Spring is around the corner in Buenos Aires and a couple of friends and I decided to be tourists for the weekend and spend a Sunday afternoon at the Floralis Genérica Park located in the Plaza de Naciones Unidas. Floralis Genérica is a popular tourist attraction—a giant silver flower in a park in the center of the city. It is a must-visit for anyone who comes to Buenos Aires.
The flower, at its tilted angle, stands tall over a giant reflecting pool. Its petals seem open, although I can never really tell if they are all the way open. (They change hour by hour). Its silver facade reflects the beauty of the sky that revolves around it. After a week of rough and rainy weather, it seems like a breath of fresh air to see something other than gray reflected in the flower and know that spring is coming. We walk along the myriad pathways that get closer and provide different perspectives of the monument. It looks different from every angle. On the grass everywhere around us are groups of friends having picnics in the park and enjoying their time together. There is one group that is sharing mate in the park, typical for an afternoon in Buenos Aires. They laugh as they pass the mate around. The group next to them is enjoying music from a guitar one of them brought. There are couples everywhere sitting on the grass who have come to enjoy the day. People are never afraid to show their love publicly in Buenos Aires. Surrounded by a border of trees and wooded boundaries, sitting in Floralis Genérica feels like taking a break from the fast-paced (yet much slower than in NYC) life of the city. Just like us, people have come here to enjoy themselves.
Right next to Floralis Genérica, seen from a distance, is the law school of the University of Buenos Aires, an ivory-colored building with classical Greek columns. It is a stark contrast from the modern flower that sits at the center of this park. It looks like a building that has been transplanted from Europe and put in the middle of Buenos Aires. Its immense size makes it feel like a building of tremendous importance. On afternoons during the week, UBA is usually flooded with more students than one could imagine, and the sides of the building, plastered with political posters, show how active the students are. But today, it is a Sunday and the school sits in a world of utter silence.
The sound of music comes. On the other side of the Plaza de Naciones Unidas is a festival located a few blocks away. We can hear the music blasting throughout the city overpowering any music that people are playing in this park or the cacophony of car horns passing by the park. My friend tells me that the music playing is the same Jewish music she listens to with her family during Rosh Hashanah. When we ask someone what that festival was, we found out that Buenos Aires has a vibrant Jewish community, the largest in all of Latin America.
Even sitting in a park in the middle of Buenos Aires, one can observe that there are so many different architectural styles that coexist with each other and so many mixtures of different people that come from different backgrounds that come together. This is what makes the city so special. Buenos Aires is so diverse.