Postcard #4: A tale of two cities

To me, Buenos Aires is a city of dualities.

It’s a city where you can eat one of the best steaks you’ve ever had in your life while sitting roadside on a plastic table, listening to the screeching of a bus breaking and smelling its exhaust.

And right after eating that roadside steak, you can witness one of the most heartbreaking, beautiful, and intense displays of human emotion – Tango. An art form that was born from years of suffering, rose to prominence, was relegated to the sidelines, and is now back again.

It’s a city where its residents are Argentine yet distinctly porteño.

At its peak, Buenos Aires was a booming metropolis and the cultural hub second to none. At its lowest, a place of financial and political turmoil.

This was our last week in Buenos Aires, so if you couldn’t tell, it was a week of reflection. Like an old friend, Buenos Aires felt familiar, like a bit of me.

During my time here, you could tell the people of Argentina are bracing for the next generational event. Inflation is rampant, their economic minister just resigned, and trust in the Argentinian peso is at its lowest in years. As such, an understandable undercurrent of tension filled the streets and parillas.

In some ways, given its history, Argentina might be better equipped than most to handle such turmoil.

I’ll end with a story from a dear friend we met there. During the previous financial collapse, which lasted from roughly 1998-2002, he and some friends had purchased a sailboat. The night they finally managed to get the sailboat in the water was one of the worst. The city was on fire from protests, people lost their jobs, and banks refused to give people their money – things were not good.

As these events unfolded around them, he remembers sitting on the boat with his friends, watching the city from the harbor, and pouring a glass of wine.

Why? Well, what else could you do?

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