Wandering the neighborhoods of Buenos Aires is one of my favorite ways to spend a day, drifting from our busy avenue through parks full of flowering trees, huge statues, museum worthy sculptures and everywhere, birds , with a lot to say. On to the next park, vast lawns of grass, steps leading to fountains, down quiet streets with their own hidden gardens and parks.
From the noisy avenue to cobblestone streets, stone walls with bougainvillea hanging down to the sidewalks, colorful old homes with wrought iron balconies. On some of the balconies will be bird cages with colorful birds who sing with almost unnatural beauty and loudness.
I am often tempted to knock on a door and inquire as to what sort of bird is it and where can I get one , por favor?
We stop at a cafe almost every day that is close to our home, we enjoy the cafe doble y scones and almost as much as the food, we enjoy the charming people who wait on us. Both young and attractive, they have big welcoming smiles, the both love to help us with our Spanish, and even with my limited vocabulary, they still laugh at my jokes. I know, I know, they are also amazingly polite to crazy women who try to be goofy in Spanglish. Which is just another example of their very good manners.
After the cafe, we continue on down to the street that goes past the mansions and embassies. There are trees that look bigger than some apartment buildings, the root are immense, the flowers resemble pink and yellow lilies and hummingbirds fly around them in the evenings, sipping and darting.
The barrio of San Telmo is a favorite of mine, cobblestone streets and rows of homes with no windows in the front, only a large wooden door , the gardens are hidden within. Rows of brightly colored stucco homes with an occasional glimpse into a courtyard or just the sight of flowers spilling over a wall.
My mind wanders off into all the possibilities of what is behind those walls, how beautiful it is, cages of birds, flowers in pots everywhere, a lazy dog or cat lying in the sun.
I have to figure out a way to get inside one day and see if they live up to my imagination.
I think they will probably exceed it.
Over to Puerto Madero, where old warehouses are modern apartments and some are gutted and hold trendy nightclubs or restaurants where people dine with the lit up city outside the window and listen to wonderful music.
Where a fabulous hotel, within another ruin, hosts movie stars and offers a Tango show.
On the edge of it all, is the Ecological Reserve, where you can walk alongside the river, which is immense and brown and you feel like you are far from any city, traffic, insane taxi drivers and let the sun warm you and feel the tightness in your shoulders loosen and fall away.
In the distance, you can see the city, tall skyscrapers, glass towers, it looks like the Emerald City.