La Boca

La BocaEver since seeing the video, I’ve been curious about the colorful buildings he danced in front of in Buenos Aires.  Now that I’m here, of course I have to go see them for myself.  I thought they were in San Telmo for some reason, but it turns out that they are in La Boca.

When the taxi arrived in the little barrio next to the shipping lanes, I was quite happy to immediately see colorful buildings.  Wandering around a bit, though, I was a bit disappointed.  These buildings only seemed to encompass about a 4×4 block space, the surrounding buildings’ colors had faded and they looked like any shipping area might.  In the tourist area, there are lots and lots of shops selling the same junk.  Little magnets and statues, all from the same makers.  Lots of gourds, very cheap, but none as nice as the one I picked up in San Telmo.  The only arts and crafts are paintings, and they all look very similar.  There is fake laundry hanging up between the buildings.  It seems that the government is keeping up this area for tourists.  It feels very fake, though it is still very pretty.

In the old days, the Italians lived in this barrio and worked in the shipyards.  They would take home ship paint and paint their houses with it to make them look bright and happy.  This is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, and has been for a long time.  Tango was born here, and there are still milongas her on the weekends.  The barrio is real, with a real history, and I was a little sad to see it with such an obvious painted-on face.


~ by Liz on January 12, 2009.

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