Thursday, 10 April 2008
Photo Essay 2. La Boca
La Boca is not the kind of neighborhood in Buenos Aires for casual strolls outside the tourist section of Caminito, Del Valle and Magallanes, and it can be rough in some spots.
In the 19th century La Boca became home to Spanish and Italian immigrants who settled along the Riachuelo, the river that divides the city from the surrounding province of Buenos Aires. Many came during the booming period of 1880 and ended up processing and shipping out Argentinian beef in meat-packing plants and wharehouses. After tearing up the shipping barges, the port dwellers put leftover paint on the metal siding of their houses, giving La Boca what would became one of its famous landmarks.
Caminito is the most famous street and on weekends buses full of tourists come here to browse the small crafts fair while watching tango dancers perform for spare change.
Tango is the other main reason for visitors to come here, because is not an easy dance to describe; it needs to be seen and experienced. Despite a long evolution from its origins, it is still sensual and erotic and the perceived vulgarity did manage to influence some young members of the upper classes who modified and supported a dance that became an acceptable outlet for human desires. The trend spread from Paris around Europe and when finally the evolved dance returned to Buenos Aires, the tango earned the respectability it deserves now refined and famous.