A Part of Buenos Aires

The sidewalks of Buenos Aires are a mismatched collection of stone blocks and thick tiles.

The most common are these medium size square blocks with the raised ridges. More upscale apartment buildings and stores will maintain a polished marble or glossy high end look. Some sidewalks can be in rough shape and unmaintained if a storefront is vacant, with small chips eventually spreading, cracking entirely and creating big pockmarks in the sidewalks. Very few are gray concrete slabs. The variety is quite amazing, and some edifices and institutions like churches will have very unique and ornate designs extending to the street.

When the day starts at 5am, (or when the night is ending for others,) you’ll see building managers and shopkeepers hosing down the dust and dirt from their parcels – part of their daily morning routine.


This probably tips the unethical versus ethical side of the scale, but I took this tile from one of the busted up sections along Calle Laprida, between Avenida Santa Fe and Las Heras. It was an undamaged piece teetering into a section of dirt that needed repair, so I decided for the city of Buenos Aires that it would be better utilized as a coaster on my desk at work.

After scrubbing it thoroughly I now have a very unique “recorrido” (souvenir or memory) which has special meaning to me. Hopefully my transgression will be overlooked in light of my love for the city, and appreciation for all the past people who have walked over this small piece of the city.

100 or so more and I could redo my back patio. But I’m sure excess luggage fees would have applied.

2 thoughts on “A Part of Buenos Aires”

  1. Nice coaster! Reminds me of running about San Telmo and seeing rats the size of cats sharing lunch in the middle of the street… probably because they were equally wary of the sdewalks! The reason for the mish-mash of pavings outside most private buildings is a lack of responsibility on the part of the municipality. Consequently, most apartment owners are left to do the job themselves in a display of one-upmanship.

    Did I mention my broken foot? This wasn’t caused by the appalling state of public pavements but by the failure of hotel/hostel/apartment owners to paint safety lines indicating the edges of steps… I was emerging from the shower at the time, and it hurt!

    Most people in Argentina are physically fit and take such mishaps in their stride. However, in my four years in Buenos Aires I witnessed three old ladies come a cropper on the wobbly sidewalks. My advice is always to find a seat and stay put, and avoid getting on and off buses (bondis) at all cost!

    1. Hi Tony – thanks for the visit and note.

      I definitely noticed the old ladies who carefully navigate the streets with their canes. They remind me of my Grandma and her three sisters, (my great aunts,) getting helped in and out of cars while delicately managing the icy Michigan sidewalks.

      As elegant as the older ladies in Buenos Aires dress I also noticed many ease their walks by wearing big dark comfy looking tennis shoes when doing errands along the street – as I probably would too.

      (I like to people watching while sitting outside eating empanadas :)

      Cheers and all the best – James…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


× five = 35

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>