Sorry its been a while since the last blog but Ive been a bit out of touch.
Its a week now since I landed in Buenos Aires and just when I think Im getting used to the heat it just gets hotter. Between the day I left Belfast and out and about yesterday in downtown BA there was almost a 50 degrees centigrade difference.
First impressions of BA was that it was hot, damn hot. That was followed by, hot, hot and sticky, hot, overcast yet hot, hot and damp, hot. My poor wee pale blue irish skin now has a peeling patch on my right elbow where I put it out the bus window on the way in from the airport.
It wasnt long before I was food for the mosquitos either. You have to love nature, mosquitos hit the veins each and every time, something that any NHS doctor would be proud of. I know I know a lot of people will be screaming at me saying I should have used insect repellent, I did, just not the right one. Im now using a local formula that belongs somewhere in the arsenal of North Korea.
Buenos Aires is an amazing place for a pseudo city boy like me. I say pseudo because Im a city slicker, a townie, someone who has grown up and lived in and around Belfast. Belfast is a city. Well it is and it isnt. Buenos Aires IS a CITY. We all went to the park the other day, we needed a 20 min train ride and an hour on the bus and still hadnt left Buenos Aires. The bus from the airport was about an hour to here and we took another bus ride in the same direction for another hour the other day and was still in the city.
Now Ive been in cities with similar populations, Cairo, London, New York, Tokyo but they have all had geographical features like rivers or hills or something to break them up. BA is just one big city. Unlike other places I´ve been too it is all up. Not New York up where you have sections of the city going up but the whole place is apartment blocks and medium tall rise buildings. Well as far as I can make out so far. Whilst Tokyo is more blade runner, this place is more gotham city.
Ive been in other cities that proclaim to be 24 hour, sure in Belfast you might get the odd 24 hour garage or supermarket but this place really is 24 hours.
The last week has been pretty much trying to get used to the heat and the pace of life here. Clothes are out in the laundry at the mo, not that I didnt bring enough clothes, I did. I didnt bring enough clothes that wouldnt get me killed! Crime is rife here, theres no getting around it, with nightly news making Belfast during the troubles look like tellytubby land. On the way back from the park we missed our bus change stop so got off at the next stop and walk back one stop (which was at least a mile). Now normally that would be bad enough (I have a bad right leg and walking a mile is usually enough to see me visit an Accident and Emergency ward) but not walking a mile would have had the same consequences. The place we were walking through was ´colourful´to say the least, no street lights, broken pavements, small low rise buildings, those with windows not boarded up were barred and razor wire. If I didnt know better I´d call it a shanty town. At one point one of my friends said to me ´Man, those Nike trainers of yours will get us all killed´. Charming. So the next day it was ´dont wear that, nor that, nor that, nor that, dont wear any of those.´ Even stuff which is cheap back home is likely to end up bloodstained being worn by someone else.
Sooooo lets just say that the photo list that I had prepared in advance for BA is a hell of a lot shorter now having looked at my ideas and the places I wanted to go. I did wonder why such a huge city has a limited photo coverage. Until they make that 22 megapixel camera that attaches to your optic nerve, its probably gonna stay that way.
On the positive side Ive had two good model shoots so far with a few more to come, basic scenarios I´ve wanted to do in the likes of Belfast for a while but waiting 9 months for the sun to shine for 2 consecutive days was long enough to wait.
Whilst here I had planned some traveling ‘in country’ but havent managed to get that sorted yet, nothing is ever as easy as it seems on the web here. Will post more on that later.
The first night I arrived here we went up onto the roof terrace, 13 odd floors up its an amazing sight, just buildings as far as the eye can see in all directions, pretty flat too, just people, civilisation etc etc etc. No lights on the roof but enough light to be getting on with just with the reflected city light bouncing off the clouds. Straight back down in the lift for the camera and some night city shots I´d been interested in taking but never found the right place, now I have. (photos to follow). I’ll also arrange a model shoot up there before I go home.
Last night the local weather forecast was predicting a storm, thunder, lightning hail the size of tennis balls and the like. Naturally it seemed like the best place to observe this was from the roof terrace, rather than just look at it out the window 12 floors below. What a sight, I´ve never seen a storm like it, I´d seen a big lightning storm in the Alps a long time ago which at first appeared just like a fireworks display but last night the lightning was going left, right, down, around, across, everything. Real storm weather, the 10 or 20 degree sudden drop in temperature, rain that gives you a headache it hits you that hard and that change in atmosphere that scares the life out of you now, never mind a couple of thousand years ago when people thought the gods were angry. The gods were indeed angry last night although according to my mate nothing like as angry as they were one time last year.
doing the old one one thousand trick (sound travels at roughly one kilometre every 3 seconds so if you count between lightning strikes and thunder claps you know roughly how far away it is and if its getting closer or going further away) was interesting until there was one I didnt get to say the one part. So less than 100 metres away lightning hit a rooftop and I could probably tell you which one it was. At this point in time it did then become apparent that standing in the rain on top of a 13 storey building drinking beer out of a metal cup wasnt exactly the greatest decision I had ever made.
In Spanish the word for storm is ´Tormenta´to be honest I couldnt describe what I saw last night as any different.