La Boca

The Buenos Aires neighborhood of La Boca is famous for two reasons: first, it lays claim to being the birthplace of the tango; second, it is home to Boca Juniors, the soccer club on which Maradona played. It also has the most color, both literally and figuratively. My experience there was mixed. The bus dropped me off a block from el Caminito, which is the exact area where tango was said to be born. It’s pretty, sure, but it’s also tourist hell, with buskers everywhere and maitre ‘d’s falling over themselves to pull you into their restaurants.



I chafe in these places when I feel that just having a camera on me makes me a mark. So I kept walking. And soon, I found a friend. Or rather, she found me.



This dog followed me for almost an hour, to the point where I was worried about what I was going to do when I got back to my hotel. I stopped, she stopped; I went into a store, she would wait outside. I think it was the initial petting that made me such a fast friend. Having a companion made for a lively walk. As I said, La Boca is colorful.




I had read in the guidebook about the neighborhood being a bit dodgy, but I kept walking along and shooting until an older woman began speaking to me. At first I protested with my standard No tiendo (“I don’t understand”), but she persisted, using body language and a few words of English to make herself understood: put the camera away or else you’ll get robbed, or worse. I took her advice, happy I was able to get at least some decent shots of the neighborhood.



7 responses

  1. I often read about people going to a bad area when another person comes up to them and says “Put your camera / phone away or you’ll get robbed!” It’s just strange because that’s the opposite of what you’d expect in a so called bad area! I wonder if the woman lived there or was also just visiting the neighbourhood. It can’t be so bad if she lives there, you know? Maybe she was just distracting you while somebody stole your wallet? Haha.

    July 7, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    • In my experience, there’s “good” people everywhere. Even in the rough neighborhoods, they outnumber “bad” people, but it doesn’t take many “bad” people to make the neighborhood bad. The rest know the reputation of their area and pride makes them stand up for it, hence the woman warning me. To her, I might be another statistic waiting to happen, so she warns me not so much for my sake, but for the sake of lessening the crime record in her native area. For the record, my wallet was unharmed (I always keep it in my front pocket when travelling).

      July 7, 2014 at 9:37 pm

  2. What a cool looking place! I need to travel haha.

    July 7, 2014 at 9:01 pm

  3. If you haven’t, you should!

    July 7, 2014 at 9:38 pm

  4. Last shot is the winner for me, TR. I can just picture the neighborhood kids playing soccer. :)

    Trip sounds fantastic. Love the story of the older woman looking out for you, just goes to show the pride of the people in these communities… even the most economically-challenged ones.

    July 15, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    • Yup. Shame, too, because it was the single most picturesque neighborhood in the city.

      July 16, 2014 at 6:29 am

  5. Such a great experience! Your work with Street photography is incredible.

    July 19, 2014 at 7:12 am

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