Buenos Aires From La Feria De San Telmo To El Candombe

z2BRJuGVSAm9JfmMlkW0SQOn our second day in Buenos Aires, we spent much of the day at the extraordinary Feria de San Telmo, a huge outdoor fair where artisans sell everything under the sun from antiques to paintings to Tango lessons.  It was a huge amount of fun that we capped off with a late lunch at a Basque restaurant and an evening stroll filled with dancing and music. 

The fair starts around 10 am and stretches for miles.  Here are a few pictures.

We then went to Sagardi for lunch.  I have a love for Basque food that I developed after a speech in Idaho when I found a great Basque restaurant and spent hours drinking and talking to the owner and his family.  The food at Sagardi was spectacular and ranks as the best of the meals thus far in Buenos Aires.  The sausage was amazing.  It is a tad pricey but worth it. It is surprising to see the many “Kentucky Pizza” joints.  Kentucky is known for many wonderful things but not pizza.


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We then walked around the area and ended up at a local bar called the Hipopótamo or Hippopotamus. There was a great singer (common to Argentina) and a few locals.  I tried Patagonia beer (the Bavarian) and loved it.  We then walked back in the dark and encountered various groups of candombe (can-DOM-bay), groups pounding rhythmically on three sized drums – the piano, repique and chico as people lead and follow dancing down the street. It was absolutely wonderful and hypnotic.  By far the favorite thing I have encountered in Buenos Aires.  The music on the barely light streets seemed to pull people into the street, including us.  Argentinians live life with a gusto and it is hard not to get caught up in the celebrations.  Here are a couple short videos.




15 thoughts on “Buenos Aires From La Feria De San Telmo To El Candombe”

    1. The street drumming may be fun, but listen to the lyrics of cumbia to take the heartbeat of the country.

  1. Great fun….and just a reminder that there are some American cities that know how to “live life with gusto” enjoying music and dancing in the streets, too….New Orleans comes to mind…

    Check out this video of the “Second Line” funeral celebration for the musician Dr. John who died recently…dancing in the streets New Orleans style.

  2. Argentinians live life with a gusto and it is hard not to get caught up in the celebrations

    Most countries in the Western Hemisphere live life with gusto. Their public squares are often host to celebrations, spontaneous and organized, that take their origins in religion like “La Feria de San Telmo” (San Pedro Telmo was a Dominican friar).

    It is instructive that when Americans travel to other Western nations, they marvel at the rich culture and wonder for life that are part of the fabric of these places year round.

    Americans on the other hand live life on a perpetual requiem replete with protests, “outrage” and a disregard for the sanctity of life.

    JT was having so much fun in BA that his article is punctuated with many spelling and grammatical errors. Clearly the Gringo was 2 sheets to the wind and the blog was a tertiary affair. Thanks for reminding us of the important things in life

    NB: JT, the word fiera in the title of your article La Fiera (sic) de San Telmo means something different than the word you were seekingferia (festival)

    Fiera: Persona cruel o de carácter malo y violento

    Disfrute viejito!

  3. Seems like a happy lot. But in some strange way, I can hear Conrad’s words in “Heart of Darkness” reverberating in my head:

    “Perhaps on some quiet night the tremor of far-off drums, sinking, swelling, a tremor vast, faint; a sound weird, appealing, suggestive and wild – and perhaps with as profound a meaning as the sound of bells in a Christian country.”

    1. ha that’s a good one
      I read the next few lines of that, and thought of a few permanent improvements myself.

      1. Kurtz:

        Well if so you’d get a greeting like this:

        “One of them, a stout, excitable chap with black mustaches, informed me with great volubility and many digressions, as soon as I told him who I was, that my steamer was at the bottom of the river. I was thunderstruck. What, how, why? Oh, it was `all right.’ The `manager himself’ was there. All quite correct. `Everybody had behaved splendidly! splendidly!’–‘you must,’ he said in agitation, `go and see the general manager at once. He is waiting!'”

        Conrad is just fabulous!

        1. but chimpu achebe says that it’s racist


          “In recent years, however, Conrad—and particularly “Heart of Darkness”—has fallen under a cloud of suspicion in the academy. In the curious language of the tribe, the book has become “a site of contestation.” After all, Conrad offered a nineteenth-century European’s view of Africans as primitive. He attacked Belgian imperialism and in the same breath seemed to praise the British variety. In 1975, the distinguished Nigerian novelist and essayist Chinua Achebe assailed “Heart of Darkness” as racist and called for its elimination from the canon of Western classics. And recently Edward W. Said, one of the most famous critics and scholars at Columbia today, has been raising hostile and undermining questions about it. Certainly Said is no breaker of canons. But if Conrad were somehow discredited, one could hardly imagine a more successful challenge to what the academic left has repeatedly deplored as the “hegemonic discourse” of the classic Western texts. There is also the inescapable question of justice to Conrad himself.

          Written in a little more than two months, the last of 1898 and the first of 1899, “Heart of Darkness” is both the story of a journey and a kind of morbid fairy tale. Marlow, Conrad’s narrator and familiar alter ego, a British merchant seaman of the eighteen-nineties, travels up the Congo in the service of a rapacious Belgian trading company, hoping to retrieve the company’s brilliant representative and ivory trader, Mr. Kurtz, who has mysteriously grown silent. The great Mr. Kurtz! In Africa, everyone gossips about him, envies him, and, with rare exception, loathes him. The flower of European civilization (“all Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz”), exemplar of light and compassion, journalist, artist, humanist…

          …. Kurtz has gone way upriver and at times well into the jungle, abandoning himself to certain . . . practices…..

          Rifle in hand, he has set himself up as god or devil in ascendancy over the Africans. Conrad is notoriously vague about what Kurtz actually does, but if you said “kills some people, has sex with others, steals all the ivory,” you would not, I believe, be far wrong. In Kurtz, the alleged benevolence of colonialism has flowered into criminality. Marlow’s voyage from Europe to Africa and then upriver to Kurtz’s Inner Station is a revelation of the squalors and disasters of the colonial “mission”; it is also, in Marlow’s mind, a journey back to the beginning of creation, when nature reigned exuberant and unrestrained, and a trip figuratively down as well, through the levels of the self to repressed and unlawful desires. At death’s door, Marlow and Kurtz find each other.

          Rereading a work of literature is often a shock, an encounter with an earlier self that has been revised, and I found that I was initially discomforted, as I had not been in the past, by the famous manner—the magnificent, alarmed, and (there is no other word) throbbing excitement of Conrad’s laboriously mastered English.”


          Like Marlow, like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, we all need to up the wild river, and face the man, take our measure, and then make our own hard choices.

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