Saturday, August 25, 2012

Buenos Aires Bits: Freud, Implants, Romance & Tango


Today’s entry covers a potpourri of Argentine topics.

Freud on the Pampas
For a couple decades, with Moon and another publisher best not named here, I’ve been writing about Argentines’ obsession with therapy, which is particularly strong among the residents of Buenos Aires – in fact, I might say its permeates, or even infests, the Porteño pysche. This past Sunday, in a front-page article, the New York Times tried to catch up with me in an article set in Palermo’s so-called Villa Freud, which has the highest density of shrinks in a city that’s saturated with them. In particular, the Times cites a theater presentation called “Freud’s Last Session,” but drama and theater always gone together in BA – not so long ago, there was another play called “Help Me, Dr. Freud.”

Is Bigger Better - Or Even Possible?
Argentina’s currency and import restrictions have irked many Argentines – the CEO of the communications giant Telecom has remarked that the easiest way for an Argentine to get an iPhone is to go to Miami – but there’s a new and unanticipated shortage that’s slowing one at least part of one of Buenos Aires’s most vigorous industries, plastic surgery. According to the city daily Clarín, the restrictions have caused a shortage of breast implants. Obviously, that won’t shut down the plastic surgery sector entirely, but it’s certainly a significant part of it, so to speak.

Back in the Neighborhood
About three years ago, former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford made international headlines with his geographical and marital misadventures on the "Appalachian trail" and the "coast of Buenos Aires province." That cost him his political career but, according to the Buenos Aires daily Clarín, he’s back. After a nasty divorce, Sanford (photograph in the public domain) has apparently proposed to his former mistress María Belén Chapur, and did so publicly at one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, the Bella Italia Grill. According to my wife, this sort of public proposal is rare in Argentina – I’ve certainly never seen it - and considered a bit tacky.

The Bella Italia is just around the corner from our apartment, and Ms. Chapur’s apartment only a little farther away. Should I spot them on the sidewalk, I’ll have to ask whether he’s finding his way around the country better.

Tango by the River
There’s been a change in schedule. I will still give a digital slide lecture on Buenos Aires at Tango by the River in Sacramento, but it has been postponed until Friday, September 21st, at 6 p.m.

Limited to a maximum of 50 people, the event will also include tango performances; admission costs $10, or $8 in advance. I have spoken here several times before, and we always sell out, so plan in advance. Signed copies of my Moon Handbooks on Argentina, Buenos Aires, Chile and Patagonia will be available at discount prices.

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