Chile, Argentina & Uruguay: Day 8 (Part 1)

January 30, 2011

When I started seriously traveling one of the first places that I visited was Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The only reason why I chose to go was because of an incredible deal my friend had found on a package there and I had yet to venture into South America.  Little did I know that not only would it mark the beginning of a love affair with a gorgeous man, but also a gorgeous city.  Thus, here is an ode to my beloved city that I will be getting married in on my ninth visit this May:

Carlos Fuentes wrote that, “May is the ideal month to talk, to make oneself heard, to seduce, and be seduced in Buenos Aires.”  And although as I write this now it is almost November, looking at the city with the knowledge of departure, gazing through the window that is soon to be memory, I can see the subtle spell the streets of Buenos Aires have cast over me time after time.  I feel her pull and taste her seduction.

Buenos Aires is the long-haired waiter with the muscular arms dressed in his black apron standing behind the espresso bar staring at you, waiting for the moment when you meet his eyes, the gaze is intensified not broken.  Buenos Aires is the small worn patch of grass between the palm tree and the broken lamp post where the winning goal in the world cup is scored daily by a child imitating Maradona.  Buenos Aires is the warmth of Malbec enjoyed with the smoothness of tango.  Buenos Aires is a city of tin, cardboard, wood, and dogs shadowed by a city of stone facade, fur coats, and leather boots; separated by train tracks.  Buenos Aires is the question to an answer, working backwards to piece together the city that once was trying hard not to ignore the city it shall be.

The city that is Buenos Aires is a puzzle, a patchwork quilt of which I am now a piece.  As I sit by the window of my hotel room in Puerto Madero, I look out to the balconies of other buildings, broken occasionally by browning sycamore tree leaves unwilling to let go from their branches, still dancing in the wind.  I realize that I am part of a horizon that makes me feel small, isolated, and yet simultaneously a part of something much greater than myself.  I am part of the city as I breathe in the chilled air, absorb the morning sun, listen to the buses pass three stories below, squealing their rusted brakes to come to a stop at the café on the corner where people sit reading the news, sipping café con leche and eating lightly sweetened medialunas.  Near the café a fresh produce and meat store helps a woman choose the perfect mandarinas and cut of beef for her dinner tonight.  A street away an old couple wash and fold the clothing of others who have entrusted their most intimate apparel to them.

This is the collage of Buenos Aires that I have come to know. This is the city that has enveloped me, held me, and let me move through her barrios as one of her own.  This is the city I will remember and return to over and over again.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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38 thoughts on “Chile, Argentina & Uruguay: Day 8 (Part 1)

  1. Ekua

    Wow, nine times in one spot! The place I would visit over and over again is Salvador, Brazil… but I have a feeling that if I go back, I will never leave Anyway, looking forward to reading about Buenos Aires. I have heard so many good things about it, but still don’t really know what it’s all about!

    Reply
  2. Cami

    Oh my God, Andrea…I just checked your blog, which I love by the way…It’s already on my favorites folder I like the way you write, it’s easy to get lost and I love your photographs, they’re amazing!!! BUT, anyway I just wanted to say you are SUCH an inspiration and I was thinking of going to BA and now I totally am. So thanks!

    Reply
  3. LeslieTravel

    If you decide to leave travel writing, you can launch a career as a poet! I love this description: “Buenos Aires is the long-haired waiter with the muscular arms dressed in his black apron standing behind the espresso bar staring at you, waiting for the moment when you meet his eyes, the gaze is intensified not broken.”

    Reply
  4. Emily

    Andi, this is just gorgeously written. Now I can’t wait to go back in May – thanks for giving me an excuse to finally return to Buenos Aires!

    Reply
  5. Ceri

    Oh, Andi, that was such a beautiful tribute. Such fantastic writing. I can not wait to go to Buenos Aires – it’s one of the places on my trip I’m most looking forward to.

    I’ll be there in very early 2012 – maybe I’ll bump into you. Hehe.

    Reply
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  7. Susan

    This is beautiful. And I love that what got you there was a deal and then it turned out to be so memoral. That’s the point of travel, do whatever you have you to do get out there and great things will happen.

    Reply
  8. Leigh

    Very beautifully written and the photographs are the perfect accompaniment to your writing. I am just back from Chile & Argentina and loved them both equally. I did not however make it to BA on this trip – have decided another trip is in order in two years to BA & Patagonia.

    Reply
  9. Ruth

    I can see how much you have learned to love this city. I have to agree that is a fantastic place that gets under your skin. You feel different when you are there.

    Reply
  10. Mary

    I fell in love with Buenos Aires instantly when I visited there! It’s funny, but I didn’t know much about it (except for Evita) but it was an amazing destination!

    Reply
  11. Krista

    Andi, you are a poet. 🙂 Love this beautiful post and tribute to an amazing city. I was never drawn to South America until I met you. Now I can’t wait to explore it!! 🙂

    Reply
  12. Keith

    Andi, I loved this. You’ve draped beautiful metaphors like a veil over your vision of the city. I believe this perception is the coveted thrust of travel writing.

    (posting here, as well, for good measure).

    Reply
  13. Audrey

    Nicely written – you can feel the emotion and love for this city that has become your own now. As you know, I have a special connection to Buenos Aires as well since my grandmother was born there. But, 2010 was the first time in my life that I visited. It’s one of those cities that I can’t claim to have explored every corner (it’s so huge), but feel very much at home in its neighborhoods.

    Reply
  14. Laura

    Lovely post. Buenos Aires is one of my favorite cities and I can’t wait to get back there. Thanks for sharing this and congrats on the upcoming wedding plans! 🙂

    Reply
  15. Annie

    It’s easy to fall in love with a city where you fell in love and even easier if it’s an amazing city! This is a beautiful post, as always Andi! 🙂

    Reply

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