Friday, November 27, 2009

Buenos Aires

I've been in Buenos Aires for the past few days, with my dad. A few photos:

Mechanical flower statue. The flower sometimes opens. It's unclear what criteria causes it to open: solar power?

I felt a strong desire to sit in the park with my laptop, watching for the flower to open. It is like the Deer Hunter game where the user sits for many minutes waiting for a deer to appear. Top-selling PC game in 1999!

There are a lot of beef dishes in Argentina. This was a particularly good one.

Bought an empanada on the street during the Sunday fair. I chose pumpkin, corn, and cheese stuffing. Turns out it doesn't taste very good to have a starchy dough stuffed with numerous other starches.

My dad and I went to watch a soccer game. This is a photo from an hour prior to the match. 90% of the seats were filled during the actual match.

There were at least 100 policemen outside. We saw several streets where a dozen policemen stood in a line next to one another, each holding a heavy glass shield. There were policemen on horses, policemen in cars, policemen in armored vehicles. All this for a regular Sunday soccer match between two local leagues!

"Why do they have horses?" I said.

"To chase you if you cause trouble," said my dad.

"But why horses, when they already have cars and armored vehicles?"

"To chase you using every available method."

We passed mobs of fans wearing the local team's colors: yellow and dark blue. Fortunately I happened to be wearing a dark blue Google shirt. My dad lamented that China will never get into the World Cup again. "Look at these fans," he said. "China has to get this serious to stand a chance! It's not going to happen."

During the game, everyone around us stood for the entire match, singing songs in unison for three hours.


Elias said...

The mechanical flower is called 'Floralis Generica', from the architect Eduardo Catalano (MIT professor for many years). The flower opens in the morning until the first hours of the night. There are a few exceptions, 25th of May, 21st of September, 24th and 31st of December.

With the horses issue, even if they are useful for chasing, I think the main purpose is for intimidation. Imagine you are in the middle of the crowd in a narrow street and suddenly you get surrounded by an army of mounted policemen, while you're being pushed by the crowd towards the horses... I woulnd't like to be there.

Niniane said...

Is the flower considered "opened" in the photograph? This was taken during the daytime.

Elias said...

At that stage it's almost closed. It follows some sort of sunlight cycle, getting wide opened at midday, then it slowly closes back.

Wanda said...

I've read that mounted police are good for crowd control because they are seated high above the crowd and can see everything that is going on, which is not true of policeman sitting in a car. Also, I imagine that horses are useful for chasing people in places where it is difficult for cars to go, like through crowds or down narrow alleyways or up stairs.

ArC said...

FWIW, I've heard horses are good for crowd control because they can walk sideways and basically be a moving wall.