Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hospital Naval

The Hospital Naval in Parque Centenario was built between the years 1981 and 1987 and has sat blue and proud since then, now trapped in its own unique aesthetic.  Chanelling an old ocean liner, a spaceship and even a fish with its gill-esque windows, it definitely adds to the diverse architecture you will find in this great city.  The external white-rounded staircase reminds me of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Summer in the city

Last Sunday I was walking through the very heart of the city, and while the weekends in the centre are quiet at the best of times, it really struck me how few people were around.  At the same time I also realised how incredibly hot it was and wondered why exactly I was walking around myself.  But the lack of people really gave me a chance to take my time strolling along the avenues without others rushing past and bumping into me.  I could look up at the buildings, which is my favourite part about the centre, and really appreciate my surroundings in a quiet way.  I like the buzz and chaos that the centre of the city usually embodies but I have to say that the contrast was rather nice as well. 

I have recently been given a book about the way people in different cities and places around the world occupy public spaces, from homeless people sleeping in the subway stations in Tokyo, to the way people come into a metropolis every day and then leave it virtually empty until the next working day, such as in the microcentro (tiny centre) here in Buenos Aires.  It really does change the way the space is both perceived and experienced, when the thing changing isn´t the space itself but the way it is used or occupied.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Casa Rosada

 The Pink Palace (no guesses why it goes by that name) is where the president carries out her duties during the week.  On weekends they open the palace and give free tours of this beautiful old building, which I am happy to report is not pink on the inside as well.  The guides are all dressed as soilders from the nutcracker, or in what I presume is traditional dress for the guards.  My favourite parts were the floor and ceiling details, just lovely.  There was so much design and decoration to take in, so much intricate work and money that has gone into this building. 

It´s great that they open it up so that the public can experience this important part of Argentina´s history.

 And last but not least... the pink exterior! 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The beach

I´m back in Argentina and back from my first beach holiday here in Mar de Ajó, about 5 hours from Buenos Aires.  What a delight!  I don´t think there are happier people than Argentinians on holidays.  And why wouldn´t you be happy?  Away from the hot, noisy city and into the cool, relaxing beach; passing the day with family and friends, drinking máte, sunbathing, swimming and playing beach games.  And at night, the sea breeze gently carries you off to the best summer sleeps you will ever have. 

Mar de Ajó is a 1960´s/70´s seaside town that attracts families and middle class porteños to it´s shores every summer.  Some of the builidings reflect that fading 70´s beach vibe...

This is the apartment building where we stayed.  It used to be a hotel back in the day, but now it´s just a lovely candy-coloured place to rent an apartment for the summer, one block from the beach...

Just as the buildings are full of character so is the beach.  We rented a "tent" while we were there, which gives you shade, chairs, tables and the use of bathrooms and a cafe, and had some very friendly people around us in the neighbouring tents.  There was so much people-watching to be done I had to sometimes choose between my book and the beach...

This last picture is of two beautiful girls that were from the tents either side of us, and they would spend all day, every day playing together.  The one on the left is Anastasia and she looks just like a little Pocahontas, divina!!