“So why do you… still live here?”
After a solid 13 years in Argentina, this is a question I often find myself faced with. Well-meaning strangers will sometimes blurt it out, almost without realizing, upon learning that I wasn’t born here but instead moved and decided to stay here. There’s really not a lot that I can respond with that will feel like a substantive answer. Everything tends to feel like a cop-out.
The fact of the matter is we love living here. We love this country. There’s a reason we’re still here, however hard that reason is to put in words. Those of us who actually made a conscious decision to choose Buenos Aires as a home have a special appreciation for the city that leave a lot of native Argentines in a state of shock, exasperation, or confusion. And it is understandable: between the constant headache of its disorganized bureaucracy, the ever-present reality of economic turmoil, the social and political unrest, and all the dog poop, living in Argentina can often feel like one long, sustained migraine.
Truthfully, it’s all about finding a balance. Reminding yourself every once in a while of what it is that you love about this city, and using that as your motivation to keep on keeping on. It is also about finding a good spot to vent your frustrations by screaming at the top of your lungs.
Below is a list of some of the best locations to unleash your blood-curling screams, whether you’re a foreigner or a local. And remember: serenity now, insanity later.
Bosques de Palermo
A premiere destination for Sunday picnics, playing frisbee with your dog, doing yoga, and letting out a hellish scream from deep within your soul. Thankfully the park is open enough that you’re bound to get a couple of good minutes of screaming done before anybody tries to give you any guff about it. If you’re feeling adventurous, walk out to the Planetarium, where all your screaming will continue to make absolutely no difference because time is an illusion and nothing means anything.
Nothing better than walking idly along Costanera Norte, stopping for a delicious choripán or bondiola sandwich, looking out at the beautiful Rio de la Plata and ruining everybody else’s good time by screaming out like a deranged lunatic. If you’d rather be unobtrusive about it, you’re in luck: the Jorge Newbery airport is nearby, and if you time your screams just right, you can drown them out with the sound of passing airplanes.
Mercado de San Telmo
When we talk about letting out our frustrations by screaming our heads off, we usually prefer to do it in wide open spaces where there’s not a lot of people around. Not only is it just more respectful of everybody else’s boundaries, it also decreases the odds of being chased away or tackled by security. However, if you’re a real thrill-chaser, you can try your luck out at the famous San Telmo fair, where crowds congregate around vendors who peddle their artisanal wares. You will likely get tackled quickly, but maybe you’re the kind of person who likes that. No judgment here.
The Jardín Japonés, with its lovely lagoon, greenery, and sculptures, was made to be a relaxing experience for visitors young and old. Pierce through the serenity of this beautiful Japanese garden with your anguished, otherworldly bellow. Scare the koi fish into hiding. You will be chased down, yes, but at the very least this will provide some much-needed distraction from the fact that nothing means anything and we are all quickly hurtling toward oblivion.
If you’re by the Bosques de Palermo and quickly grow tired of the distinct lack of roses to scream into, take a quick walk over to El Rosedal, the beautiful rose garden that features more than 18,000 roses and stunning scenery. Have a walk along the darling little pond, maybe feed the ducks, buy yourself some cotton candy, and then find a nice little spot – preferably somewhat removed from the picnics – and just let ‘er rip.
Let’s get away from Palermo for a moment. If you’re in the neighborhood of Caballito, you have one of these prime screaming-locations available too. Take a walk along Parque Centenario, park yourself directly in front of its gorgeous fountains, think about the downward economic spiral we appear to be headed in, remember that the dollar will probably circle the 60-peso mark around the end of the year, and let out your hellish roars for the world to hear.
Hipódromo de Palermo
Alright, back to Palermo. What can we say? It is the ultimate screaming-your-head-off neighborhood. The local horse track is as good a spot as any to vent your frustrations about the upcoming presidential election, the impossibility of prosperity, whether you’re secretly disappointing your parents, and whether there really is such a thing as love. You might frighten the horses, but the sounds of cheering around you will likely drown you out. Which, in a way, serves as a perfect metaphor. The world is cold and uncaring. You can shout, but no one will hear you. You are drowned out by the crowd. Nothing means anything. It’s all over. This is the end, and you’re fine with that. All that’s left is the screaming.