Nice to be back in the driver's seat of The Ham, or as I like to call it, El Jamon.
Today, we went to San Telmo, which is perhaps the heart of the city -- old architecture, music and dancing in the streets (well, no tango that we could see), a healthy antiques trade, tasty food. Yvonne and I split up from the group pretty early on, not by design, but it worked out well, because we stumbled into this sweet art gallery and then into a store called Materia Urbana, where she bought a very cool tango-inspired print, and I a t-shirt that celebrates Maradona's famous goal-scoring run against England in the '86 World Cup, but does so in a very understated way, so that the shirt barely whispers, let alone screams, "obnoxious sports apparel." Bought it without hesitation, was super excited about it, and the enthusiasm must've been contagious because my dad and brother went back and each bought themselves one as well.
We didn't just shop, but also took in a little local flavor. Still, I'd like to get back, maybe at night, and just amble a bit in order to absorb even more.
A nicely halluciongenic graffiti-stencil mural. Normally, graffiti makes me want to puke, but that's because normally it's just some little puke who's scrawled his name.
After a few hours among the wares of San Telmo, we trekked to La Boca. Definitely the wrong side of the tracks, but we knew that going in. We saw the famous soccer stadium (Boca Juniors are basically the Yankees of soccer: tons of championships, a team that's located in the poorest part of town, etc.), and then the famous loud-painted, corrugated-tin-roof apartment buildings. The weather was gray, which muted the colors a bit, but not the surreal contrast of poverty and effulgence. You get the feeling that the locals are starving in Candyland.
Yvonne soaks up some local color.
Some random thoughts: Argentina's political system is in crisis again (surprise). I don't think I fully understand it, but suffice it to say that the vice president's picture is plastered all over town with the word "JUDAS." (Why can't that happen at home?)
A friend of my man Tom said that no ice cream place compares to this chain called Volta. After having had the same flavors there and at Freddo (white chocolate, and dulce de leche con brownie), I'm not so sure...
Million dollar idea for the day... Step 1. Sell a quality slice of pizza in Argentina. Step 2. Profit. The pizza here is 0-for-2 so far. It's too crusty (like unsweetened pie crust) and weirdly herby. You'd think the Italians here would know better. Thankfully the beef lives up to the hype and then some.
I'm not going to lie. This ice cream is pretty good.