Hooray for Independence

Trip Start Jun 16, 2006
Trip End Aug 15, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  , Capital Federal District,
Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Today is the Fourth of July. Today is the birthday of the United States of America. The greatest nation in the course of recorded history. Appropriately, 230 years ago today, Jefferson began his monumental piece of American prose declaring rebellion from England with: "When in the course of human events . . ."

With respect to the course of my events, I did the most American thing I could think of (don`t ever end a sentence with a preposition). I went shopping.

It was a cloudy and foggy day in Buenos Aires. But I did not let that deter my jubilance. I took a bus into the downtown area and shopped my little heart out. I bought a new backpack for use, hopefully, on the Inca trail. If not, some hiking in the south of Chile or Argentina will have to do. Then I bought a leather jacket. A damn fine looking leather jacket. I know, you`re all upset at me for purchasing an animal product. It`s morally reprehensible. It`s disgusting.

But there comes a sincere time in every man`s life where he has to question his premises. When I saw those cows in the Pampas (the grasslands of Argentina that breed the oh-so-tasty cattle that puts a smile on the face of every man, woman and child in the country), when I was passing through on that stange bus, there was a moment between me and a young calf who had resigned himself to his fate. He looked into my eyes, and he said to me, "Hey Alan, you know what--enjoy your leather jacket."

And that I will. Except the woman who sold it to me, the woman from Israel, who told me she would change the sleeve length, did not. I`m going back there tomorrow to have them fix the sleeves or at least exchange it. Or I`ll call up Visa and refuse to pay. Life takes determination my ass. I`m the boss of them. I`m a consumer for crying out loud. This is Burger King and I want it my way. This is the Holiday Inn.

Shit, I`m starting to feel that these entries and photos are becoming a monumental testament to my ego. Ok, so what else did I do? I ate in Cafe Tortoni, the famous cafe that was built in 1858 (the food in Cafe Tacuba in Mexico City is better by the way). A waiter took my picture for me so I gave him an extra shiny big tip. I also took pictures of the clock tower (Argentina`s answer to Big Ben), the Plaza de Mayo (the pink government house) and the Obelisko (Argentina`s answer to the Washington monument).

So no need for me to go to London or return to D.C. At least that`s the feeling I get from speaking to some people here. They`ll also tell you here that you don`t need to go to Paris if you`ve been to the parks of Palermo (which is what I`m doing tomorrow along with some art museums).

So Argentines are sometimes criticized for being arrogant. But hey you know what? Maybe that is why I fit in so well here.
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