Please login to vote.
Sunday, 01 March 2015

Forgotten Stamps on my Passport - Page 2

Written by J. Jennifer Gadwah
  • Print
  • Email
  • AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Rate this item
(6 votes)

 

After returning to the hotel each afternoon after work, chock full of earth-dust on my jeans, sweat drenching the blonde hair on my neck, and once even discovering a large gray stowaway spider in my jeans’ pocket (gasp and cringe!), I again transformed into a wearer of long spring skirts who loved to hang out underneath our hotel cabana.  Hotel Alpuyeca was indeed a tropical oasis – small, non-commercial, and beautiful with its mysterious plastic bags filled with miracle water that hung like translucent gems from the cabana roof and somehow kept all the tropical bugs from flying in.  The hotel was wondrous with its blue oval pool, soft quaint patio, and dancing palm trees.  The staff was beyond gracious, kind, and grateful of our group’s mission.  At night, we in our mission would listen to the poetic songs of modern Latin artists, not all Mexican.  The music fanned itself out from the outdoor wi-fi stereo system – its beats a sexy lullaby alongside the midnight dancing palm trees.  I was enraptured.  I felt at home.  I felt I was doing something worthwhile on this international mission.  

 

Then, in 2004, while still in my twenties, I took my first trip to South America.  I was going to Argentina with my job.  I was working as a sales exec for an international publishing company headquartered in New York City.  Somewhere inside myself, I always knew that Argentina would be my first country.  I purposefully wore a baby blue T-shirt for the eleven-hour flight down from JFK Airport in New York City.  As baby blue is the color of the Argentine flag, I was playfully intent on paying patriotic homage to my destined destination.  It was Saturday morning when I landed into a world of fog and rain.  It was August, which is winter for the southern hemisphere.  Buenos Aires can get cold, even freezing.  However, this day I was greeted with only rain and a hefty layer of low-lying clouds spreading itself out over the sprawling port city like an exhale from the not-too-far-to-me South Pole.  

 

Even with the dreary weather, I was filled with alegria – a pure joy.  I was sleepily happy, punch-drunk, as my taxi zipped on through the numerous Buenos Aires suburbs en route to my gorgeous, modern hotel in Puerto Madero.  I already knew that my hotel would have a window view to the Casa Rosada.  That would be the White House of Argentina.  I remember asking myself how I could be so lucky to work for a prestigious international publishing company whose focus was politics and economics, to then work myself up as a member of their Latin America team, and to be asked to go to Argentina for a conference.  I almost felt too young for this gift of destiny, but still ready.    

 

The eclectic neighborhoods of Buenos Aires were a welcome labyrinth.  Puerto Madero had swanky boats, waterfront stores, and a wistful stone’s-throw feeling once I learned that Uruguay was located just a few miles across the water.  La Boca, the old Italian immigrant neighborhood, inspired me to take more photos than anywhere else during my explorations.  Its arts scene and cheerful blue, yellow, and red buildings made me fantasize about becoming a painter.  I even think I composed and started humming the first bars to my own sailor’s song.  I surely would sing this song as I painted my masterpieces of art.  Then, La Recoleta had an old sophisticated Parisian feel.  Its shadowy, ornate architecture truly blossomed at night.  The neighborhood was perpetually draped in red wine, grilled steak, chicken empanadas, and the faint far-off sound of tango.

 

Then, back at Puerto Madero, I caught some good-looking guys who seemed to be training for the World Cup soccer tournament.  At least that’s my fantasy.  They certainly seemed talented enough, and I used to be a big soccer player with a good idea of the game.  These guys were playing on a neat, polished green turf soccer field located just across the street from the Casa Rosada.   If this were America, would we ever have a baseball field next to the White House?  I snapped a few photos of the hottest guys.   

     

Argentina was rebounding from a banking crisis in 2004, which panicked its citizens.  I could see the currency effects when out to dinner (supremely delicious meals, including wine, for an insane fraction of the cost charged at an American restaurant).  I could feel uneasiness in the spirits of the waiters, taxi drivers, and business executives I met at my conference.  I also attended a show one night where I was reminded of just how close many Argentines still felt to the bittersweet memory of Eva Peron, their controversial political and spiritual figure from the 1950s.  Similar to Mexico, I felt at home in Argentina.  I felt an understanding of their history and current somber spirit.  I didn’t merely imagine young Argentine cowboys called gauchos sailing across the vast green prairie fields of the Pampas in search of millennial glory.  No – I felt their wind, from atop their horses, breathe deeply within my soul.  They, and I, had been waiting to breathe this breath a long time.     

 

(Page 2 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 01 March 2015

Search Content by Map

Search

All Rights Reserved ©Copyright 2006-2021 inTravel Magazine®
Published by Christina's Arena, Inc.