Buenos Aires

Saturday in the café

It is Independence Day in Argentina. It’s quiet. Argentines seem not to make that big a deal out of what is the Fourth of July in the States. I am far from the center of the city, and maybe something is going on there? It’s quiet here in the café.

Taken with my phone, upper floor of Viglio

The young woman is writing with a pen in a large notebook, and there are papers on the table. I am guessing she is a student. A very pretty one. She concentrates deeply and is oblivious to me and the comings and goings of other customers and the waitress.

This café — Petit Resto Viglio — is on a busy corner near the upper edge of the barrio of Las Cañitas, at the boundary with barrio Belgrano. It’s a slow 30-minute walk from my flat in Palermo. The first criteria for choosing a café is its distance from my flat, walking is the only exercise I get, so a half hour there and a half hour back gives me an hour of calorie burning. This is the front of the café.

Petit Resto Viglio, corner of Arce and Maure

I am right now sitting in the window on the upper left, the young woman is in the window on the upper right.

The sun is just coming out. The forecast indicated clear skies (although it is pretty cold, winter here, the equivalent of January up north), but only now is the sun struggling to appear — it is not a cloud layer, the overcast is volcanic ash.

Regular followers of this blog are aware that for a long time I have gone to Mama Racha to work. Mama Racha is in a completely different barrio (Palermo Soho) and a long way from this area. Just recently I decided to change cafés. The main reason is I simply tire of walking the same streets day after day, it gets boring. The other reason is that Mama Racha keeps raising its prices. I always have the same thing: a bottle of agua con gas, a cortado, and one medialuna (croissant). At Mama Racha, after the latest price hike, that costs 30 pesos. Here, at Viglio, the same thing is 21 pesos. (21 pesos is about $5).

One of the servers at Mama Racha, Paula (below is a surreptitiously taken photo of her — she doesn’t like being photographed), became a pleasant conversational friend, and I will miss her.

Paula in Mama Racha

I am a transient, every aspect of my life (except my wife and my children) is transitory. We move every few years, our acquaintances come and go, and cafés change. At this time next year we will be living in some other city, some other country.

The constant is that I write in cafés. And for a while I will be doing that here.


Categories: Buenos Aires, Cafés, Writing

6 replies »

  1. And the blog design changes too, quite a lot these days I’ve noticed. It’s good to have a change of scene, another view to capture attention and imagination. Turn a different corner and who knows who you might bump into.

    • I get bored with the way the blog looks just as I get bored walking the same streets day after day. I expect to turn the corner and bump into you, so I have to keep changing corners when you don’t show up.

    • True. There are some constants that stay with me, no matter where I am, and one of those is my work table (it’s not a desk, it’s just a specially lowered table). I had it made in 1986. I have also used the same pen for about 20 years.

  2. I find that I too am at the height of my creativity when I am able to write in public. Simply having a pencil and notebook in a cafe or pub while sitting back and watching people come and go gives me such inspiration. I think I’ll only use my ‘writing room’ during the outlining/editing process.

    The fact that you have lived so many different places is excellent. Great post and the pictures are fantastic!

    • Thank you, Kate. I read your blog and am a fan — recommended to my readers.

      Somewhere else in the very many posts on this blog I speculated in more detail about why I am concentrate and create in a noisy public environment and lock up stone cold empty in a quiet, private place. There is a fine, well-equipped office in my flat, and I can do no creative work in it. All that happens in a café, and that’s how it’s been for more than 30 years.

      I hope you will visit and comment here often.