Three words sum up my time in Argentina and Uruguay: ‘Bamo loco bamo,’ as it was so eloquently put by an Argentine woman cheering at the Argentina vs. Canada football match at Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires. I assume she meant ‘Vamos locos vamos’ in her best Sunday school Castellano. Canada was downed 5-0 by the Argentine squad, that used the game as a warm-up to their World Cup aspirations. A huge brawl broke out in the section next to mine as I was crammed amidst riled up Argentines. But football is last thing on my mind since it was a minor part of my stay in Argentina and Uruguay.
When I crossed the border from Brazil into Argentina, I spent the first day in Puerto Iguazu and experienced the Gargantuan waterfall up close and personally. Then made my way to B-A, the affectionate nickname I use constantly for Buenos Aires, where I was caught up in the mayhem of the bicentennial celebrations- 200th anniversary of the republic, or revolution, whatever you want to call it. Semantics. Anyway, I had to make my way to Uruguay to try Colonia, the picturesque former Portuguese smuggling port. And Montevideo, the capital and home of my favourite Latin American journalist, Eduardo Galeano. Both cities were very quiet and had charm, however Montevideo’s historic neighbourhood called Ciudad Viejo was unique and it has gorgeous coastline known as La Rambla.
In all, I enjoyed both countries, but there’s something about walking the streets of Buenos Aires, checking out the political graffiti and watching one of the daily demonstrations. It made me feel at home, knowing that wherever I went I’d run into another rally and mass procession of Argentines fighting for one social cause or another. Memorable moments are interviewing a 96-year-old member of the Mothers of the Plaza de mayo for my up-coming documentary, comforting a Colombian girl who was robbed in the street, B-A hipster scene in San Telmo and Palermo, bookstores on every corner, bicentennial festivities, non-stop political rallies/demonstrations in Argentina, party central at Milhouse, bed bugs at the hostel in Uruguay. Ouch!
Now Im off to Mendoza, Argentina before heading across the Andes into Chile.