Hace calor en la ciudad!

We’re slowly settling into our ‘Casa Chorizo’ in San Telmo and adjusting to the intense January heat. It’s around the 35 degree mark most days and rather on the humid side, so it makes mooching around the barrio quite uncomfortable at times. Typically though, after say half an hour running local errands, we’re back at the pool and bliss can resume… Or can it? We may be engaging in a quintessential pool access drama, namely with those pesky Dutch gay boys in the apartment next to ours having colonised the pool on their last day (of two months here), with some shady local ring-ins. The larger of the two Den Haag residents was belly-flopping in the pool like a chunky 7-year-old who’s eaten too much chocolate cake. Not a good look I can tell you, even outraging the Austrian tango-teachers in Apartment 3. Thankfully, they (the Dutch boys) are gone as of Monday and we can begin to plant the flag for Australia and civility can resume. I guess we’ll have an ebb and flow of newbies over the next two months at Casa San Telmo and who knows what other dramas and delights are in store for us. Actually, this could be great fodder for a TV drama… but wait, was that not Melrose Place? Or Tales of the City? After all, we do have Mrs Madrigal (Mercedes) living upstairs.

We’re right in the heart of San Telmo, just off Plaza Dorrego and the wonderful old wrought-iron mercado. The crowds descend here on Sunday with the stalls packed with everything you’d imagine of a weekend market – but our favourite stands are the eclectic jewel-box like cases, some of them sold as job-lots, whilst others have individual prizes – it’s a fascinating treasure trove and oh so tempting, particularly the small silver boxes inlaid with lapis lazuli.

Like everywhere here in BA at the moment, there’s the ever-present tension caused by the economic downturn and the severe austerity measures that are impacting pretty much every level of society. We learnt this week that the economy shrank 7.5% in November and the country now has the highest annual inflation rate of (47.6%) since 1991. So it’s distressing to find (what appear to be) normal looking, cleanly dressed people pleading for handouts in the street. Heartbreaking!

As per our previous trip here, all of these pressures are played out for all to see and hear with large demonstrations and marches throughout the city pretty much on a daily basis. What we didn’t quite expect today was the San Telmo market traders noisily protesting ‘Nós somos la feria de San Telmo’ – claiming that they’re being threatened with eviction to ‘europeanise’ the San Telmo precinct and fill it with food trucks! So, in protest today, the market was severely restricted by protesting local traders. Gosh, what would this place be without local artisans!

Work begins for us on Monday, so it’s time to knuckle down for 2019 and get some stuff happening! We’re both looking forward to it!

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