Mano de Dios

L: Obelisk, Central Buenos Aires; M: Eva Peron: R: Boca Juniors Football Stadium
On a walking tour of La Boca, we were told by our guide that if we asked any Argentinean about the 1986 world cup quarter final game against England, they would probably admit that Maradona cheated when he scored a goal with a handball (the Hand of God) but then they would quickly point to his fabulous second goal only about 5 minutes later when he dribbled the ball past five England players: in any event, we were told that no one in Argentina really cares how the game was won: the fact remains that Argentina went on to win the World Cup that year (and haven’t done it since) and therefore Maradona is seen as a god as a result. This is quite clear from a lot of the street art dotted around Buenos Aires dedicated to him. You also see Pope Francis, Eva Peron and the tango musician, Carlos Gardel, being honoured in this way but really this is a Maradona show: he beats all the other legends hands down (pun intended).

Maradona, Eva Peron and Carlos Gardel


Joint billing with Pope Francis

Our second trip to Buenos Aires was a lot more positive than our first admin trip when we had been in transit and were over tired. This time we understood what everyone loved about this city from its European style architecture (interestingly far more French than Spanish looking), the quirky neighbourhoods with colourful houses, artwork and street markets, the good food, and of course the tango although in fact this is not quite as prevalent as I had imagined and now is often only performed for tourists.

Touristy or not, it is worth catching a show or stopping to admire one of the impromptu displays put on in parks etc as there is some rather fancy footwork going on, the kind I can only dream of ever mastering and had instead to be happy just watching in amazement as yet another flick of someone’s leg goes up without tripping over their partner. Needless to say this wasn’t quite the experience we had when we took a half hour group class but still it was a laugh and we didn’t fall over so that was a result!

L: Colourful street art; M: French style architecture; R: The colourful Caminito in La Boca, Buenos Aires

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