Hitler and Kisses For
by Mark McMahon
kisses everyone. Casual acquaintances from eight months ago
greet me with enthusiasm and affection. The staff at my favorite
cafés. The young dog walker. At the flower stand. When
friends introduce friends here, there are kisses all around,
kisses for everyone! Such a delight, I love it!
I am back in Buenos Aires, the neighborhood where I wrote big
chunks of my forthcoming book, Driving To The End Of The
World. I am here for a couple of reasons: a frequent flyer
award ticket about to expire, a last-ditch effort to sell Blanco
Billy, my '78 Toyota Land Cruiser, and a free apartment waiting
for me. (As if I need an excuse to come and enjoy the world-class
food and ambiance at one-third U.S. prices.)
As luck would have it, I arrived here the same day as another
notable North-American. (At the very least, I consider myself
noteworthy.) The other notable is none other than George W.
Bush. I don't think he is here for the kisses. One could only
hope. He is here for the Summit of the Americas, to discuss
free trade and other such official matters.
my favorite empanada shop (empanadas are a pastry baked with
meat or cheese inside) I discussed the presidential visit with
the proprietor of the shop. We had never met before and we exchanged
opinions without him knowing that I was from the U.S. (My Spanish
is certainly not good enough to be mistaken for a local, but
good enough that people assume I am not American.) "He
is the boss, the king of the world." He said sarcastically.
"Kirchner (their President) is only his Secretary. He shows
up and we must close down our streets. Who pays for this? Not
him." About 7000 security and police personnel are on duty
for the visit.
The shopkeeper expressed his dismay for the abysmal human rights
record of the Bush administration and— without sarcasm—
compared Bush to Hitler! His opinion comes from a culture that
is not a stranger to totalitarian forms of government. (To read
my previous entry about Argentina's Dirty War of the 70's click
here, or google: Argentina's Dirty War)
the Hitler comparison really such a stretch? Can you blame the
shopkeeper for his viewpoint? Right now our Vice-President is
lobbying his ass off to retain the right to torture citizens
of other nations. And really, not just other nations. A U.S.
citizen in the wrong place at the wrong time could be assigned
the classification of "enemy combatant" and be fair
game for a CIA torture chamber. You think I am paranoid? This
scenario is far-fetched? Google Jennifer Harbury and read about
her search to find information about her husband who "disappeared"
Oh, but I started off so sweetly. How did I stray so far away
from kissing?? Can't help it now. I'm on a roll. I spent a few
days in the San Francisco Bay Area on my way here and I had
Cheney on the brain. I was the guest of my pal; faithful readers
will remember Señor
Eh-Scott in Berkeley. He showed me to his rooftop deck where
he proudly surveyed his solar panels that provide ALL OF THE
POWER FOR HIS HOUSE and then some. This is not toasty Tucson
or even sunny Southern Cal but cool, often cloudy, by-the-bay
I flashed on my very first and startling recollection of Cheney
on TV. He was being interviewed on a news program and the topic
was oil and energy. When asked about alternative energy sources
he utterly dismissed them. "They are just not practical."
I was stunned. Shocked in fact, that someone with such limited
vision could actually be leading the country.
you, this was sometime during his first term as V.P., and prior
to my political awakening which occurred over the course of
my 2 1/2 year drive through Latin America. The editing of the
book about my drive is still not quite done. But the very thin
political thread throughout the book is thickening as I sadly
learn more and more about the underhanded interventions of the
U.S. in Latin American affairs.
But it is a beautiful day in Buenos Aires, with gorgeous springtime
weather. And it's such a shame that I am distracted from all
the kissing by torture and human rights violations.
Fill the pool and jump in!
by Mark McMahon
Every time I have been to Buenos Aires I have
visited the Recoleta Arts and Crafts Fair at Plaza Francia near
the Famous (and FOR the famous) Recoleta Cemetery. The Fair
is open every weekend and features a huge variety of arts and
crafts, plus some wonderfully eclectic entertainment. I met
Marga Fabbri there on my very first visit. We have been friends
ever since, enjoying discussions on the nature of life, work,
and art, while hanging out on the lawn across from her paintings.
This visit she proudly announced that she had finally quit her
day job! Hmm, I thought, this most certainly warrants an AdventureView.
[Translated from Spanglish]
Mark for LiveYourAdventure: Congratulations!
Marga Fabbri: [With a huge smile] Thank you
LYA: How long did you study architecture?
MF: For 12 years.
LYA: You mean 12 years studying and working?
MF: No, 12 years of study and certifications.
That included a one-year exchange program in Brazil doing a
restoration project on an old church.
LYA: How was that?
MG: It was the best! I learned to speak Portuguese
and started my first oil-on-canvas paintings. An incredible
experience culturally. A very small town, such a contrast to
growing up in Buenos Aires!
LYA: And work after your schooling?
MF: About five years. I worked on a few projects
and also worked in research at my school. But I did not enjoy
working in the profession as much as the schooling. I always
knew that I wanted to draw. Architecture seemed like a good
way to go about it.
LYA: So you don’t regret the schooling?
MG: Oh no. My personal style developed from
my training. It is who I am. I love architecture. I just don’t
like the work! [laughs]
LYA: Did you do much art before architecture
MF: Yes. My grandfather was my first art teacher.
When I was only 6 years old! He was a sculptor and a professor
at an art college.
LYA: I love the bright colors in your art,
the whimsical style, but you can still really feel the architecture.
MF: My current style has developed over the
past 4 years. I first started selling black-and- white drawings.
LYA: So what’s up with the cat?
MF: That’s Tomas. He hangs out with me
while I draw, so he ends up in most of my pieces. My little
Marga with some of her work
LYA: So you are happy with your new status,
MF: [Laughs] I am the happiest when I am drawing. The
happiness goes into my paintings. I sell much more than my competitors
here. [Looks around to see that none can hear her, then speaks
more quietly.] People don’t want darkness and depression
on the walls of their home. My customers say my work makes them
happy. I believe that my paintings transmit my happiness to
them. It’s a great feeling! Happiness while I work and
then again, back from my customers.
LYA: So you made the jump eight months ago.
What finally triggered the decision?
MF: Well, I made the decision two years before
the jump. I spent that time preparing for the jump.
LYA: Tell me about that.
MF: It was kind of like bouncing on a diving
board over an empty pool! If you can imagine… I filled
the pool up myself as I built up my confidence. I had to jump
before it was completely full, but when I landed, all of the
water was there!
LYA: So no regrets? How did it feel?
MF: It was liberation! Freedom! My spirit was
Villa Devoto ©
LYA: And the future?
MF: I want to travel and teach drawing. I have
one student now! I want to travel to other cities to paint and
sell my work.
LYA: So your new profession is very portable?
MF: Yes of course! Most everything I need is
in my mind.
LYA: What advice do you have for someone considering
MF: Sadly, I think that many people never discover
what they are meant to do in life, what will make them truly
happy. But I think it is there if you look carefully and listen.
It was difficult listening to that little voice inside telling
me what to do. But it is worth it, believe me. I struggled with
it for 3 or 4 years. I thought I could do both. But it was a
I just kept painting and painting and building my confidence.
Filling the pool!
(But really just the beginning...)
To read Marga's website and see more of her art, click
Photos from Buenos Aires
this for less than a Big Mac!
Mannequin Band. One is a real person...