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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Clopping Horse Feet and Red Lights

This particular piece of writing has no real objective and no unifying theme. Just a few things Ive been meaning to mention about life in Buenos Aires that I havent come around to writing about yet.

1)I live across from a hospital, and the computer is right under the window that faces the hospital. All the hours I spend here, writing or "being disciplined" about studying Chinese when in reality reading articles in the paper or sports scores are accompanied by rising and falling blurs of sounds from passing cars and soaring wails of approaching ambulances. Yesterday morning, though, at around 10, twice, in an otherwise unnoticable lull in sound, I was treated to the sound of clomping horse doubt horses pulling wooden carts that some people use here when they go around collecting cardboard and other recycleables. I have seen these several times in quieter streets - cobblestoned streets at night, streets which are lined by weird angled trees that cast horror movie scary shadows on graffiti'd walls. Wow, that was an awful sentence. Anyway, all the horse hooves and cobblestones and shadows are a cliched version of evocative that I really enjoy.

2)Last night, and yesterday afternoon, when Natalia and I were taking fairly long cab rides...we got stuck with what must be the two most cautious cab drivers in BA. They stayed in their lanes, went the speed limit, and most disappointing stopped at yellow lights about to turn red. Being stuck at a red light here, you have a chance to look at several lights, one every block, running towards the horizon you are approaching. Another awful sentence. Anyway, they are all red. The light system here sucks. There is no sense of sensible staggering. If you miss one light, odds are you are going to be stopping every second block at best.
Having said that, there is one experience I would hope anyone coming to BA migh have. The parade of green lights. It happened to me once, and on 9 de Julio at that - a street so wide you need to wait two lights to cross it. Anyway, if things get timed just right, and if the street is empty enough, as was 9 de Julio that particular 4 AM, every light goes from red to yellow to green just as you are approaching. The driver knows this and he never slows down. As you approach red at 50 MPH and watch the light turn for you it is almost like a religious experience - like someone is telling you, yes, go...And on that particular night I could only think of a David Gray song I went crazy for a few years back...(actually the whole album (White Ladder) was like my shadow when I was living in Prague, but thats beside the point)- in Babylon the first verse talks about a frustrating Friday night when all the lights are going red and nothing is right. Then comes Saturday with intoxicants in the bloodstream and lights going green..Running down the widest avenue in the world at 4 AM with light after light going green was about as good as being in a packed club with a wicked beat driving everyone up, and everyone hitting the beat together, sweating, waiting for the scream, the over the top when the music breaks and speeds off into hazy oblivion...and there I was, sober and heading home with Natalia.

I feel that I should add some one more sentence there, a resolution or a conclusion, but no..gotta run.
Tonight meeting a Czech couple on a round the world trip that I met way back in Myanmar last November...ages ago. I suppose we will have a lot of stories to tell!


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