I’ve just sat down to dinner – I’ve ordered a sirloin steak, mixed salad and large glass of red wine at a local steak house. This will be the first of many more red meat dinners…
My day started after a 13-hour flight from Madrid that departed last night. All day I’ve been trying to decide how much Buenos Aires really has in common with a ‘European’ city. On the journey from the airport to the city centre by bus, I watched the cars and trucks going by on the other side of the highway. Most of the smaller cars appeared to be familiar European or Japanese models but the trucks I saw were generally quite exotic in style. From knowledge I’m presuming many of them are older types built in and imported from the USA, and I wonder if twenty years ago the automobile scene here would too have been less globally homogenous. As we drew nearer the city centre I also noticed the rather ubiquitous red and silver ‘autobuses escolares’, making me think about the US again with their big yellow school bus concept.
Walking around the city, it feels a lot like parts of Barcelona or Madrid. Similar climate, similar street culture, similar architecture. Even similar paving stones on the sidewalks. As I took in the sights and people, I remembered moments of my first experiences in other large cities, most notably New York and Tokyo, and I could see some part of their characters echoed in Buenos Aires, too. Of course, Buenos Aires is not in Europe – it’s in South America! There is another sort of diversity here, one which I have tasted but still have to learn about.
Immersing yourself in a brand new environment is awe inspiring to the point that you feel like a young child seeing the world through new eyes for the first time; in a pure sense and without any sort of judgement. When you get into that kind of mode of thinking, even dust on the side of someone’s car gets the same cognitive treatment. Eventually, one tends to get used to the new and we become desensitised, no longer like a sponge ready to absorb everything. I guess this is why many people find travel so moreish: a way to uphold the constant state of awe.
I’ve finished my steak. Sorry if you’re reading this and you’re vegeterian/vegan, but that thing was fabulous. And absolutely huge.