today we’re back in northern north america for the first time in a
month, and the difference is stark.
yesterday we were in a country that fights to survive every day, today
we arrived to a country that works.
yesterday there were places to eat everywhere (almost chaotically
so), and always something I wanted to eat, but the infrastructure was
in shambles. today the infrastructure was pristine but the food
choices were mcdonalds and tim hortons.
a week ago i visited a house that is built on 8 ft stilts so the
waters that rise every night dont flood the house. its source of water
is a water tank that sits on the roof, but the bathroom still
had a bidet. today, lavish washrooms without a single cockroach but there is no bidet to be found. (I don’t understand the priorities here:
what are you trying to keep clean, the bottoms of your shoes or your
yesterday there were brazilians, bolivians, mexicans, colombians and
lots of tourists everywhere but none could be called visible
minorities. today there are indians, natives, blacks, and lots of
assorted “white” people that look very different from argentine
“white” people. these are french, polish, english,
ukrainian, scottish mixes. many of the ones yesterday had dramatic
iberian and mediterranean features.
yesterday the hair colour predominantly dark. today is a sea of blond hair.
architecture yesterday varied between classic parisian and shanties.
sculpted and polished marble, lots of tin. today it’s large
box buildings that are efficient and sturdy and brutal on the eyes.
yesterday the news was about the ongoing prison escape drama of three
drug traffickers connected to the head of the cabinet of the outgoing
government. today was a full-page obituary to a hard hitter of the
stratford theatre scene.
yesterday was women and men of all ages casually carrying infants in
one arm while holding the hand of another. today I have yet to see a
baby, much less hear one crying. there abortion is illegal and having
children is no big deal. here having a child is a big deal, and the
role of reproductive literacy and rights mean a higher proportion of
those children are wanted.
yesterday it was conversations with literally everyone: the doorman,
the lady in line, the taxi driver, the shopkeeper that sees you
walking by in front of his store, the young children of distant
relatives. everyone who talks is super excited to do so (especially
when they’re angry). today you can walk around in a bubble of peace
and silence, like a bunch of monks walking around.
yesterday it was flat expanses next to striking mountains, and lots of
palms and trees in the balmy summer sun, today it’s lakes and
rivers along long stretches of farmland blanketed in quiet snow.
in montreal we hear rap blasting from car speakers, in buenos aires
we hear cumbia.
glad to come home after having visited home.