Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

March 23, 2015

Parque Rivadavia - Caballito

Buenos Aires has some 250 parks and green spaces.  A walk through one is a time to commune with nature, breathe, enjoy the sunshine, and relax.

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For the past two years, I’ve gone every weekend to this one in Palermo.

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There is a large track around the lake and Rosedal garden for bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, running and walking.

DSCN6882The park is full of people enjoying the outdoors all year along.

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Standing by.

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I’m happy living in Buenos Aires where I can enjoy the beauty of nature during a walk for exercise, fresh air, and sunshine.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

March 22, 2015

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Blue skies / Smiling at me / Nothing but blue skies / Do I see

Irving Berlin

The lyrics of this song come to mind every time I see a sunny day.  And that happens often.  Blue skies and sunny days are pretty much the standard for Buenos Aires.  I’m so glad I no longer have to endure the cold and snow of Chicago winters.  I have my long wool coat from Chicago, but I hardly use it.  Snow is extremely rare in Buenos Aires.  Some flurries dusted the streets on July 9, 2007, but they didn’t last long.

I took this photo during July, the coldest month, while they were setting up chairs for  an outdoor concert on Dia del Bandoneon.

I’m happy living in Buenos Aires where the temperature never goes below freezing.

You could have heard a pin drop

March 21, 2015

The Casa de la Cultura of the Fondo Nacional de las Artes presents an interesting variety of concerts three days each week.  Recently I went to hear a Cuban orchestra.  I read that Lina Avellaneda was giving a concert on Friday night of tango and folklore music.  Although I was familiar with her name, I’d never heard her sing.

DSCN6871  It’s an intimate setting for music with 50 seats.

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Lina is a seasoned performer who makes you feel like she is singing for you at home.  She paid homage to tango greats Nelly Omar and Mercedes Simone with accompaniment by two guitarists.  The audience joined her in singing the folklore tunes.  I sang along — Ay, todo cambia. (Everything changes.)  Those words stayed with me.

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Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

March 21, 2015

 

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The city has a great transportation system of buses that operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week.   I walk more than I take the bus.  A ride is 3.25 – 3.50 pesos — about 30 cents!  All you need is a map and a SUBE card.

I took this photo during the busiest time of the afternoon when people were heading home from work.  As you can see, there was no one else on the bus.  I got off  in front of the Jardin Botanico and Zoo in Palermo, on my way to the Paseo de Rosedal for a walk.

I’m so happy living in this great city without a car.

Tango and pizza don’t mix

March 19, 2015

The city’s cultural agenda offered tango at one of the notable bars tonight.  I decided to walk over to Bar 36 Billares on Avenida de Mayo and enjoy the duo of Christian Zarate and Pablo Agri, two outstanding musicians who are dedicated to tango.

It’s been years since I last entered the bar where I last met Osvaldo Bottino for a drink and conversation.  The place was given a well needed face lift.  I went to the back of the main floor to see where the music would take place and found a tiny room with some standing in the doorway.  I found a spot behind a steel beam while those around me were seated at tables.

As I arrived, the city’s Minister of Culture Hernán Lombardi was giving an introduction on stage.  Then pianist Christian Zarate and violinist Pablo Agri began playing for the intimate crowd of about 75.  The audience of 2,500 on Sunday at Teatro Colon showed more respect than this one.  A group of twelve adults, old enough to know better, thought they were in just another pizzeria.  They never stopped talking.  After the first piece, Pablo requested that the audience hold their conversation until later.  The group in the back corner ignored him.  I even pointed out to one woman that there was a camera microphone within two feet recording all their conversation.  They still never shut up.  People were shushing them during the concert, but they never got the message.

The fabulous duo served up the best meal tonight of Piazzolla, traditional tangos, and their own compositions.  What a feast!

When the lights went back on after the program and the cameras were off, I decided to say something to the rude group.  You are incredible.  You win the prize for the most lack of respect at any concert.  You could eat pizza and drink beer at dozens of places in the city.  Why did you choose this one tonight?  You didn’t come for the concert.  This was a total lack of respect for the other people in the audience and especially Zarate and Agri.  They are what everyone else came for, not pizza and beer!

Then one woman said, we’re Argentines, as if to say they can do as they wish.  Then I took out my DNI and said, I’m Argentine, too.  But you don’t speak like us.  Then I’ll speak in English.  You are rude.  And I walked out.

A waitress asked if there was a problem, and I told her about the Dirty Dozen who couldn’t control themselves, even when eating.  Pablo asked us to hold our conversation during the concert, and they ignored him.  I told her I wish I could speak to Lombardi.  She told me he was downstairs in the billiard room.

So I went downstairs and found Minister Lombardi having pizza with his two daughters.  I excused myself for the interruption, but I had to tell him about the rudeness during the concert.  He detected my accent and asked where I’m from.  Then we continued our conversation in English.  I thanked him for all the wonderful concerts that are free to the public all the time in Buenos Aires.  He shook my hand and kissed it.

The Dirty Dozen stuffed their bellies with pizza, empanadas and beer, but they missed the real meal — tango for the soul.

 

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

March 16, 2015

I’ve enjoyed an active retirement for 16 years in Buenos Aires.  Life is never without its challenges, and adapting to a new culture and lifestyle provides them.  I want to share why Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement.

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The Teatro Colón is the main opera house in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is ranked the third best opera house in the world by National Geographic, and is acoustically considered to be among the five best concert venues in the world.

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Gerta Woodberry from Canada and Robert Bernstein from the United States spend several months each year in Buenos Aires to leave winter behind. They come to Buenos Aires to dance tango in the milongas and enjoy all that the city has to offer.

Yesterday morning, we attended a free concert at Teatro Colon.  Yes, it was free.  The Camarata Bariloche, a chamber orchestra, performed The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi and From Holberg’s Time Suite by Edvard Grieg.

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My weekend began with a concert on Friday evening at the Board of Trade downtown where the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional performed Antonin Dvorak’s violin concerto and Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations. One of the variations brought me to tears.  Then on Saturday I got a message from my friend Romaine that she had two complimentary tickets for the ballet dress rehearsal at Teatro Colon. Tickets cost $1,320 pesos each for the performances this week.  We enjoyed three fabulous works to Mozart, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff by the permanent ballet company and the Orquesta Filarmonica.

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What other city in the world offers hundreds of free concerts by first-class musicians all year-long?  It’s only one of many reasons why I’m so happy being retired in Buenos Aires.

I started my concert-going habit as a third-grader attending youth concerts at Orchestra Hall in Chicago.  Our group sat in the gallery, at the very top, looking down to the stage.  That’s where my appreciation for classical music took root.  It’s where I decided that I wanted to play in an orchestra some day.  Years later in 1969, I was on stage at Orchestra Hall as a member of the North Side Symphony Orchestra of Chicago looking up to the gallery.

Last concert 1969 in Orchestra Hall, Chicago

Mario Papasaba

March 16, 2015

March 16, 1940 —

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Ricardo Suarez

March 14, 2015

March 14, 1924 — Ricardo Suarez dancing on stage at La Gran Milonga VideoRicardo Hector Suarez, milonguero viejo

José Marcos

March 11, 2015

March 11, 1937 —

Jose Marcos

He’s my favorite partner for vals.

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Romeo Ferramosca

March 10, 2015

March 10, 1946 —

Chiche y Pocha


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