Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Photos from Argentina (I)

Well, for the moment I have a wireless connection (it's not likely to happen again), so I'll take advantage of the opportunity to post a few pictures from Argentina (where I was last month). This is a slightly distorted picture of the presidential residence, the Casa Rosada, or Pink House. I know of two stories that explain the color: either it was an attempt to unify the red and white colors of two warring political factions, or it was simply the result of using cow's blood in painting, a common practice in leather-beef-and-cow-ful Argentina a hundred and fifty years ago. Today one is struck by a few things, i.e., I was struck by the following:

First, the building looks great...but only the facade is painted. Around the corner it's a dull brown, a sign of the precarious condition of the state's finances. Second, one can walk right up to the front, a sharp contrast to the long-distance view one must take of the White House. The plaza in front, known as the Plaza de Mayo, is ringed with police. I thought they might be taking their jobs pretty seriously, but I asked one for directions once and it turned out he was just a bored 27-year-old who talked to me for an hour about Argentine basketball players in the US, a bit of world politics, and why he's both a pacifist and a policeman. The experience of being in Argentina shows quite strongly how much more militarized the US has become, in relative terms and for obvious reasons.

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