Here’s an image for you: on one of the smartest streets in Recoleta, Avenida Alvear and directly opposite the very swish Vatican Embassy, I saw a young ‘street urchin’ having just emerged shirtless from his slumber in a pile of not-so-nice looking blankets, shaving himself, with cream, using the highly polished brass door handles as his personal mirror. No sign of the doorman at this smart apartment building or the residents for that matter… No pics alas, I wasn’t bold enough to try, it was a private moment glimpsed as I walked by. But an image of a have not reclaiming an identity…?
I was on my way to see the Floralis Genérica, one of the largest and best-known monuments in Buenos Aires. It’s actually a massive stainless-steel automated flower weighing in at 18 tons and reaching 23 metres into the sky. It was designed and built in 2002 and has an automated mechanism that opens and closes the six giant flower petals at first light and at dusk. It’s pretty impressive actually, but unfortunately, I timed my visit with a passing rain shower so perhaps it doesn’t look as gleaming in my photos as it could have. Still, impressive stuff. Not exactly sure how reliable the opening and closing is – I guess you have to be there at certain times of the day to see (but I would imagine it’s incremental), though when I was there at midday, it was indeed open to its fullest.
I think we’ve finally eased into a proper Buenos Aires Summer – aside from today’s midday blip that is. The purple haze of jacarandas is everywhere, particularly lining the Avenida 9 de Julio, the pink splashes of the lapacho tree are in the parks and gardens around the city, the scent of jasmine and the loud screeches from the ever-present green parrot squadrons fill the air.