Springtime in Buenos Aires by Glenn Belverio


Dear Shaded Viewers,

Because Diane has taken me on so many vicarious trips to places I’ve never been via this site, I’m returning the favor with some shots from my recent trip to Buenos Aires–a city she’s always wanted to visit. (I’ll post more later this week.) As you can see above, it was sunny and warm in the "Paris of South America", with the trees in bloom in the plaza of San Martin. I made this trip to BA after attending the Minas Gerais Trends Preview in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.


Above: I took a picture of this skyscraper in San Martin because I liked the shape of it and later found out that it’s the famous Edificio Kavanagh, an art deco landmark. When it was built in 1935, it was the tallest building in South America.

Balconies Santa_cataline_2


Above: Street art in San Telmo. San Telmo was my favorite neighborhood because it reminded me of being in Centro Habana/Habana Vieja in Cuba. As in Havana, the people in Buenos Aires are outstandingly friendly and sweet. I think every New Yorker should be required to spend a week in BA so they will learn that it’s not necessary to go through life being a rude, pushy bitch. They’ll also find out what good–really good–pizza tastes like. It was better than any pizza I had in Italy. Because of immigration, there is a lot of Italian influence in BA. The people speak Spanish with an Italian accent.


A day without Che is like a day without sunshine. When I arrived in BA, I stayed at a gay bed and breakfast in Microcentro where every room was named after a famous Argentinean. There was Maradona, Borges, and of course Evita, which had a balconey that looked out over the street. And then of course there was the Che room. Being both a fashionista and a commie (I’m an Oscar Wildean Socialist, after all) I was torn between wanting to stay in the Evita or Che room. The Evita room was much nicer (shocker) but an irritating straight couple was staying there. (Funny enough, for a gay bed and breakfast, I seemed to be the only fag staying there.) So it was the Che room for me. The room was clean and well decorated but there was no window and the walls were paper thin–allowing me to hear everything the staff was saying and doing, especially while I was trying to take a nap. And worst of all, I wasn’t allowed to bring any guests back to my room! After canoodling with a young Argentinean at a sauna and then a handsome Brazilian at an after-hours sex club called Tom’s (although everything seems to be after hours in BA)–both of whom I couldn’t bring back to my room–I was fed up, so moved to a hotel. The Argentinean lived way outside the city (I wasn’t up for a trip) and didn’t speak a speck of English. The Brazilian was from Brasilia, the fantastic city built by Communist architect Oscar Niemeyer (he turns 100 next month). I thought it was odd that my Brazilian didn’t even know that Niemeyer was still alive, but even worse was the fact that he was staying at a $9 per night youth hostel called The Madhouse where they put 12 people to a room. It made Abu Ghraib look like a Phillipe Starck luxury condominium. He was 34 years old and worked for the Brazilian government – I guess the gig doesn’t pay well? At any rate, at least we had some semi-privacy at Tom’s (if you don’t count the gawkers peering through the glory holes…ah, the romance of Buenos Aires!)


If you’ve ever seen the brilliant Wong Kar-Wai film, "Happy Together" (I’ll choose a steamy booth at Tom’s over the misery of the film’s gay protagonists any day) you’ll recognize the location above. This is the tango bar that the super-sexy Tony Leung worked at while he and his hustler boyfriend (played by the late, great Leslie Cheung) were going through one of their many breakups. I had planned on visiting a few locations from the film, such as the Chino Central restaurant, but just never got around to it.

That’s all for now, but I have tons of more photos and will try to report again.


Glenn Belverio

Glenn Belverio

Glenn Belverio is a writer and New Yorker. He has been reporting for ASVOF since 2005 and currently works at The Museum of Modern Art as the Content Manager for MoMA Design Store.