By Madeline Blasberg
Buenos Aires has been called the most romantic city in the world, and that’s not without good reason. The people here are beautiful, the nights are warm and humid, tango music rings out against the hum of traffic and young couples do things on street corners that would make my grandmother gasp.
It’s not on just street corners or benches in the park – PDA is absolutely everywhere. Any place big enough for two feet to stand, one person to sit, or two people to tango (in both the horizontal and vertical varieties) is occupied with jovenes enamorados (young people in love). And I, unlike my grandmother, do not gasp. I gawk. It’s too much sweetness to pretend not to have seen.
Feeling a little left out of all the love, and needing to fill an empty schedule, I decided to take myself on a date. I can’t very well pin myself against a lamppost, so I had to think of something else. Anna, my friend from Mizzou who is hosting me at her apartment, needed a day to finish up some work so I ventured into the city alone.
I took myself to El Museo de Bellas Artes to wander around the air-conditioned halls full of beautiful paintings and snoozing security guards. Then I got myself flowers. Ok, I got myself one giant flower. It’s called Floralis Genérica. The giant metal petals open during the day, and close up at night…that is, if everything is working properly.
From there, I accomplished my most courageous act thus far: the Buenos Aires buses. For the past several days I’ve been following Anna around like a lost puppy, jumping on and hopping off buses whenever she gave me the signal, commuting around the city without any real idea of where I was headed. This time, I did it on my own and without any glitches. I walked myself around Plaza de Mayo, saw the Casa Rosada where Eva Perón made her famous final speech (Myth buster: she never said “Don’t cry for me, Argentina.” I know, we’ve been lied to).
And when I’d seen all the plaza had to offer and I felt my skin begin to toast under the glare of the mid-day sun, I wandered deeper into the city to take refuge in the shadows of the towering buildings. Just when my internal radar began to detect that I had lost my way, I stumbled right into a side street market full of artisans and their stalls full of goods. After a bit of window-less shopping, I sat down at a corner café for lunch and a bit of writing. It was perfect.
Well mostly perfect, except that I ordered at the wrong place, spilled my drink, and received a spoon when I thought I’d asked for a knife. Still, I consider it a very successful date: Not too expensive, undertones of danger in getting lost or smashed by a speeding bus, beautiful settings and spontaneous wanderings. Not to mention excellent company. I think I’ll be asking her out again very soon.