Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 8: 6/12/11...Elmo Delmo Telmo

      Oh boy! Shopping! Today is the weekly day for the San Telmo market. I don't ever get excited about that sort of thing, but I was on a mission for souvenirs to bring back to the folks back home. I ended up spending much much too much money. Mostly because I found an artist whose work I really liked a lot. I ended up spending all of my ATM limit for the day, which was troubling.

      About the title for today's post: Stephen Malkmus has a song called "Elmo Delmo" and every single time I look at a Buenos Aires map and see "San Telmo" I hear that song. And I've seen Buenos Aires maps pretty much continuously for the last few days. So being in that part of town was making me a little nuts. The good part about spending all my pesos was that I didn't stay at the market long.

      I'm pretty sure I saw a guy get robbed right in front of me. It looked like the old "lean in with the shoulder, hit victim like it's an accident, pick pocket while gruffly apologizing" trick. I can't be sure, but I've been on the lookout for it. They also do the grab and motorcycle away thing, and I've been told the slice-the-backpack tango happens a bunch, too.

       I've been absurdly paranoid about crime - and it's sort of a moderate downer. The only thing I'm really stressed over is my camera. So far, so good - and I think I'm fairly savvy about it. But it's so easy to get lost and end up in a scary area. SPEAKING of which....

       After the fair I got completely lost trying to find the Modern Art museum. It was a marathon hike anyway, but it was all for naught. I went to where the guidebook said it should be, and nothing. I ended up asking directions at a hotel and the guy sent me all across town on a goose chase. By the time I gave up, I was approaching the Boca neighborhood, which people speak of in hushed whispers and shifty eyes. It's like the whole neighborhood is a snake pit or something. Keeeep awaaaayyyy... And here I am with my camera and hundreds of dollars in art under my arm.

       So I hit the subway to get back to a safer area. Then I continued my search - but somehow - I have no idea how - I ended up back in that exact same spot. It was like a crime vortex had sucked me into its gravitational field and was toying with me before sucking me into its maw.

       I went down into the same subway station and decided on a whole new plan. My initiative and doubling back tricked the vortex and I lived to not be robbed another day. The new plan was some of the Palermo area museums.

       First was a Folk Art museum. It was pretty cool - but small - but free! All sorts of stuff from "naive" art to skilled craftspeople. Mostly objects as opposed to paintings. The lady there was super nice.

       Time was running out for museums - although they generally stay open later than in the US - usually 8 or 9pm. I ended up at MALBA, a museum for Latin American art (pretty much any country south of the US.) This is a real deal museum with nice design and multiple floors, like most big city art museums. Sadly I ran out of time before I could get halfway.

        After that a good dinner, and another hour of walking around with my horrible map, searching for street signs which did not seem to exist. Oh yeah, and playing hopscotch around the poop.

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