Saturday, 15 November 2008

Culture overload

I was determined not to feel pressured into doing anything yesterday, so I spent my day going to and from Parque Lezama, which is San Telmo's local park. I have a book of short stories to read and study, and that's what's at the top of my agenda for the time being. If I'm here for 3 months, then there's really no need to rush around trying to see everything the city has to offer in the first couple of weeks. After the stress of walking through the hot streets of the city centre and sorting out a flat, I just wanted to sit in a park and read, so I did just that.

The government of la Ciudad de Buenos Aires seems rather generous when it comes to art and culture: to celebrate the arrival of Spring, they fund an enormous variety of cultural activities. I think that the film I saw for free the other night was part of this mammoth programme of events. That was just the beginning for me...

Starting from this Sunday, and continuing every weekend until into December, there will be "living chess" in Parque Lezama. I will surely write more about this after attending an event. Yesterday morning, I saw them start work on the giant chessboard, and then I watched them continue when I returned in the early evening:

Parque Lezama - making the chessboardParque Lezama - continuing the chessboard

I am, naturally, quite excited at the prospect of seeing tango dancers getting ordered around a chessboard, so I'm looking forward to this Sunday.

Tonight, we have "La noche de los museos" - a wild-sounding affair where every museum in the city opens its doors to the public for free, with some putting on special events. I spent some time this morning skimming through the enormous list, working out what I should see. The problem with such a night is that, just as a free bar seems to make people think they have to drink as much as possible, a night of free museums may make people think they have to see as much as possible. I've decided to focus on only two places: the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, which will be displaying avant-garde art from the 20th century, and the Biblioteca Nacional, where they will be giving a talk (and a tour?) on the labyrinths of the library and their relation to the work of Borges (who worked at the library). Both places are in Recoleta, so I shouldn't be rushing between shows, and should have time to actually think about what I've experienced...

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It's got decidedly cooler in Buenos Aires overnight, and I think I may put on some jeans and shoes today. It's funny, actually, because I chose to take my jacket to the park with me yesterday evening (the park is well-designed: you can sit in the shade and be cooled by the breeze, which can actually get quite chilly at times - a pleasant relief from the incredible heat experienced on the streets). I was the only one in town wearing sleeves. But then, during the night, I was woken by torrential rain falling outside my door. And this morning, just as I was writing an email to tell a friend how I almost regretted bringing jeans and hoodies, I heard someone outside say that there was a very cold wind blowing...

I imagine it will get warmer as the day progresses, though. Still, it was nice to wear my hoodie as I went for breakfast this morning!

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