Yes, I’ve made it to Buenos Aires. The trip down was less than flawless, but I’ve made it. I forgot the one piece of paper I needed: receipt for the $160 Argentina reciprocity fee, nice one. Luckily, a super helpful guy at the front desk of the airline (Copa) volunteered to print it for me if I sent it to him.
Less luckily, the representatives were blissfully unaware of and refused to believe or check their website which indicates that skis and boot combo count as one piece of luggage (which is standard). However, my boot bag would count as a carry-on. This led to the time honored tradition of frantically throwing things between suitcases at the front of the ticket check-in line. Traditionally, it is absolutely essential that some of what is being moved around is the brightest color of dirty underwear. Luckily, my task was not weight related but rather of the get-pointy-things-that-tsa-doesn’t-understand-out-of-your-carry-on, a slightly newer tradition that usually requires the disposal of things like the guns from a GI-joe, nail clippers, or the ever threatening slightly too large bottle of shampoo. Don’t worry, despite my best efforts, the immensely dangerous harmonica in my bag was risk-evaluated.
In Buenos Aires, on the highways everyone is racing, motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic; back roads feel like alleys in a small European village. I stopped at a cafe this afternoon for a meal at an admittedly awkward mid-afternoon time. The proprietor casually provides a menu and some small chit chat. I order and he tells me they’re not serving food yet, it’s too early, but they have some ham, spinach, cheese wrap meal of the day — works for me.
The neighbor swings by lacking any sense of urgency for his afternoon coffee and chat, cigarette hanging low. Their conversation drifts topics as you might expect in one repeated daily. A petite, fragile, octogenarian women slowly makes her exit. She has fair skin (as do many Argentines), slightly wrinkled with age. She stands less than five feet tall these days, the years have given an arched back causing her to lean forward. Her walker leads her, each step could be measured in seconds and inches. She has this strange ability, though — it appears she is simply living in a slower moving world, it is not discomfort slowing her down. She is dressed in a basic, classic, checkered black and white jacket, hair covered by a small hat. She looks over at me for a long second, smiling as she exits. It’s one of those indescribable moments, you’re not sure why it matters but know that it does. We exchange smiles and with them a momentary shared appreciation of this very moment, this afternoon, right now, despite living in different generations and worlds. The moment. A minute later, the 20 something working the kitchen comes out to help her as she approaches the street. Several minutes later she has crossed the, small, one-way street and enters her apartment building. I imagine this is her trip for the day, and one that will replay tomorrow.