Artsy week

January 29th, 2023

I finished “Self-Made Worlds” by Mark Sloan and Roger Manley – it’s mostly a ”picture book” about self-made artists who have constructed odd environments in which to live. It was fascinating, and spurred me to return to the local flea market to see if Tony Valiente was there – and he was! He’s quite the character, and I walked out with a small clock sculpture and felt a bit more enriched for our visit.

Tony strikes a pose
The small clock sculpture (hard to understand from this view)

Before the flea market, I walked around a street fair (lots of them around the city each weekend) at Plaza Serrano that was nice. And I got a hair cut yesterday morning – there’s a salon that specializes in curly hair where I’ve had my hair cut before – hoorah!

Walls all over are decorated with images from the World Cup (Plaza Serrano)

The Embassy got an art refresh last week and now we have some fun limited edition prints (Jeff Koons, for one), original paintings, and photos of prior Presidents and First Ladies. (They used the term “refresh” but I’m not sure the 1970s-era Broadway posters that were hanging up (no kidding) counted as art in the first place!) The curator came to Buenos Aires to hang the collection, and John arranged for him to do a talk for Embassy employees about it – very interesting! Bonus: everything was donated through a special program, so no cost to U.S. taxpayers.

Last night we were invited to Bosch Palace to celebrate the wedding anniversary of the Ambassador and his wife – it was quite the epic party. Aside from the lovely jazz combo, they brought in an 18-year-old (whose name I didn’t catch) but who sang (partially) in falsetto – kind of amazing. Then we moved outside where they had set up a dance floor and we got to see a short performance by an Argentine dance/drum group called Malevo – I really enjoyed it – it was kind of like River Dance, South America style. Check out this short video. They were on “America’s Got Talent” a few years ago and are heading to the U.S. this week to start a tour.

This morning we got on our bikes and headed to the EcoReserva – another beautiful day and we really enjoyed being outside. Here are some photos:

“Tower of the English” as it was know before the dust-up in the Malvinas (aka The Falklands); now it’s just “Monumental Tower.”

Along the canal
Storks!
”Floralis Genérica” Huge mobile sculpture that is supposed to open in the morning and close at night (not sure it still does) – we can see it from our apartment.

And I’ll leave you with your weekly dose of cuteness from Flavia!

Old home week

January 22nd, 2023
Hernan, John, and Martin

This was definitely the week for old friends! We went to a fun asado (BBQ) last night with John’s friends from his Systematics days – we were at Hernan’s weekend place about an hour outside the city. I don’t think I had met Hernan before (although he’s been to Little Rock for classes), but he and his wife and kids were great. And what a treat to see Martin and Rosario again – they were in Costa Rica with us, and I haven’t seen them since. It was really a fun evening!

Hernan and Sandra
Martin and Rosario

And earlier in the week, we hosted dinner for Jessica and her family – she was a junior officer with us in Guadalajara and was visiting Buenos Aires from her current post in Lima. Jill, who I currently work closely with and who was also with us in Guadalajara, came as well. It was lots of fun catching up!

We took advantage of the American holiday on Monday to buy bicycles! We took them out for a spin yesterday morning and had a blast! We passed this statue in one of the parks where we rode – very serene and the trees are beautiful.

Ghandi

And we stopped on the way home so I could get my cherry fix. I continue to be blown away by the produce shops here – this was just the fruit (veggies were in the back):

Last Sunday I met Lea for brunch at Casa Cavia – I love their entryway display of Gerber daisies:

TV-wise we watched the latest season of “Jack Ryan” and started the new season of “Hunters” with Al Pacino.

Good week!

Summer

January 15th, 2023
Flavia in her bed

Flavia sure loves her bed! It sits on a desk by a window so she can bask in the sun. It’s summer here, and, aside from the heat (it can get hot!), I love it. January is when Argentines typically leave for vacation, and the town is quiet and less crowded. It’s my new favorite month!

We went to a fun dinner Friday night at Rachel’s house with some co-workers – it was a good way to end a stressful week. I was filling in for my boss, and we’re also making some personnel changes, so there was lots to do.

Other than work, the week was quiet. I went to the salon yesterday, and we had a yummy smoked brisket delivered. We watched a great movie last Sunday night, “The Official Story,” about the babies taken from their mothers at the detention centers – it actually won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1985. We’re also watching the new season of “Jack Ryan,” which we’re enjoying. And I’m reading “All the Living and the Dead,” about the “death industry” (yeah, I read stuff like that and enjoy it!).

My mother-in-law celebrated her birthday this week – happy birthday, Ginger!

I noticed these two lovely monk parakeets in a tree at the embassy this week – so pretty!

Museum of Memory (ESMA)

January 8th, 2023
Wall of “disappeared” people

Yesterday John and I went with some embassy folks to the Museum of Memory at the site of the former Argentine naval school. A translated version of the web page describes it: History and memory come alive in this space created in 2004 to preserve memory, promote and defend human rights and bear witness to crimes against humanity committed during state terrorism. It is located on the 17-hectare property of the Navy Mechanics School (ESMA), where a clandestine detention, torture, and extermination center operated during the last civic-military dictatorship (1976-1983).

The museum itself is housed in the building where the “disappeared” (as they are called) where held and tortured. There’s no furniture or artifacts, just an eerily empty building with nicely done explanations serving as the installations. The attic where they were held was hot and cramped, including the — yes — maternity ward where detained women gave birth (and had their babies taken from them). A recent movie, “Argentina 1985” details the subsequent trial; I highly recommend it. The whole thing was surreal – the building where they were held and tortured wasn’t that large, and officers lived, ate, and relaxed in the same building. Outside, cadets exercised and attended classes. It’s mind boggling.

The campus itself was beautiful. There are dozens of buildings, some still in use as various offices while others are abandoned and overgrown. Signs line some of the walkways showing personal stories of some of the disappeared.

Memorial depicting the mothers who protest (and still do) and look for their children

Last Saturday was rainy and relaxing, and a nice start to the new year. I had a video chat with Ann, Pam, and Jackie, and John Skyped with Russ. We enjoyed the Monday holiday at home, reading.

Friday was a huge treat! My college friend Jamie and her partner Alfred came for dinner after finishing up a long South American cruise – it was just wonderful to see her after what? 40 years? We talked and laughed till close to midnight – we may as well have been back in Galloway Hall at Hendrix! Good times!

I finished several books this week: “Keep Sharp,” by Sanjay Gupta; “The Bullet that Missed (Thursday Murder Club #3); and “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing,” by Matthew Perry. We also watched “White Noise.”

Rainy new year

January 1st, 2023
Flavie living her best life in the sun!

The new year is starting off cloudy and rainy here in Buenos Aires, but otherwise it’s definitely summertime. We had a fun brunch at our house yesterday with several friends around the table – lots of good food, conversation, and champagne!

Last Monday was a holiday, so Lea and I ventured out to La Alacena for a good Italian lunch – I walked there and back, going through new neighborhoods. I took Friday off from work, mostly to get things ready for Saturday’s brunch.

Christmas evening, we finally watched the new “Top Gun” movie – it was so much fun! We had watched the original one during home leave in preparation for the new one, but then never got around to seeing it in the theatre. We’ve also been watching “Slow Horses” and “Treason,” another British spy series. I read “Happiness is a Choice You Make” and Sanjay Gupta’s “Keep Sharp.” I’m not as much of a reader as John, but I did finish 48 books in 2022 according to GoodReads!

I don’t think I mentioned it here in the blog, but Nancy Stiles passed away a couple of weeks ago. She and Dail were so good to me over the years – she and I had more than one gin and tonics together. She will be missed.