The Air Really Is Beautiful

Posted on March 19, 2012 by Vivi in VIVI'S VIEW

Have you noticed how Buenos Aires has a smell?  When I catch a  whiff of it on my walk home and my heart warms in my chest.  I inhale the city and it moves through my veins, mixing with my blood.  It is an old, musty, romantic smell.  It is mildew, rotting wood and blooming cotton trees.  It is crumbling cement, cigarette smoke and spray paint fumes.  It is the smell of fabric softener from the Chinese laundromats and over-ripe fruit being sold on the street corner.  It is sweet and warm and full of life and energy.  The breeze blows with a little chill and a little fever.


  1. This makes me want to be there!

  2. Oh how I long to be back in my BA!!!!

  3. *goosebumps* I can’t get over the view you have from your new place!
    Hahah and that combo of smells you described is dead on.

  4. It is the most polluted river in South America. When the wind blows from the South in just the right way, the heavy metals fill your lungs. What did you run away from to enjoy such unpleasantries?

  5. I awake in the morning and take a step out onto my balcony. The sound of polluting buses roaring by nearby, nearly unmufflered, interrupts my sleepy stretch. As I wipe the sleep from my eyes I realize I’ve stepped in the 24 hours of accumulation of dirty air that has fallen onto the surface since I last cleaned it and moan when it comes to me that I will have to wash my feet off before I go back inside. I need to blow my nose, and look in disgust afterward at the black particles that have exited my sinuses along with my natural fluids. I hear the groaning of a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk across the street, under a huge tree (one of a number of trees planted in the 70s by my portero) as he pulls his penis out and begins to relieve himself against the tree, some of his urine incredibly spilling back under his rotting mattress and wetting the yellow-brown sheet he uses to cover himself at night,

    The scene I describe does not have quite the nice view in the photo above, but I am indeed surrounded by trees. Half block from San Martin plaza, right across the street from the back of the Ministry of the Exterior’s building in San Martin Palace and a half block away from the Mercosur headquarters. It’s actually a nice place to live, but the sights one sees here are not always pleasant.

    I’ve lived here six years and continue to be surprised by the mixture of good and bad I see, and those who come here and see only the good and exaggerate it.

  6. Don’t forget the wafts of caramel from the ever present alfajores! I started reading your blog in preparation for a trip to BA way back in May of last year and have kept reading it to stay in touch with that magical city. I also lived in Seattle for 1 1/2 years working at U-Dub, so that’s another connection there! Thanks for allowing your readers live vicariously through your writing!


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