Don’t Fly For Me Argentina

Yduj and I were in Buenos Aires on vacation last week.  It’s really quite a lovely city and has a distinctly European feel to it.  In fact, it’s  often referred to as the “Paris of South America”.  But as nice as it is, that may be a little too generous of a comparison.  I’d be surprised shocked if anyone ever refers to Paris as the “Buenos Aires of Europe.”

We played the part of tourists and visited the usual sites.  One of them was an old cemetery, Recoleta Cemetery, which is located in the heart of the city.  The thing that distinguishes this cemetery is that it is a necrotorium full of thousands of crypts.  These were erected during the last several centuries and house the remains of much of the old aristocracy of Buenos Aires.  The crypts which are often very large and ornate, are laid out in a grid.  In fact, it looks like a small city;  one with very little night life…very little at all.  It occurred to me that Recoleta is the “Greenwood Cemetery of South America”.   I think I may be alone in this description.

One of the things that isn’t mentioned in any of the guide books about Buenos Aires is that it was a haven for Nazis who fled there after World War II.  So after visiting the Malba Museo (the “MOMA of South America”) and various other museums and attractions, if one  is looking for something different to do, one  can spend a leisurely afternoon walking the tree-lined streets shouting German phrases just to see who responds. I believe this is the method that the Israelis used in tracking down Adolph Eichmann in the ’60s.

As much as we liked Buenos Aires, the city liked us even more.  So much so that it wouldn’t let us leave. On our first attempt to fly out, we were turned away at the airport because of ash from the eruption of a volcano in Chile that was permeating South American airspace.  For a number of days, it seemed unclear if we would ever be able to leave. Yduj and I alternated between looking for a military transport out and making plans to retire there.  But finally there was a enough of a clearing for us to get a flight.  Which was a great relief until we were actually on the plane.  An eleven hour flight in a tiny coach seat  had me feeling like I’d been renditioned to Egypt or worse yet, Saudi Arabia.  It wasn’t as bad for Yduj who’s smaller and a lot more flexible (physically) than I am.  She was able to get into so many different sleeping positions that I’m planning a publishing an illustrated book called, “The Kama Sutra of Airline Travel”.

Because I couldn’t sleep on the flight home, I had time to reflect on our trip.  And it dawned on me…the city is over-run by polluting buses and trucks; there are tons of ash swirling all over;  and still,  it’s called Buenos Aires–Fresh Air!  How ironic is that?!!

Recoleta--The Ulitmate Retirement Community

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