Saturday, 19 March 2011

El colectivo a La Boca

La Boca is a mythical barrio (suburb) in B. Aires, and of course the home of Boca Juniors football club, which is a legend on its own right. You can hear incredible stories about La Boca from several people. Good and bad ones. I had planned to visit La Boca a couple of times during last week, but for several reasons I didn't make it. Today was perfect. Sunny but not hot. After having a little chat with Adrian, the Hostel manager, I took colectivo No.53 and after 20' I arrived at REPUBLICA de LA BOCA.

lots of tourists in the bus

....but also local people

Republica de la Boca is an unofficial establishment that the locals have created in order to preserve their traditions and cultural legacy, initiated from Italian immigrants from Genoa mainly, sometime towards the end of 19th century. I am not gonna write about the history of the place although is very interesting. There are endless sources on the internet if you feel like reading more, but to be honest I can't be bothered replicating what others have written. Instead, I will try to give you my personal feeling about the place, mainly through some pictures I took, while wandering around.


Rules are different here. Even police presence is very limited. Besides the touristic area, which is just a few blocks around the La Boca stadium, things can get really unforgiving for strangers. The word "stranger" includes everyone outside the barrio, including Argentinians. Adrian, an otherwise very friendly and smiling person, got very serious when I told him that I wanted to walk to La Boca from the hostel. "But it looks really close to San Telmo, maybe 30' walk", I said. "You should better take the bus" he replied, "and stay within the touristic area . Don't go there carrying your backpack and your nice camera. You might be lucky 'cause you look like a local, but maybe not. Even if you go without carrying anything and someone talks to you on the street and they realize you are a stranger, you might get yourself into trouble just a few meters ahead" As insisting as I could be, I said "Could you possibly then, take us there? There are other people from the hostel who want to go to La Boca and would love walking there. You will be our guide"
His response, unexpectedly ended the conversation along with my efforts to change his mind.
"Sorry people, but I can only run for myself"

The touristic area of La Boca is very popular, but also so boring, loud and "touristic". Luxurious buses here and there with groups of tourists from all over the world, guided tours, street musicians, artists and Tango dancers willing to take a picture with you for a few pesos.

The touristic area of La Boca....

truly....unexciting !

Not what I was expecting I started walking around, looking for some original La Boca spirit.
Writing stops here. Will let you take a look at some pictures of the area and hopefully get an idea of the atmosphere of this magnificent barrio of Buenos Aires. Nothing happened to me, maybe I was lucky, as Adrian said.

very colorful place indeed

a half-open door, a nice dog and an alley.... me into this fantastic back-yard

you guessed right... it's Diego

he is all over the place....a true living legend

nearly empty streets

Tomorrow morning at 5am, I am flying to Ushuaia. Zoom out on the map to see where that place is :)