01 July 2008

La Otra Orilla

Our flight from Santiago took off at sunrise in dense fog. For a few glorious minutes after we reached our cruising altitude, the clouds separated, as if on cue, to show us the snow-capped Andes wrapped in a soft pinkish-purple morning glow. It was beautiful. The clouds returned and swallowed up the entire landscape, and didn't retreat until we were over the flat, delineated Pampas. It looked weirdly like Kansas.

The cab ride from Ezeiza to Buenos Aires took us past some of the poorest neighborhoods I've ever seen. There were houses without windows that looked like remnants of a lost war-- they were literally sagging and cracking. The warm, homey clotheslines outside mean that people live there. I've never seen poverty like that in the United States. 

Buenos Aires proper feels like a typical European city... glorious old row houses, tiny cars, crazy drivers, and a funky mix of lux and grit. Tomorrow we'll check into Casa Palermitano, which will be our home base as we explore Buenos Aires, Tigre, Colonia del Sacramento, and Montevideo. For tonight, we're in the lovely Bamboo Room at La Otra Orilla. 

It's naptime. When we wake up, we'll be ready for some bloody bife de chorizo and a big, tannic Argentine vino tinto.

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