July 22, 2013 by Caroline Leland
This post is really long but I think it’s actually interesting
Early this morning I bid farewell to Dad, June, Sammy, and Louise and lugged all my stuff home. I had pretty much moved in at their apartment and was sad to leave that huge fluffy bed with the wide windows and the 17th-story views. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lived perfectly comfortably these past two months, but my twin-sized bed and windowless room just can’t compete with a vacation condo.
Dad came back with me to La Casa Naranja (as I call the orange-painted house I live in) to see where I’ve been staying. Not much to see, but it was still fun showing him my Argentina life. Then he set off on a run and I headed towards the subway to go downtown.
|I don’t think I’ve seen a non-graffitied subway here|
I went straight to the Teatro Colón, one of the best, oldest, and most lavish theaters in the world. Tours for extranjeros (foreigners) are 110 pesos, and 30 pesos for “residents.” I have a residential address here, so I figure it’s fair to call myself a resident. AND Mondays are half-price for students, so I whipped out my student ID, tried to exude confidence speaking Spanish, and walked in with a 15-peso ticket. Accomplishment of the day.
The tour was at noon, so I sat in the cafe and enjoyed the coffee and wifi for an hour. The tour was excellent, teaching me wonderful tidbits like that the tiled floor is made of two million individual tiny pieces, and only the people who buy the most expensive tickets get to enter through the main doors. Poor people come in through the sides and are shepherded straight to their seats, not even getting a glimpse of the grand lobby.
|The guide telling us there are two million of these tiny pieces in the floor|
|The first floor is architecturally distinct from the second because the first architect died suddenly only six months into the project.|
|This painted ceiling is painted cloth, supposedly, and the gold molding is real gold.|
The tour took us to the most expensive box seats, where we sat, pretending, for a few moments; and to the Presidential box, which is next to the stage, putting the President on display for all the patrons to see. The President, however, has a severely obstructed view of the stage. Our guide said President Kirchner has never seen a performance in Teatro Colón. I’m not surprised, since she’d be more of a spectacle than the performance.
|Box seats in Teatro Colón|
After work, I went and had a coffee and a brownie to cheer myself up.
Léa met me at the cafe, then we walked together to Palacio Barolo, a super cool building based on Dante’s The Divine Comedy. The first floor represents hell and is decorated with evil-looking serpents and birds of prey, and firey tiles on the floor. The 16 or so floors in the middle are offices, representing purgatory. And then there’s a lighthouse tower on the top, representing heaven. We got to go to the very very top, where the light is. It was kind of terrifying, even for me (I love high places) because it was a tiny space with glass all around. I was afraid of the possibility of someone falling through the glass. But regardless, it was a rejuvenating top-of-the-world feeling.
|In “heaven”! On top of Palacio Barolo, downtown Buenos Aires. With Léa and her friend from Boston College.|
|Why I was afraid: the guide told us to sit on these glass window panes!|
|Pretending we work in this 1920’s office in Palacio Barolo|
Back at home, I had another fruit-and-cheese feast. (I think there is nothing that makes my taste buds happier than fresh pear and blue cheese, except maybe certain chocolate desserts.) And now I’m just piddling on the computer til I go to sleep! Four nights left in this bed…