lundi 25 avril 2016

A GHOST IN PALERMO SOHO: REVISITING TENDERNESS OF THE PAST IN BUENOS AIRES


On the day he decided to become a vegetarian, he arrived at the dilapidated International Terminal of the airport at Buenos Aires. The American Airlines from Miami had been staffed with Argentine grandmothers who could joyously use their time better with their grandchildren than playing Sudoku, checking their Facebook pages, while them and their bored passengers, patiently awaiting service which never came, counted the hours to the touchdown. The terminal was full of Jews returning to celebrate the austere holiday where many of the foods that made Argentina famous are forbidden. He knew immediately that the timing of his arrival was inconsistent with the desires of his palate, so asked G-d for forgiveness as he dug into the plate of Lomo Salteado accompanied by a full bodied Malbec.
This rich country of immigrants has been successfully exploited repeatedly by its elected leaders, including a thief from Aleppo. Now this most European of all Latin American countries is sinking under its own illusion, the running inflation cutting deeply into their dreams of exporting the country’s wealth to Miami Beach.
I just had lunch at a restaurant in Palermo. I don’t think there is any other city with such concentration of a variety of restaurants, as long as you understand that Argentina is famous for its steaks and its Malbec. Long lines formed at the parilladas, most people were well dressed and lean, despite the portions of meat they are about to devour, some of them the size of a flat screen TV. Red wines at the ready (only the feeble drink white wine, they told me), these trendy portenos would not be out of place in Madrid or Barcelona!
I had come here to relax, after hectic days of clinical work with the Indians, preparing diligently to give an anthropologically oriented talk about Health Care to the Indians, before departing for that movable feast that is La Habana, Cuba. Buenos Aires is one of the nicest cities to visit, I plan to visit no tourist sites.

I am content in Palermo, the very same streets that had felt the footsteps of that great essayist, Jorge Luis Borges