This Week in Buenos Aires

Tuesday

(Photo by Thundershead)

Stop by the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes to check out the new Real/Virtual exhibit, featuring Argentine kinetic art from the 70´s. Av. Del Libertador 1473, Recoleta. 5288-9999

Whilst in the area remember to stop by the Palais de Glace where a special photography exhibit is being held until the 9th of July.  Opening hours: Tue-Sun midday-8pm. Posadas 1725, Recoleta

In the evening, at the Centro Cultural San Martin, Catalan Guillermo Calliero will be playing for the jazzology program starting at 8.30pm. Sarmiento 1551, Downtown.

Starting at 9pm at Cafe Rivas in San Telmo, the weekly Gringo Stand Up will provide a night of laughter and jokes in English. Estados Unidos 302, San Telmo.

 

Wednesday

(Photo by Amanky)

Book your place for Teresita’s empanadas class where you will learn the secret to this delicious local staple and then, the best part, you will get to eat them and drink Mendoza wines! More information here.

Later on stop by one of these new city hotspots  or, check out one of our favorite Palermo bars!

 

Thursday

(Photo by J)

ANDA Responsible Travel is a tour agency that promotes social and environmentally friendly tourism.  One of the alternatives they offer is booking one of their experts to discuss in-depth economy, politics, history and culture of Argentina over coffee.  Choose one of the city’s historical cafes and put yourself in context.  More information here.

For a unique evening, book your place at Fierro Hotel’s Thursday wine tasting and sample some great Argentine wines, chosen by the president of the Argentine Sommelier Association Andres Rosberg and in-house Sommelier Martin Bruno. Tastings, which include special tapas from Hernán Gipponi Restaurant, cost 25 USD per person and are limited to 7 people. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

The Colón Theatre is one of the city’s hottest attractions and for good reason. Starting at 8.30pm, there will be a concert of romantic classical music (Claroscuros e Intensidades) making for a great opportunity to experience the theatres acoustics and elegance. Tickets here.

 

Friday

(Photo by Chile por Karine)

A new exhibit on renowned Peruvian artist Fernando Bryce is being held at the MALBA until the 20th of August. Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Recoleta.

If you’re traveling with kids don’t miss the Disney on Ice shows from the 13th of July to the 27th of July at the Luna Park Stadium. Tickets here.

No visitor to the city can leave without taking a tango lesson and the informal and friendly La Catedral is just the place to do it. Sarmiento 4006, Almagro.

 

Saturday and Sunday

(Photo by salem was here)

The Colón Theatre is one of the city’s hottest attractions and for good reason. On Saturday at 11am there will be a free concert featuring the Petrus String Quartet. Tickets must be picked up in advance at the theatre. Av Belgrano 836, Downtown.

Throughout the weekend there will be a special Ikebana exhibit at the Japanese gardens in Palermo. Av. Casares 2966, Palermo. 

The Buenos Aires Port

(Photo by DMWyllie)

Do you ever wonder why people from Buenos Aires are locally referred to as ¨porteños¨? The answer is simple; it is because Buenos Aires is a port city. It was founded on the river where the port would be, and then it progressively expanded around it, as did the country. Thus, the historical relevance of the port is of great importance and also key in understanding the geographic and economic distribution of Argentina, and the cultural identity in some of its aspects.

In 1536 Pedro de Mendoza, a Spanish conquistador, founded Buenos Aires city on the banks of the Riachuelo (where La Boca is today), which drains into the Rio de La Plata river basin. Many other rivers drain into the basin as well and it was a straight access to the Atlantic ocean, so it was a key location. During this period however, it didn’t officially function as a port because the Spanish crown forbade it; its role was to be a strategic point from which to conquer the whole Rio de la Plata area with the benefit of having low tides and high riverbanks, which made it difficult for warships to approach.

It wasn’t until 1776, when the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata was formed, that the area really began to develop.  The port, which was allready being used for clandestine commerce (and- it is suspected- to transport South American silver to Spain), expanded. At the same time, England was industrializing and was in need of raw materials and markets to sell to, so goods started to flow through the port. In fact, it was such a strategic location and was expanding at such a rate that many European powers were interested in occupying it.  In the early 1800’s the British invaded it twice, without success, as the locals defended their city, sparking a sense of national identity that would lead to the Argentine independence in 1810.

