darl: I´m going to Mendoza and San Juan soon.

jo: To ski?

darl: No silly, to sing. To clarify, am on choir tour.

jo: What are the rest of the choir like?

darl: Awful.

jo: To the point of ruining the tour?

darl: Not really, most of the people are ones that I would never choose to associate with at all, plus about five people who are lovely.

jo: Right.

darl: Oh and last year's disaster. Which is fun.

jo: Are you falling for it?

darl: No. I´m just really disdainful towards her which has now unfortunately spilled over into my interactions with everyone else so I spend my time wandering around on my own listening to Elliott Smith and the trees bare and the dilapidation and the language and cold and sunshine and feeling of dislocation all remind me of Italy so I wander about thinking about Kate (yesterday I went to the Italian quarter, -such as it could be called a quarter- la boca) Which is peculiarly unconfusing, actually.

darl: Not to mention the architecture, too. It"s sort of like a Hispanic New York. Everything is French or Italian or Spanish, or now American. There was this brief period in the thirties when they seemed to go through a phase of really nationally assertive architecture, so there's all these huge clean white Futurist buildings. The irony is they then got the British in to run the infrastructure contained in them.

jo: Cool. Who's Kate?

darl: La Boca is a sad place, which has whored itself out to tourists and assumed a fake 'Argentine' identity which in all likelihood never was, let alone is now. All corrugated iron and tango in the streets and accordions and painted houses and smiling lest you cry, is very much the impression that I got. I don't know – it just seems like a false consciousness and a grinding poverty (which is all of like three blocks from the tango centre) – three hundred yards from the woman in a sequined slip in the midday sunshine are vast abandoned dock houses with syringes littered in the doorways.

jo: Silly me – girl before last right?

jo: Did you go there on your own?

darl: The buildings are all painted red and blue and yellow and orange and green haphazardly, but the only places where the paint is unequivocally pretty is on those very few streets where there's also taxi drivers and those "I heart Beunos Aires" hats, scarves and T-shirts. All the cafés serve cold drinks in really thick glasses that look like they've made it from the twenties along with everything else, and the espresso is only like 20p a time, and as thick and as dark as you can imagine.

darl: All the restaurants have their own leonine tango dancers and will try to entice you. Tourists in blue and white lateral striped t-shirts join in looking fleshy and pampered. There's a Montmatre/Sacre Coeur bit where caricaturists and portrait people and other types hang about hanging their paintings on the painted walls, which everyone looks at but noone realises that the walls they are looking at are corrugated iron.

darl: Apparently the deal is that in the Twenties the La Boca docks generated lots of wealth for Buenos Aires and a big Italian community grew up centred there– Italian still spoken on the streets there – and a football club. Like the dockers in Genoa. Now it gets by trading on a romanticised lie, I guess. Still, It's pretty.

darl: Oh sorry must go

darl: Back later

jo: Ok bye xx

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