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The Good Air in Buenos Aires

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

The Good Air of Buenos Aires

The capital of Argentina, the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, has a very poetic name that can be translated from Spanish as “fair winds” or “good airs.” Our Lady of Good Air is patron saint of the province of Buenos Aires. The legend goes that a statue of Virgin Mary was taken from the sea after helping to weaken a storm in the Mediterranean, earning it the fame of the “fair winds”, or buen ayre. A devotee of this newly named saint, Santa Maria del Buen Ayre, was Pedro de Mendoza, a Spanish sailor who established the first port of Buenos Aires in what is now San Telmo, and gave the port its name because it was deemed to be southern enough to evade a strain of marshland mosquitoes, making it a malaria-free port. Upon arrival, it did not take long to enjoy the cool winter breeze of good air in Buenos Aires. My first time to this beautiful destination, I was immediately in awe of the amazing culture. There is a rhythm to life here that is unlike any of my previous experiences. Monk Parakeets are lazily perched amongst the trees. Dogs are being walked without a leash. The Asadas are cooking prime meats for a minimum of 5 hours over a wood fire - propane is prohibited. The house wine is a Malbec from Mendoza. The elderly are escorted through the streets by their spouse or children. The locals are constantly debating which region’s empanadas are superior - Tucuman or Saltena?! From the artisans in San Telmo to the Tango in La Boca, history is well preserved and the priorities of life in Argentina are in proper order.

Football is a Fundamental Part of the Culture

Football is deeply ingrained in Argentine culture and a source of national pride. From the streets of Buenos Aires to the small villages scattered throughout the country, football is a unifying force that brings the nation together and sparks intense passion. Led by the legendary Mario Kempes, the Albiceleste (the nickname bestowed upon the national team as an homage to white and sky blues of their jersey, and the flag) hosted and claimed their first World Cup triumph in 1978 by defeating the Netherlands at Estadio Mas Monumental. 1986 in Mexico City, Diego Armando Maradona and Jorge Burruchaga put the second star above the Argentine Football Association badge (each star indicating a World Cup victory) by defeating the West Germans. Bringing us to the present day, we are privileged to have witnessed Lionel Messi lead the Argentines to the top of the football world for the third time. The World Cup final victory over France, in Doha, Qatar, will be remembered as one of the best in history. After each of these World Cup victories, every inch of Buenos Aires’ streets and sidewalks were occupied, and fans were hanging from every elevated position to celebrate being champions of the world. If you close your eyes you can still hear the World Cup victory chants throughout the streets, long after the party has ended. Fumando Porro, Tomando Vino….

August 1, 2023 | River Plate vs Internacional

Immediately upon settling into my apartment in the Nunez neighborhood, I walked to Estadio Mas Monumental in search of a ticket to the River Plate vs Internacional round of 16 Copa Libertadores 1st leg. River Plate won the match 2-1, with the teams set to meet again a week later in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Although my stubhub ticket was not successfully delivered, I was able to partake in the prematch festivities (music, chants, flares, fernet and asada) and meet Diego, a local River Plate supporter. This chance meeting started a beautiful friendship that would change the course of my visit. Diego would check in on me for the remainder of my stay in Buenos Aires, host me at his humble abode for a traditional asada and show me around the city. These stops included beautiful murals paying tribute to the stars of the recent World Cup, multiple shrines for Diego Armando Maradona and many other spots that I would have otherwise not experienced.

August 2, 2023 | Estudiantes de la Plata vs Goias

The next day I caught a taxi to the province of La Plata in search of a ticket to the Estudiantes vs Goias Copa Sudamericana match. Upon arriving at Estadio Jorge Luis Hirschi I was able to locate the ticketing kiosk and convince the workers to sell me a ticket. Visiting fans have special procedures, but by explaining to the lady that I was a “gringo from Estados Unidos”, she chuckled and sold me a ticket in the supporters’ section. Upon entering the stadium, I immediately realized that seat assignments are irrelevant and found a good view standing on the staircase next to the other locals. This was a very enjoyable match with the home team securing a 3-0 victory.

August 3, 2023 | San Lorenzo vs Sao Paulo

The next day’s match featured San Lorenzo vs Sao Paulo in another Copa Sudamericana tie, at Estadio Pedro Bidegain. Thanks to the help from the sommelier I met while at the World Cup in Doha, Qatar, I was connected with a local San Lorenzo supporter that would host me for this match. Aside from watching quality football in a traditional stadium, the most memorable moments came after the match ended. The host escorted me onto the pitch and introduced me to a couple of star players from San Lorenzo, Nahuel Barrios and Iván Leguizamón. The humility of all of the players and the hospitality from the San Lorenzo supporters left a lasting impression.