The map above shows the path I took yesterday, on bike, from my apartment (A) to a pickup Ultimate game (B). It should help give a sense of scale to the following comments.
On Saturday, I made my first ~10 mile round trip to the weekly Bs As Ultimate frisbee pickup game. As I mentioned yesterday, Ultimate — and even discs themselves — are not particularly well known here. It is highly unusual that, in a city (and suburbs) of almost 13 million people, there is only one pickup game each week. There are far more than I can count in NYC.
The game was well attended, however, by a good mix of ex-pats, locals, students, and other South Americans living in the city. Everyone was very friendly – I met one of the main organizers who got me all set up to play with Disco Sur, Bs As’ oldest team. A spring league starts next weekend – I got here at just the right time.
In yet another sign of the small, small world that we live in, I met two people from Albuquerque at the game; we chatted it up about craving green chile and breakfast burritos. Unprompted, one even quoted Monroe’s: “a day without chile is like a day without sunshine,” he said. I laughed. (It’s true).
I had my first choripán – chorizo sandwich – with a bunch of the players after the game. Nom nom nom.
Although the friz was fun, I think the most enjoyable part of the day was the trip itself. I was totally unprepared for the awesome new areas I came across. On my relatively short ride, I saw a huge park; an equestrian training center complete with a jump course; a lake filled with boaters and lined with fishermen; literally dozens of fútbol matches; and the River Plate stadium. River Plate is one of the hugely popular club fútbol teams in the city – they have a deep rivalry with Boca Juniors, the most popular team in the city. The passion and intensity of the match-up prompted Coca-Cola to change its logo’s colors to black and white on Boca’s stadium (River plays in red and white) – one of the only such changes in the world.
But I digress. I realized while I was riding through the park that Buenos Aires just stomps all over New York in terms of park area. You can hardly go ten blocks without stumbling upon a big, grass-filled park. In NY, there are lots of little mini-parks or squares, but Bs As hosts big parks all over the city. Big enough for boating and fishing. Damn.
I find something very soothing about sitting in an urban park, looking out across the water, grass, and trees to see skyscrapers shooting sun into your eyes in the background. It is like a little oasis of forest in a cement desert. But, as opposed to many forests, which can be isolating, urban forests are usually pulsing with energy. You get the big city experience in the calm of nature.
And Buenos Aires delivers. Even on a short little bike ride, you’ll likely enjoy not only bustling barrios and shifting architectural styles, but also quiet parks and “green” zoning.
Have I really only been here a week?