Jesus, the last supper. Let me tell you, Jesus has quite the booming voice, and speaks excellent Spanish.

There was one great disappointment, however. The park boasts an 18-meter Jesus who rises from the dead every half hour, and we were quite excited to see the resurrection in person. Unfortunately, it was a little too windy for miracles, and Jesus was unable to resurrect. Ah well, we'll have to go back. We did get our pictures with the 15-foot-high Jesus torso, though, so that compensated a bit!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Bottle Caps

Friday 12 January 2007

A typical road in the Flores area, near one of my regular classes. All over the roads in this part of town you can see thousands of beer bottle caps embedded in the asphalt. Quilmes, a locally brewed favorite, is the most common. I thought it was quite the phenomenon.

Especially considering that porteños don't normally drink to excess. They'll have a glass of wine or beer at dinner with friends, but you do not see large groups of young people staggering about drunk on weekend nights. They drink socially, but are rarely actually inebriated.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Self Portrait 3

Thursday 11 January 2007

I thought this was a pretty door, an okay picture, but I put it up because a funny story comes with it. I was standing in front of this door for five minutes or so, trying different things with my camera, trying to get myself into the picture, mostly taking them from my hip angled up, so I didn't have a picture of myself with camera in front of face. Then, as I continued on to my class down the block, I realized that I was standing just a few doors down from the garage where there are always a few prostitutes standing on the sidewalk. They were all looking at me strangely, as if they thought I had been trying to sneakily take pictures of them and was perhaps really bad at being sneaky. I was quite embarrassed as I walked past them on my way to class.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On my train

Wednesday 10 January 2007

I took this photo on my way home from class today (I spend a lot of time on trains nowadays.) It's really hard to see here because the photo is small, but I thought it was a neat picture because you can see a guy who is sitting ahead of me in my train in the reflection. Look closely. Or, enjoy the pretty blue.

Also, sidenote, the TBA on the train (Tránsito Buenos Aires, I believe) always makes me think "to be announced," like they haven't decided on a name yet, but will let us all know as soon as they do.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A little crooked

Tuesday 9 January 2007

A school door in the Boedo neighborhood. When we were home, I was disappointed by the lack of color in North America. Argentina certainly doesn't have as much as Asia did, but still, they are not afraid to use bright colors here and there, which is nice.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Donny!

Monday, January 08, 2007


Monday 8 January 2007

A mechanic's garage in Flores. I love getting to see different parts of the city.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Estación Darío y Maxi

Sunday 7 January 2006

Ryan and I went out to the southern suburb of Avalleneda, to check out the Carrefour, looking for hard-to-find ingredients or maybe even cheddar cheese. When we arrived at the Avalleneda train station, however, we found that it had been renamed by local grafittiers. Everywhere, on every sign and over every door, the names Darío and Maxi appeared. Nowhere did it say the correct name. And on all the walls were stencils and paintings and slogans and portraits of these two men, saying things like "Ni muertos nos detendrán," (Even though we are dead, they will not stop us) and "Darío y Maxi no están solos" (They are not alone.) We had no idea what was going on, but snapped a few photos (see Ryan's for some really nice ones) and went home.

I found out, however, that on the 26th of June 2002, there was a massive protest on the Pueyrredon bridge in Avalleneda, where over 4,000 unemployed workers took to the streets and blocked off the highways in and out of the city. (This was just after the economic crash, when unemployment was very very high.) Two of these "piqueteros," named Darío and Maxi, were shot down by police trying to control the march. The two ran for cover in this train station, hence the connection. They have become something like local martyrs, and I believe that people still block that same bridge every year on June 26th.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Las Violetas

Saturday 6 January 2007

Today Ryan and I met our friend and language exchange partner Paula at this cafe, Las Violetas. It is well-known for its beautiful stained glass windows (seen here) and scrumptious cakes (in my belly). It was quite the ritzy place, and we couldn't afford to go regularly, but it was nice to sit down to a fancy tea in the afternoon.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Casa Única

Friday 5 January 2007

This is Casa Única, a hostel near our house. I was checking it out as a possible recommendation for friends or family who visit us down here, and thought that the outside was absolutely gorgeous. (The inside was also brightly painted and cheery!) This is yet another example of fileteado, the traditional Buenos Aires painting style.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Lindsey, Empanada Queen

Thursday 4 January 2007

This is Lindsey, fellow empanada queen. We took one empanada class together, and tonight taught our second group of people how to make these delicious little meat pies. We don't claim to be experts, just to love empanadas!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Self Portrait 2

Wednesday 3 January 2007

Walked past a glass shop in San Telmo today, took a picture of me looking rather distorted.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Darth Vader

Tuesday 2 January 2007

Back to work today, which included teaching the people who work at LapTV, a company which owns several cable channels, most of the movie channels. They have a seven-foot-tall Darth Vader statue in their lobby, along with a little Yoda. (There is also a Gladiator and Jimmy Neutron on the other side.) It quite surprised me the first time I came to work here!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Monday 1 January 2007


As the clock struck twelve we all toasted and exchanged hugs, kisses, and well wishes, then went out onto the street to watch the fireworks, which were many and loud. The neighbor across the street was adhering to an older tradition, however, and burning an effigy. I guess in the fifties and sixties this block used to close down off of the streets, turn up the music, set up tables in the road, and have a giant neighborhood party on new years. They would often burn effigies of politicians of the time, sports figures who missed saves, local scoundrels, etc. These parties have unfortunately faded away as the neighborhood grew poorer, but they still like to burn things!
The man who set this up said it wasn't anyone specific (that he would tell) so I will just remember the Ecuadorian tradition taught to me by my friend Rick T. Estes, and think of it as the old year.

Oh yeah, and they stuffed it full of fireworks, too, so that as it burned, bits of it kept exploding.