Los Sonidos de Buenos AiresFriday, March 17, 2017
I remember walking in the evening in the lovely city of Guanajuato, Mexico. The air was cool and pure and the city was quiet. In this quiet as I passed a bar I heard someone hit a billiard ball. I heard it then, right after when it hit another ball. I have never forgotten that sound that for me is the essence in my mind of that beautiful city.
In the two weeks that I was in Buenos Aires this past March visiting the city of my birth with my Rosemary and our youngest granddaughter Lauren, 14 I heard many noises and sound.
While walking on Calle Florida it was the constant drone of arbolitos, or little trees (men and now women who do not move) who say or whisper, “Cambio, dólares, euros.” This is because inflation invariably creates a currency black market.
The first few nights in our hotel I kept hearing a noise that sounded like Sherman tanks at an intersection. It was Lauren who explained that there were big holes on the corner of Tucumán and San Martín (a half a block from our hotel). The holes were covered with very large steel sheets. When buses or cars ran over them that was the sound we heard.
Once those sounds diminished in my head as I fell into my sleep I could imagine tangos, old tangos and newish dissonant Piazzolla tangos. I could also hear the clicking that only patent leather pumps can make on any dance floor. I have never understood the English word patent. It is not half as melodious sounding as its Spanish equivalent charol. My on line Diccionario de la Real Academia Española defines it:
Del port. charão, y este del chino chat liao.
In any case my friend Indiana Luna posed for me some time ago in her zapatitos de charol performing tango moves. Below the lyrics of a tango about a young girl who had a passion for obtaining her zapatitos de charol.
Charol ZAPATITOS DE CHAROL
Letra de Ruiz de Alagra
Música de Fernández Boixader
Por ser tan bonitos aquellos zapatos,
fue solo tenerlos pasión de mi vida.
Por eso al decirme pues son muy baratos
los compramos nena, los quise enseguida.
Le dije a mi madre yo no sé, quedito
porque no supiera de aquel devaneo
y fui por la calle luciendo el palmito
rompiendo la acera con mi taconeo.
Zapatitos cintureros recortados
zapatitos relucientes como el sol
por bonitos cuanta envidia han despertado
mis zapatos, escotados de charol.
Después no quisiera tener que acordarme
un día me dijo: yo sé que eres buena
pero yo contigo no puedo casarme
eso es imposible, compréndelo nena.
Lo dijo sin darle ninguna importancia
tranquilo, sereno, sin otro detalle.
Se fue, le vi lejos, a mucha distancia
y yo quedé sola, llorando, llorando en la calle
Zapatitos por el uso destrozados
ya no brillan cual brillaban con el sol
con el fango de la calle se han manchado
con el fango de mi vida, se manchó.
While riding the subte (the Buenos Aires subway) we heard many different noises. They all depended on the lines in question and how new or old the cars were. The noise for me was comforting as was the heat. Some of the newer lines were air-conditioned. Lauren could not understand what it was that I was trying to tell her about the comforting noise that to her was just a loud din.