Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bohemian Ideals; Artesanias of Argentina

Traveling through Central and South America I always came across and was drawn to the hippy artesian types. They travel in packs and can usually be found on beaches selling their macramé jewellery. They stay a while until they have made enough to move on. Most I find are Argentineans; I have come across a few Colombians, some Spaniards and the odd Frenchies. Some try to sell other items than the ever popular macramé backpacker collectables. Some are found roaming the strangest places I even found one in the Northern town of Matagalpa Nicaragua selling paper flowers to fund his journeys. Some may say that they aren’t really artisans and they are just homeless wanderers with dreads and baggy pants but being the nomadic gypsy type myself I have always been intrigued by them. Plus they always seem to know where the cheapest hostel is and the best beaches. It’s an interesting way of life and a sub culture in the backpacking scene. I myself have been tempted to ditch the gringo scene and join the next Argie group to make money by reading tarot on the beaches and writing about the lives of Argentinean Artisanias.

For this reason I was excited to go to Argentina the origin of these bohemian travelers but to my surprise it seemed that these cool traveling Argentineans had all left Argentina. That was until I got to know my friend Max’s girlfriend Paula. I discovered a large majority of Argentineans are in the arts and very talented. I guess like me they come back and camouflage themselves amongst the crowd before heading off on adventures again. I got introduced to Paula’s friends who were painters, pottery makers, jewellery designers, tango dancers and musicians. They are all similar to my Tucuman friend who is passionate about his music and dedicated to preserving the Bohemian ideals. This may sound like a cheesy line from Moulin Rouge but Wikipedia describes the Bohemian as;

“...the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits. In this context, Bohemians can be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds. Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which were often expressed through free love, frugality, and/or voluntary poverty.”

Society frowns upon people who have a hunger for the unknown and wish to lead an unconventional life. Is society just envious of people able to free themselves of the burdens of a stable life where one’s money goes towards paying the bills, ensuring dinners in restaurants, money to go out on the weekend and the same home to sleep in every night. While people are working the hours away earning money to keep them in an endless cycle are they really going after their passion and seeing the world around them.

I have met amazing people through my travels that I admire for going after their dreams of seeing that there is more to the world by having less and changing lives along the way, people who passionately live freely through their art.

I enjoyed Buenos Aires so much more once I discovered it through different eyes. Paula took me to Plaza Francia on a Saturday to see the Artisan market. I also checked out San Telmo on a Sunday which is a massive open air market of artisans, antiques, souvenirs, musicians and dancers that spans to Parque Lezama on the way to La Boca. I was in awe and in my element. I could have stayed for days browsing the unique finds.

After New Years while I was waiting for my next Brazilian visa appointment, I got the opportunity to do what I had dreamed of since hanging out with the Argentineans in Nicaragua. I was off to the coast to join an artesania feria. The location...I had no idea, a slight language barrier.

“Truth, Beauty, freedom and love.”

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