I bought an ice cream from the place with the cardboard cut-out of Carlos Gardel (he sings better every day), on the corner of Jorge Luis Borges and Paraguay. I’d just returned from Retiro where large puddles from the recent hailstorm lay still on the platforms. The sun was breaking through and I caught a glimpse of my own reflection in the windows of ‘Kim y Novak’ the only “real” dive bar in Palermo. I counted 34 windscreens smashed as I made my way back to Calle Arevalo. I decided to call in at 2378 to see the after effects of the storm for myself. The plastic picnic table I’d bought from ‘Easy’ was riddled with holes and a bird lay dying out of reach on the roof next door.
I went out again. I followed a line of pink and purple Jacarandas all the way through Villa Crespo to Parque Los Andes. Only the newest cars had their windscreens shattered. All the old models, held together by bits of wire, had their glass intact. The cobblestones were drying out around the park and the flea market was busy again. A man inspected an alarm clock before parting with his 5 pesos. On the next stall a framed photograph showed a man hanging from a sprawling vista of the city.
Soon all the clouds had gone and it was getting hot again. I passed an old pharmacy that was being torn down. The blue and white walls exposed by the demolition recreated the colours of the Argentine flag. A dog appeared on a nearby terrace and barked down at me until I moved on. “Qué barbaridad!” said an old man who appeared from a passageway sweeping broken branches across the pavement and into the street.
Words and images: Eamon Bourke