At Foto Ruta, we love cities in the winter. Don’t get us wrong, we love summer too, but being packed like sardines in the subway with people who haven’t taken their obligatory second shower of the day yet, faces so close together you can see the pores of each other’s skin – not so much.
Buenos Aires is home to a milder winter, and it has only snowed once in the past 90 years, but who wants the mess that comes with snow, right? We like to keep our Argentine leather boots clean from the slush, and while porteños are raised to be flexible, we don’t know if they could handle the transit problems caused by a combination of the common roadblock protest (piquetes) and black ice.
Of course, porteños do like to exaggerate (we say that in the best way possible), and us North Americans may be surprised by just how much they claim to suffer from the mild winter. They can’t even imagine what it would be like to deal with snow. When it snowed here in 2007, people went nuts. The precipitation barely stuck to the ground and there they were, scrounging for enough snow to make snowmen and proclaim their love for Argentina, or Peru?
Oh, and by snowmen we meant snowmen with lazer eyes wearing an animal-print turban while smoking a cigarette (Argentine kids are so creative).
The snowstorm of ’07 is still a hot topic of conversation in Buenos Aires. It’s just never going to get old, and we love their enthusiasm for something us Northerners have, frankly, come to see as a burden.
Those of us who studied in Argentina will never forget the way their adorably overprotective Argentine “host mothers” would gawk at the sight of us leaving the house without enough layers on and warn us that we would, without a doubt, catch a cold if we walked around the house without shoes on.
To battle the winter blues, a good porteño will turn to a good serving of guiso, or stew, made from pretty much anything that is readily available in the region, at restaurants like the Esperanza de los Ascurra in Villa Crespo, one of our favorite neighborhoods for Foto Ruta.
If they’re looking for a sweeter way to beat the cold, they can café con leche and medialunas – you need the extra weight to keep warm. Churros and hot chocolate are another popular option. While searching for a good image of this delicious combination, we found out that the website chocolateconchurros.com is actually a dating site (or, according to the website, a place to find new “friends” as well), which bodes well for how Argentines feel about the snack. Churros are sweet, long cone-shaped snacks usually filled with dulce de leche in Buenos Aires. Café Tortoni, in downtown Buenos Aires, one of Buenos Aires’ most famous traditional landmarks, is known for serving some of the best chocolate with churros.
We also happen to think cities can be quite photogenic in the winter. Admit it, you love your winter coat, and you wish someone would photograph you in it.
You can hide the extra medialuna weight behind adorable pea-coats and pashminas. And sometimes we wear gloves even when it isn’t really necessary, just because we feel classier in them. And they help when your cold hands need to stay busy working the camera.
The warmth that is lacking in the weather is found in cozy cafes, lively taverns and the dinner table of your new Argentine friend’s family. With its dark melancholy, winter creates a million perfect porteño scenes to be captured through photographs.