Thursday, February 18, 2016

Glimpses of Buenos Aires

Here are a few scenes of Buenos Aires for readers who may be interested. Warning: there's not much of a typewriterly nature here, nor is this a typecast. (Confession: I'm quietly multitasking here, during a particularly unexciting presentation at the conference.)

Buenos Aires is a metropolitan area of 15,000,000 people. I participated in a three-hour tour on foot in the central area, which obviously is not representative. Here one finds many impressive buildings built around a century ago.

The Kavanagh Building of 1936 (below) marked a transition to less ornate, simpler concrete forms. The streamlined deco style, of which this is an excellent example, is appealing to my eye. Its later descendants include some shabby vertical boxes where I'd never want to live.

The skyline of Buenos Aires today is an often appealing mix of styles.

The Cementerio de la Recoleta is a very interesting necropolis where family crypts in a profusion of styles line the narrow "streets."

One of the most popular sites in the cemetery is the tomb of Eva Perón. Plaques affixed in the years since her death testify to her canonization in the Argentinian imagination.

Some of the more amazing plaques declare:

"Don't cry for me as if I were lost and distant, I am an essential part of your existence; all love and pain were foreseen for me; I fulfilled my humble imitation of Christ, let whoever walked on my path keep following it. —Her Women Disciples."

"'I feel irrepressible desires to set my life on fire, if by burning it I could shine light on the path and the happiness of the people of Argentina.' 'I retain my hope for glory. My only desire is to serve the humble and the workers.' I shall return and I shall be millions! —Eva Perón. —General Confederation of Labor, Republic of Argentina."

Both of the plaques quoted above were installed in 1982, on the 30th anniversary of Evita's death. But the cult continues:

"Comrade Evita: Every time your name is pronounced, your figure grows more immense in history. You left, but you are always returning, and so it will be. Eternally. —Taxi Drivers' Syndicate of the Federal Capital, July 1997."

"Evita! Eternal in the heart of the town of Almirante Brown. —Council of the Justicialist Party of Almirante Brown, May 7, 2000."

One typewriterly tidbit: a fellow conferencegoer told me she saw a shop full of old typewriters in the window, not far from the presidential palace. Can I find it? Possibly.

This weekend I'll be meeting two fellow typewriter collectors, and we'll be going to an antique market. No typewriters were made in Argentina, as far as I know, but I hope to find some interesting import.


  1. Thank you for sharing your visit. Those are some interesting looking buildings. The city looks quite beautiful too.

  2. I fancy you will find lots of Olivettis.