What was predicted to be a shiny city of lights is a hell hole. I see piles of grimy children burrow like rats in portals, drunks and bums wag their bewildered heads and entire clans huddled around a blanket bearing utterly worthless wares. I can see that they’ve abandoned hope for mercy and now count on greed. Demonic eyes of flashing LEDs pierce from toy dogs. Some washout sings Elvis; his voice like an angel, his face sick and tired. A saxophonist regurgitates greatest hits of the eighties in obvious disgust. Leather belts, plastic trucks, Christian Dior, McDonalds; they’re all here in an orgy of carelessness, dirt and waste.
During the last twenty years Argentina lost everything but I doubt any developed nation would need to let its children sleep on the streets.
We briefly pop into the Catedral Metropolitan searching idly for consolation. Then we swim the river of human misery back to the ship. At the gate we meet a man who’s seen his country in better times. He checks our shore leave passes, and we briefly converse. It takes centuries to build a country, he says, but only one generation to tear it all down. He looks at me, then looks at my shore pass. I’m from the Netherlands. Compared to others, my country sailed through the twentieth century unscathed, but it’s getting ran over by immigrants and refugees. Draga’s shore pass says Serbia and the man nods a brief confirmation of kinship. Behind us rise the hushed whispers of some Americans. Behind them are a few Chinese sailors, with arms full of souvenirs and grins on their faces.
Leaving the world in its flux we all return to our own ships. Tomorrow we’ll cut the ropes and we’ll be little worlds again, without neighbors and only nature to serve.
The muddy water view of Buenos Aires
A park in Buenos Aires
The famous Florida street in Buenos Aires
Uncle Raoul strutting his pride; songs go a buck a piece
The famous Obelisco on Plaza de la Republica
Florida sreet by night