From independence onwards the port continued to grow and was a protagonist of the migratory currents in the 1850’s, promoted by the first Argentine constitution, and later in the post world war periods. Centralis (“Unitarian”) policies from the founding years, concentrated economic activities around Buenos Aires and the port; the nation expanded around it, with much of its immigration settling in the city rather than populating the rest of the country as had been expected.  Thousands of immigrants populated the port and surrounding areas where they lived in conventillos (tenements).  This moment in Argentine history defined the local identity and is reflected in tangos, in Quinquela Martin’s art and in literature.

For practical purposes, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the port was moved to where Puerto Madero is now. Later it expanded to Puerto Nuevo where the port operates today.

Lunfardo: A Slang from the Prisons and Tango

A lot of you may have noticed that Argentines don´t speak Spanish the same way most other Spanish speakers from other Spanish speaking countries do.
Differences in pronunciation of “y” and “ll” and  the use of “vos” instead of “tu” amongst others, constitute the main difference on an auditive level. However,  the incorporation of “lunfardo”, a jargon that originated in the prisons of Buenos Aires as a way of secret communication amongst prisoners  is what makes the local Spanish unique.
Initially Lunfardo was only spoken by criminals who incorporated Italian, Cocoliche (a mix of Spanish and Italian), Gaucho dialect, Aboriginal words, French and Portuguese into their new slang. They also reversed syllables so that for example cafe became feca, and tango became gotan. As lunfardo spread to the lower classes, it was incorporated to tango lyrics and hence introduced into the Spanish spoken by everyone.
Now a days, we still use many of these lunfardo terms, such as feca, which we invite you to order the next time you´re at a café.

Here is a small list of amusing terms which are still used and you can try out if you want. If you’re looking for a Lunfardo/English dictionary, try the Corrientes bookstores, there used to be one called “Mataburro – Lunfardo/English” by Sara Melul and Roberto Cruañas.

Afanar: (A fah nahr) is to steal and an afano is a rip off. “Me afanaron la billetera” (My wallet was stolen)  “Esa campera es un afano” (That jacket is a rip off).
Atorrante: (Ah toh ran teh) Good-for-nothing. Scoundrel.  It can be used for example to shout out the window at a bad driver. Also to affectionately call a child: “Vení acá atorrante” (come over here you little scoundrel.) It is said, but not confirmed,  that the word originates from a brand of the citiy’s water drainage pipes (A.Torrant) where the bums used to gather.

Boludo/a:  (Boh loo doh/dah) One of the most commonly used words by locals which means idiot but literally translates to someone with big testicles (even though it’s used for girls and women too!). It can be an insult “sos un boludo” (you are an asshole)  or just a way of calling each other “che boluda, ¿adonde vamos?” (hey girl, where you should we go?). A Boludez, is something easy, a piece of cake. “hablar lunfardo es una boludez” (speaking lunfardo is a piece of cake).

Guita: (Ghee tah) It means money. “¿Me prestas algo de guita?” (can I borrow some money?). It is believed to have been an existing word in gypsy slang and spanish prison slang.

Morfi/Morfar: (Mohr fee/ mohr faar) Morfi is food and morfar is to eat, very informal. “¿Che, Vamos a morfar?” (Hey, should we go grab a bite?) The origins of these terms is the argot french word morfer which means to ingest food.

Pibe: (Pee beh) Used in lunfardo to refer to a boy, or a male. “¿Ya vino el pibe del delivery?” (Did the delivery boy come?).  Its origins are disputed, some say it comes from an italian word meaning aprentice, others say it comes from a catalan word meaning aromatic where the word  was taken to describe bad smelling youth.

Pilcha: (Peel chah) Refers to the traditional gaucho attire and commonly used to speak of all clothes. Empilchado is a way of saying dressed to the nines. The word originally comes from an aboriginal language in which it means wrinkle.  Use it in a store where you like the clothes “¡Que linda pilcha!” (What nice clothes!).