Spring has Sprung: Metal flowers in Buenos Aires

Spring has most definitely arrived in Buenos Aires. It was a day or two late, but it’s fascinating to see the responses here. The other day I went to see the amazing Floralis Generica, a 20m tall, 18 ton glistening steel sculpture of a flower, with individual petals that move, controlled by photoelectric cells and a hydraulic system.

The metal petals open early in the morning and close around dusk: I’d love to see this happen. It was designed by the Argentinian architect Eduardo Catalano and I thought it was fantastic. Anyway, strolling through the park on the way there, I saw a woman huddled in a heavy winter coat, wrapped in a scarf, walking past another woman lying on a bench wearing grey sweat pants and a bikini top, systematically toasting herself. She checked her watch and then switched round on her bench, to give herself an even grilling. The parks are also full of bouquets of dogs, the stems of their leads held firmly by professional dog walkers (paseoperros). Brave people: what happens when one paseoperros meets another and some of their charges take a dislike to each other? In the delightful Japanese gardens near the Evita Museum, even the bloated coi carp were sunning themselves, only half submerged in the spring rays of the shallows. They looked fairly disgusting, but I suppose you can’t blame them for wanting a bit of natural warmth like everyone else.

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