As you can hear, there's tons of hustle and bustle. With the shifting meters, dense chordal voicings and brisk tempo, it sets the stage well for Buenos Aires's busy downtown that never seems to take a rest.
Microcentro is home to many of the hotels, banks, services, and everything else that makes the city tick. The area's defining feature is the pedestrianized Calle Florida, which runs from Avenida de May to Plaza San Martin. It's crowded by day with shoppers and business people. At night, sidewalk shows by performance artists thrill tourists and locals alike.
The Obelisco is one of the defining monuments of Buenos Aires. It was inaugurated in 1936 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first, and unsuccessful, founding of the city by Pedro de Mendoza. It sits at the heart of of the city and the Theater District. The Obelisco is the focal point of the vista between Plaza de Mayo and Diagonal Norte, meant to mimic the vistas found in Paris around Place de la Concorde. When Argentines have something to celebrate, the Obelisco is where they head. In my case, I was able to get a ring side view of presidential election demonstrations happening one Saturday afternoon. Even though I knew little about the candidates, and less about the insults being hurled, it was strangely comforting to find this level of contention outside of the States. For all the marches and flag waving, I was never really concerned about things getting out of hand as when, I suspect, you are accustomed to hearing people's opinions it becomes less of an issue when countering.
The famed Teatro Colon (built in 1908) is another irreplaceable piece of this neighborhood's puzzle that holds great significance for Porteno culture. It took over 18 years to build, largely because of the dramatic tragedies that befell its various architects, especially Victor Meano, who was murdered in a love triangle. Materials for the theater came from all over Europe, and the building functioned as Buenos Aires's aria to the world, proving that it was a city of culture to be reckoned with. One can find marble from all over the world lining the lobby and making up the grand staircase; the wooden and bronze seating area, which soars five levels to an immense chandelier; as well as the underground storage and practice areas where ballerinas improve their craft. This venue has housed the finest opera talent in the world and so much more. Branford Marsalis performed there with his quartet during my stay and conducted a clinic as part of the Buenos Aires International Jazz Festival...the one time that I felt good about asking a question in English!