Wednesday, 25 November 2009
El Subte Línea A & Orugullo Gay
The Buenos Aires subway system, locally known as subte, opened on December 1, 1913, making it the oldest underground system in Latin America, the Southern Hemisphere, and the Spanish-speaking world. On December 2, Línea A (the first subway train to be built) opened to the public, and around 170,000 passangers enjoyed the first subway ride in South America.
I'm not biased, but my line of choice is línea D. When I switched to línea A to meet some friends in El Congreso, I stumbled upon this gold mine of the past. The inside has not strayed from its original wood craftsmanship, and the ceiling loop supporters have defeated all upgrade attempts of the metal bar. I felt like a train stowaway when I manually pulled open the doors and hopped onto the already moving subte; automatic doors have replaced all other lines except Línea A. It was great until everyone in the car jumped off at the next stop. Was it closing? Did I smell? Was this the wrong direction? The only conclusion I came to is that the pure coincidence allowed me some quality one on one time with Línea A in the year 1913. Cool.
Back to the future, my friends and I made our way to the annual Gay Pride march that starts in the historic Plaza de Mayo and ends in El Congreso. Buenos Aires has one of the largest gay communities in Latin America, and this annual parade celebrates the gay community and its progress toward equality. Last year, around 50,000 people marched to the beautiful Congress building, and I don't doubt that this year's number was even higher. People of all styles come to partake in the festivity as gay, lesbian, and transgender floats slowly make their way partying down Avenida de Mayo with endless electronic music, bright colors, gay pride fliers & flags, outrageous costumes, and drinks. The best part, everyone seems happy.
Somehow, we ended up on a float, dancing across Av. 9 de Julio, the widest street in the world, at three in the morning. One girl made her guy friend ask me if I was gay. They had a little bet going out of curiosity: she thought I was gay, he maintained I wasn't. Sorry sweets, I'm here for the ride, but the three of us toasted to the night nonetheless. When the floats made a semi-circle in front of the Congress building, it was our time to hop off. We had a blast and ended the night downing two delicious Argentine pizzas with a side of beer. The beauty of 1913 to the beauty of 2009 in one day? Not bad.