In a cab in Buenos Aires, I stick my head out in the smoky air and am free to dream.
My heart is fireworks for this city!
The buildings look like Paris, the Spanish sounds like a song, the city runs on Erin Granat time: wake-up at 11am, start your day at 3pm, eat dinner at 11pm, stay up dancing, pontificating til 6am. Love!
I arrive at the Botanical Gardens, very leafy/green, stylized statues all around. I sit in the grass, in the sun. Next to me is a cat, a calico cat of black and gold (Theta colors!). I instantly am in love with this kitty and name him Palmito. I pet him and scratch his ears, hoping on the other side of the world in Los Angeles my fat fluff Chairman Meow isn’t jealous. Hopefully, Palmito won’t update his status in the international cat registry (Meowbook?) “Met an American writer. She had nice paws.” (Weird? Yes!)
I tell Palmito about his fellow cat brethren I’ve met on this tour of South America. There was Chino in Brazil, a severely cross-eyes Siamese I communed with at a nature retreat while drinking wine by a fire. I had confided in Chino how different Brazil was from my expectations, how nice the cars were, how much you could feel the economy on a boom. I told him how much I loved the juice in Brazil–watermelon with mint with honey and ginger.
Back to Palmito. I tell about the kitty committee I met in Montevideo. I was on a run by a lighthouse and was taking in the deceptively big skyline of this capital of Uruguay when I spotted two, no three, no DOZENS of meows living amongst the rocks below the lighthouse! There were too many to name so I sat silently instead, hoping they’d come say hello. They weren’t interested in me, sadly, so instead I took up a handful of pebbles and meditated on one at a time, letting each one represent something I felt bad about and needed to exorcise from my life (mucho mucho), then threw each pebble into the River Plata that separates Montevideo from Buenos Aires, willing my despair to sink with the pebble into the murky water. Then the lighthouse attendant arrived in a yellow rain slicker and asked me if I wanted to help feed the kitties and I said yes and they were adorable with milk all over their little meow faces and I was able to pet a few and was so happy!
Palmito goes off to chase a butterfly and I head to the Museo de Evita, because I like learning about powerful women. I admire her gowns and ponder why the museum goes from her childhood straight to her years with Peron, and learn later the beginning of their romance was shrouded in scandal so es posible que the museum conveniently skipped those years. But I smoked a joint before I left for the day so maybe I just missed a room.
Next I walk around Palermo, the hip/trendy/expensive part of Buenos Aires that’s even separated into a “Palermo Soho” and “Palermo Hollywood.” I buy many pretty things. It’s an unbelievable fact that this super cool stylish city is so inexpensive. I order a pancake in a cafe, it comes with layers of jamon y queso y cinco fried eggs! The waiter is blonde and tells me he loves me. I make a note to ask Chairman if he’d like to be an Argentine kitty meow.
I leave the cafe and find a cab within seconds. A mundane details, perhaps, but if you’ve ever spent ages trying to hail a cab in a big city you’d be pleased to learn Buenos Aires seems to have an abundance of available cabs. And these amazing cookies called Havannas! And Malbec! And dulce de leche! This trip has happily been a Tour de Fat. And with Palmito and Chino at the helm, a Tour de Cat. And word by word, pushing pebbles to make a mountain, I’ve been writing. And inchingcloseclosecloser to finishing my novel.