Back to B.A. February 10

 

In some of the plazas there are some very old and large Ficus trees, with an interesting configuration of trunks and branches.  In this one they’ve even inserted a statue to hold up one of the branches!

Eva Peron, of course, is a real legend in Buenos Aires.  Evidently there was some controversy concerning her burial, but this is, in fact, her official tomb.

Although there are many elegant neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, and obviously over the years a lot to wealthy people lived there, my favorite neighborhood is called La Boca, where a minor river meets Rio de la Plata.  This is a very zesty neighborhood, a real melting pot where immigrants from various parts of the world settled, all in one neighborhood.  They built houses of available materials that they could find among the trash at the docks, often corrugated metal, which they lined with wood to keep their homes from getting too hot in summer. A number of years ago a prominent artist suggested that they paint the buildings bright colors, which makes the neighborhood a very bright artistic experience.  Lots of artists exhibit their work along the streets and in the plazas, and sculptures make these very pleasing, even funny exhibits.  I love the brightly colored school, which would be a pleasant kind of place to work.  This is also the section of town where the tango was invented, and tango dancers abound.

The pope is a very popular and important person here, because he comes from Buenos Aires, a local guy.  In this section of town he is portrayed over and over in these great sculptures.

There are other caricatures of popular icons, such as soccer players and other cultural heroes.

As we drove away from La Boca neighborhood, we happened to pass a shanty town, which of course, after seeing the elegant mansions from the last century in another part of town, interested me.  I’ve seen shanty towns in various parts of Asia and Africa, and was very interested to see their role in South American culture.   Usually the inhabitants have come from the country to seek their fortune in the big cities and arrive with nothing.  They scavenge various places to find building materials, although there is no code, and cobble together a dwelling.  Then they have a family and they never get to the point of moving into a proper house.

Francis Schaeffer used to say that if Jesus were to be born today it would probably be in a shanty town somewhere.    Some really amazing, creative and even godly people live in places like this, but you don’t usually meet them on bus tours!

 

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