Thursday, March 02, 2006


According to the advertisement in front of me, I'm in the boarding zone of the best airport in South America: Ministro Pistarini, aka Ezeiza, Buenos Aires, Argentina. And I'll stay here for at least three hours more... waiting for the Iberia flight which will bring me back to Europe... and to the winter...

I left Montevideo earlier today. The morning broke sunny and warm, making it even more difficult to leave. The taxi took the way along the beach as if it was tempting me to stay. I have to say that knowing that the sky in Brussels is cloudy with rain and snow and the temperature is as low as -3°C, doesn't help a lot... the mild 24°C of Montevideo, the sunny sky and the nice beach seem much more appealing. But I have to confess that for some strange reason I don't even dare trying to identify, I'm happy to go back! In about three hours, I will board the 12-hours flight to Madrid and, then, another one - much shorter! - to Brussels.

It's not the first time that I am at this airport. Ten years ago I came to Buenos Aires and fell in love with it. I was therefore very happy to come today, but I found out that I am confined to a small area in which there is a duty-free shop that I cannot use (because I don't have my boarding pass yet...) and one bar which only take Pesos, but not the Uruguayan ones I carry... Still, I will keep my passion for Buenos Aires.

The capital of Argentina, and its largest city and port, is one of the largest cities in Latin America and the world. Located on the southern shore of the Rio de la Plata, opposite Colonia del Sacramento (Uruguay), the city has a population of 2,700,000, while the Greater Buenos Aires conurbation has more than 12.4 million inhabitants. The people of Buenos Aires are known as Porteños - acknowledging the major historical importance of the port in the development of the city and the whole nation - and consist primarily of people of Spanish and Italian descent, but there are also sizable communities of Arab, Jewish, Armenian, British, Irish and Asian origin, as well as many South-American immigrants, especially from Bolivia and Paraguay.

The importance of the port must have contributed to create this melting-pot, but it also contributed to other very special characteristics of Buenos Aires: the dialects spoken (including the Rioplatense Spanish), the Tango, and many other cultural pearls. Buenos Aires was home for Jorge Luis Borges and refuge for many Europeans like Julio Cortázar, René Goscinny or José Ortega y Gasset. And, then, you cannot write about Buenos Aires without using the word football... the biggest Argentinian passion, which reaches its top in the rivalry between Boca Juniors and River Plate, and becomes sacred when Diego Armando Maradona is mentioned.

This time I won't see them, but my passion for Buenos Aires will be kept, due to places and sites like the Casa Rosada, Teatro Colón, Florida, La Boca, La Recoleta, Plaza de Mayo, Puerto Madero, San Telmo, etc.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work »

1:49 AM  

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