We arrived in glorious Buenos Aires on Tuesday and are basking in the sun….each day it has been up to about 25 degrees. Though our adventure in Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia and Cape Horn was incredible, taking off four layers of clothing and now living in sandals is like being in heaven.
The studio apartment we are renting for a month is at the edge of the Palermo barrio (neighbourhood). It is quite spacious with a kitchen and even has a bathtub, yeah!
As per our MO that first night, we dropped off our suitcases, changed into sandals and headed out to see what the neighbourhood was like. This was around 8pm and we were hungry. Some of the restaurants were open (people here start eating around 9pm and if they go to a club they start arriving at 11:30pm… much too late for me) and I had a “pollo supremo” discovering that when we see these words in a menu, it really means chicken that is flattened and breaded. Not the worst thing in the world, but I won’t order it again.
True to form, the next day we walked around the area for a total of 6 hours. During our walk, we visited the Museo Evita, situated in the house Eva, as she was also known, lived while married to Juan Peron until her death at the age of 33. Some of you will remember the musical “Evita” or the film of the same name (we haven’t seen it, but I do remember Madonna was the star … not critically acclaimed as I recall).
Eva met General Juan Peron at a charity benefit for victims of an earthquake in San Juan, Argentina, that killed around 10,000 people and left half the San Juan population homeless. Eva and Juan married the next year, 1945 and Juan was elected President of Argentina in 1946. Over the next six years, Eva became a powerful figure within the pro-Peronist trade unions, she ran the Ministries of Labour and Health, founded the Eva Peron Foundation, championed women’s suffrage in Argentina and then founded and led the nation’s first large scale political party for women, the Female Peronist Party. She was an extremely vibrant person and had strongly held views.
Inn 1951 she announced her candidacy for the Vice Presidency of Argentina…. with much support from the Peronist political base, low income folks and the working class of Argentina who were referred to as descamisados (shirtless ones). I saw some fine shirtless ones in our walk yesterday in the ecological reserve…but that is another story. Back to Eva… unfortunately, the military and the bourgeoisie were much against her… because of that and her failing health she withdrew her candidacy.
Shortly before her death in 1952, from cancer at the age of 33, she was given the title “Spiritual Leader of the Nation” by the Argentine Congress. Eva enthusiastically supported her husband’s regime even while she was dying and was given a state funeral upon her death (state funerals were generally reserved for heads of state).
Eva has become part of the international popular culture and some claim that Evita has never left the collective consciousness of the Argentine people. Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, the first female elected President of Argentina and currently in office, claims women of her generation owe a debt to Eva for “her example of passion and combativeness” … a woman after my own heart.
We also visited the Museo Penitenciario, we happened upon it while looking for the Museo de Arte Moderno. We do seem to be drawn to the carcels (jails) of the different countries we have been in.
Yesterday, we started Don’s training for the 5km run he will be doing on behalf of Amnesty International Canada in late June. We took the Subte (subway) and went to find the ecological park I mentioned earlier. We had to walk about 1.5 kms from the Subte to the entrance to the park and then started walking… there are numerous trails with the longest being the 8km walk. This is where we saw many descamisados (shirtless ones), some finer than others (wink wink, nudge nudge). We were there for about an hour and a half, walking different trails and getting bit by little black flies (when we killed them on our arms, there was lots of blood … don’t know if it was ours or someone else’s).
At the end of the walk, we decided it might be better to find a training area closer to our apartment, so the search is on for the perfect area for this wonderful endeavour. I am going to shamelessly plug Don’s run for him… it is a fundraiser for Amnesty. This will be Don’s third run for Amnesty and this year he will be running wherever we are on June 24th. I was the first one to pledge ($143.45… don’t ask why that number) and I would love it if you would consider pledging. Here is the link ….
Thanks so much and sending much happiness to you all!