Wide streets and drunken sticks

Avenida 9 de Julio is the widest street in the world at 460 feet, with 18 lanes of traffic. It’s impossible to get a sense of just how enormous this thoroughfare is without being high up on some hotel or apartment roof-terrace or perhaps even in a helicopter – working on the latter. The sidewalks of 9 de Julio are dotted with jacaranda trees which are just about to burst into their purple haze. However, what’s also amazing are the palo borracho (drunken stick or silk floss) trees that are native to Argentina and line up between the central bus lanes – they’re like angry boab trees with their bottle-shaped trunks and unusual thick, sharp conical thorns covering their trunks and branches.

Right now the palo borracho trees are fruiting with avocado-like pods dangling provocatively from the branches, swaying in the wind, and exploding into large balls of white cotton fluff. Once the fluff has been set adrift by the wind (all over the avenida) large pink flowers burst out turning these trees too into huge balls of colour.

It’s all rather lovely and turns what could have been an ugly utilitarian scar of a road into a beautiful main axis to this beautiful city.

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