Seeing it all

My left eye I can walk the same street one hundred times and what I see on the hundred and first time depends on who I am on that particular day, and it depends on who I am with.

On Tuesday ‘me and C.’ walked on Avenida Santa Fé. We had two little pieces of Buenos Aires bureaucracy to accomplish and the last of these took us down past ‘calle’ Uruguay. Both chores went smoothly. We had some precious daytime to ourselves. The sun was warm as we strolled back towards Puerreydón. I was relaxed and I saw more. I noticed the various ‘galerías’ that I have walked past those hundred times, and for some random reason I hesitated outside one. ‘Let’s go inside,’ I said.  And so we made our way down the tunnel of stores that mark the entrance of Santa Fé 1662.

I expected to find a fairly motley collection of small shops, and at first that was all I did see: books, bags, watches, souvenirs… but there was more to this little ‘galería’, much more.

While my eyes soaked in the covered café, and my head was deciding whether I might prefer a table in the sun, Carlos had stopped. I glanced round and observed him standing in front of what looked to me like a rather grim fake tree. I followed his gaze. ‘Mono,’ I heard him say. Indeed it was a ‘mono’, of a rather special recycled kind. He was fascinated by the story of the creature, created from engine parts, from metal that had been forged in another life. I stared and he stared. We saw more and more. We shared our reactions. He wanted a picture. I got the camera out. And as I tried to photograph the monkey from below, something else beautiful, painted on the ceiling, caught my eye. Now the place had my full attention and I saw all that it had to offer. We were in that wonderfully thought provoking space of art and sculpture for a very long time.

Mural in Galeria Santa Fé 1662

Afterwards I was annoyingly obsessed by entering ‘galerías’.  In the next one we encountered ‘art’ of a different variety: wall to wall tattoo parlours, and a juice bar of the ‘greenest’ possible kind. I dragged C. through its doors and before he could say ‘blueberry’ I had him sat up on an uncomfortable bar stool drinking nut milk and the said blueberries. He didn’t like the drink, or the throbbing music or the incessant whine of the tattoo needles, and to be honest neither did I. The view was a bit much: naked torsos being inked for eternity, in a goldfish bowl of a shop, across the hall. To distract C. from the sickening din and the fact he was spending $11 pesos on something that tasted far too much like it was healthy, I took his photograph many times as he shifted about on that high chair. I let him have the camera and he snapped the one of me, from which I cropped my eye.

It was only this morning that I took time out to notice the pictures we took on Tuesday. And there, from our afternoon of seeing it all, I found something unexpected in its beauty, to my eyes at least.

When I look at this honest portrait of the man who helps me to discover more than I ever imagined possible, I see everything.

One soul

Photograph published by kind permission of C.


8 Responses

  1. Wow. Now that is some kind of discovery. I want to see THAT Buenos Aires! Isn’t it amazing how things you’ve passed a thousand times suddenly reveal a hidden treasure? Sounds like you’ve started something…maybe a hidden Buenos Aires to share with us?

  2. Ah tangobaby, now there’s a thought!


  3. That is such a wonderful photo of Carlos! 🙂

  4. Hi christine in la

    Isn’t it?
    When I saw it, it almost took my breath away.

    I am happy that you saw something special there too.


  5. I think all photos are lovely. The one of Carlos reveals a lot of his spirit-and he does transmit some sweetness that is undeniable.

  6. Hey thanks Tanguera,
    You can see a couple more of him here:

    He is such a sweetie letting me take so many pictures of him, but he does have a rather characterful face!


  7. The picture of the art that looks like it is on the ceiling, where is that? It looks very nice. You should upload your travel pics to this new travel site I ran across,


  8. Hi Melissa

    Your comment got stuck in my spam queue and I only just rescued it. Sorry about that.

    Well, the ceiling mural is in the Galería at Avenida Santa Fé 1662, Buenos Aires Capital Federal. It is beautiful.

    And I will check out the travel site you mention, thanks for the tip.


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