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  • Day29

    Day 27 - The Famous

    January 24, 2019 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Today's theme was famous people.

    We started off at Plaza de Mayo, hoping to see the Mother's of Plaza de Mayo but the guidebook had the wrong time. On the one corner of the Plaza sits the Municipal Cathedral. This imposing, neo-classical building is where Pope Francis was prelate before being chosen. The interior has ornate, baroque details and a rococo altar. It is huge, with beautiful side chapels commemorating various saints and martyrs. We walked the aisles and sat awhile.

    In one, grandiose side mausoleum are the remains of Jose de San Martin, Argentina's most revered hero. San Martin led the fight for independence in the 1810s, then crossed the Andes and did the same for Chile, Peru, and Ecuador during roughly 15 years of fighting. That makes him a hero, not just here but in all of the continent. While in Peru and Ecuador, he fought alongside South America's other great liberator, Simon Bolivar. Bolivar was doing the same thing in Bolivia, Columbia, Venezuela, and
    Panama.

    Before leaving the cathedral, we bought some Pope Francis momentos then taxied to the Evita Museum.

    It is almost impossible to overstate how revered Eva Duarte de Peron is. She was, as cinema bluffs will recall, the wife of the immensely popular Juan Peron who was president from 1946 to 1954. Evita, however, was as popular or even more so than her husband. She was a radio and film actress before marrying Peron but as First Lady (and Vice President in Peron's second term), she was the champion of the poor, the "shirtless," and women. She instituted social reforms providing economic relief to the poor, built housing for them through the foundation she created, and forced through legislation giving women the right to vote. No wonder she is a quasi-saint even now. She died at 33 in 1952 from uterine cancer. Two, nine-story tall sculptures adorn the Ministry of Social Development building. This building sits in the middle of BA's 16-lane Ninth of July Boulevard, the widest street in South America. The sculptures are visible for miles.

    We toured the museum, which recounts her life and displays some of her dresses and house items. It shows videos clips of some her famous speeches and activities.

    We had a light lunch in the Museum cafe then walked to the MALBA, the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires. This museum showcases art of the 20th century 1900 to 1970. They were showing a special exhibit of the works of Pablo Suarez and his contemporaries. Suarez was an avant-garde painter and sculptor from the early part of the century. His work was bold and risque with many nudes and mixed media works. We toured the permanent exhibits, which ranged from cubist to modern.

    Back at the apartment, I went out to make dinner and show reservations for tomorrow and take some pics of the Evita sculptures.

    Walking the sidewalks is an interesting experience. Around the older parts of the city, they are mostly tile blocks, with some cobblestone sections. The tiles, however, are loose and broken in many places so they are uneven and hazardous. In front of some buildings, ceramic plaques have been set into the tiles. These plaques tell you that in this house lived so-and-so who "disappeared" on this date. It is striking how many of these there are (more than 30,000). Most of the intersections do not have signals so drivers treat them as games of chicken with traffic from the cross street and pedestrians have to fend for themselves - although pedestrians have right of way when in the crosswalks (if you're brave enough to claim it).
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