Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Well another rainy day in Buenos Aires but it was actually refreshing since today's temperature was lower. Following my Spanish class I joined a student from the Netherlands and one from Ireland with a tour guide who took us to the "Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes" via the "Collectivo" (the local bus system) which costs 80 centavos (100 centavos in one peso so less than US$0.30) per passenger for one ride.
The museum/museo is a very beautiful building complete with several sections focused on different types of art. Our little group toured the "Art of Argentina" and the "Art of Pre-Columbian America" sections. Granted I did not understand everything the tour guide said in Spanish but I did comprehend that the color "red" is highly important and symbolic in Argentine art especially in expressing political thought/power. I also noticed how the paintings evolved over the numerous decades with the earliest Argentine painters focused on portraits of -- wealthy people, military events, and landscapes while the more contemporary paintings are a bit more "democratized and expressive" via abstract portraits and geometric patterns. This observation made me realize this is the case with nearly all the art galleries I have toured during my world travels so far but I need to explore this art trend in more detail to reach a sound conclusion.
One post office observation (the "Correro Argentina" - see the posting -- "Now Serving Prisoner #33") I can offer from today is two fold: 1.) Instructors at my school told me that the post office used to be privately owned by the government took it over again but the service was bad before and is still bad so clearly there are much bigger internal problems that go beyond who owns it, and 2.) While waiting for my tour to begin I sat outside a Correro Argentina office reading my copy of "The Lion's Game" by Nelson DeMille. When I stood up I looked in the window and noticed that one corner of the office had an art/picture framing operation!!! Damn, these people need to focus on their core business OR they were sub-leasing space to a private business. I didn't ask opting instead to walk around in shock :)
Following my tour I had a late lunch (which I have always called "dunch" - a term my fellow students from German now use after I told them) on "Avenida Maipu" next to my hotel at a small restaurant called, "Fussion." After a nice dunch of grilled chicken and a small chef salad they created just for me since they had a limited menu since they were nearing closing time the owner talked with me for quite awhile in Spanish which was a challenge for me but he was patient and more importantly he spoke slowly!! Apparently the "tornados" we have in the American Midwest were of great interest to him.
My view of the Argentine people only improves.