Archive for March 12th, 2008

Gardel, Maradonna, and art in BA

Mar 11. This was the Shrine visit day. First off to see the bronze of Carlos Gardel. He is the Elvis of Tango, who also died too soon. Beautiful singing voice, Gardel is an icon in BA. They have converted his house into a museum, and the streets nearby have many tango stores and tango halls. But to see the birthplace of tango, we had to go to Boca.
Boca has the part of the port, where the immigrants built corrugated steel houses, which they then painted in vivid colors. This is also called Caminito. It is a feast for any artists eye to land in this part of old BA. There are non stop tango shows to go with your lunch and always a smoldering eye’d partner to pose dramatically with you. As you walk the rough cobbled streets, there are artists displaying wonderful works all along the street. Very affordable and original work.
Boca is also the name of the football club that was home to a somewhat famous guy called Diego Maradona. There are pictures, shrines, papermache statues of him all around the area. Evidently he can do no wrong, unless you are a River Platte football fan. So BA shares with Manchester the hosting of two bitter rival clubs in the same city, just at different ends.


On customer service and eating in Buenas Aires

Our experience with local customer service shows some trends. No one is in a hurry. Not at the bank, supermaket, wine store, bar or restaurant.  Customers as well as workers seem unaware that anything could move any faster..
As an employee you are entitled it seems to carry on your own business at anytime, even while at work. As an example, one waiter took our order, received a cell phone call, headed outside to comverse, lit a cigarette while having the talk and eventually came back to the restaurant and handed our order in.  Another time, he dashed to the kitchen and then minutes later he and all the cooks headed out the front door to have a smoke, chat and make several telephone calls.  Customers carry on their conversations regardless.

Yet when your food order comes it is so good, you stop caring.  Every coffee (always perfect) comes with a small cookie and a small glass of soda. Every meal comes with a fresh assortment of breads, buns, breadsticks and rusk.  Salads come on their own, oil and which kind of vinegar do you want?  The language of Kraft is banished.  The meat is always on its own, a massive thick slice, that regardless of the cut, you can cut with a regular knife, no steak knife. And when you taste there is no smoothering in BBQ, or any other type of sauce.  Some salt and pepper, but nothing interferes with the best tasting 100% organic beef in the world. Kobe is nothing compared to this.  Life as a carnivore has never been this good.