I rise around 11.20. The France-England game is not on at the Gibraltar pub. But a couple of texts from Jules, a nice young French guy, guides me to another bar with the game on.
We are a group of six watching the game, three English, two Irish, one French. I’ve nothing against the English, but I’m afraid I side with Jules, I can not stop myself supporting France. Why are we Irish so predictable?
In my defence, I do, usually, support England, when they play Southern Hemisphere teams, like New Zealand, or South Africa. I think.
Later, Nadia comes around. We sunbathe on the roof terrace, to test-drive the new garden furniture. Then I get a text from my Texan pal Ryan, saying he is coming to San Telmo for the Sunday markets.
Nadia has to find a woman who can sell some antique purses she has brought, so we divide forces for an hour or so. I meet up with Ryan and we peruse the long line of stalls on Defensa, taking in some superb Brazillian samba drumming on the way. I buy an Argentine football shirt for myself, an iconic garment and pick up a second, tiny, T-shirt for my baby niece Maud.
Then we re-unite wth Nadia and I treat the other two to a round of beer, spring rolls and Cerviches in the Peruvian establishment.
We go back to Placa Dorrego, for a few final drinks to round off the weekend. The talk is friendly, interesting and relaxed, the comfort, not of starngers of course, but perhaps of people who travel widely and may not see each other again. I reflect how lucky it was meeting two such good people during my stay here.
The Brazillians have moved from c/Defensa into Plaza Dorrego, their hypnotic rhythms and chanting fills the square, deep into the night.
Monday. Last post from B.A.
Once again, it buckets on a Monday. The third Monday of rain in a row now.
It’s a day for writing, cleaning. A day for some rare, sober and responsible routine.
It’s also, sadly but undeniably, time to start thinking of home and planning for the voyage back. I have far more stuff now than on my arrival. Another large bag is required for excess luguage and presents. Once again the San Telmo market provides the necessary. In fact the new-old bag comes from the same stall as my Indianna Jones shoulder bag in week one. How long ago that seems now.
I narrowly resist the temptation to buy an antique street sign (for Avenida de Cordoba) conscious of the vast amount of money I’ve spent in Argentina.
For the same reason I defer a decision on a 1970s Italian desk light.
But in a nice wine store I finally locate a bottle of Ruca Malena for Sarah Ryder. I think she will be pleased.
Back in the house, at the small circular marble table, just inside the French doors in our upstairs kitchen-lounge, looking over the little courtyard with its huge tropical plants, I write this, what I imagine will be my last post from Buenos Aires, with the sound of Maria Julia’s voice and music, drifting over the divide from her window kitchen across the way.
There is no more time left, certainly for my blogging style of outsized posts.
Tomorrow I pray the rain will stay away. I hope to sunbathe one last time in the morning, then attend two back-to-back tango classes at the Borges centre.
I see from my photocopied class schedule one of them is ritmo or rythmica de tango, or something rhythmic anyway. Whatever it is, it sounds a much-needed remedy for my form of dance.
Then later in the evening, Erik Vandergrijn has invited me to supper at his home. Later that night, perhaps after midnight, if anyone else is interested, I expect I’ll attend la Catidral one last time.
Wednesday I will pack, go to the book store to purchase some vital reading material for the flights home. If experience is any guide, the films will be hard to see, and proabably attrocious as well. Then I’ll have one last Argentine streak nearby.
All of Thursday and half Friday will be spent travelling.
I’m already not particularly looking forward to the 12-hour flight, nor the six stopover in Madrid airport, of very early morning tedium.
No Will Morton this time alas, to drive me into the centre and provide welcome company. Mr Moreton will be up north in the Basque country, coaching his son’s rugby team.
It’s hard really to visualise myself making an early morning solo dash for the Prado, I expect it does not open until 9.
But Buenos Aires has been a blast.
This is a truly wonderful city. I’m very glad I came, and in truth don’t regret spending all my time here. I hope I get to come to Latin America again someday and next time travel around more, perhaps with some company. But this time depth rather than breath has been the key, and the right one for me at least.
It is dark here now and the rain has stopped at last. But water still runs down the dark waxy giant palms outside, the fat drops fall with a slow plump drumming noise onto the leaves below.
It seems an apt sound track for to sign off on. Goodbye Buenos Aires.
And as for you, (yes, you, my friends) thank you very much for reading.
It is hoped you’ve been amused.
San Telmo, Buenos Aires,
12th of March, 2012