Richard Harwood

Chile - 2001

Buenos Aires, Argentina - La Boca

The old port at La Boca

La Boca was the original port area of Buenos Aires. Many of the streets are made of cobble stones that were originally ballast stones in European sailing ships that came over empty of cargo but full of ballast stones in place of cargo. They would then fill their holds with cargo from Argentina and return to Europe. The port still exists, but is no longer the main port of Buenos Aires. The river that runs through La Boca is the Río Paranacito, which empties into the Río de la Plata. It is considered to be one of the most polluted rivers in the country. The joke is that if you were to drink the water from the Río Paranacito you would die within half an hour.

Today La Boca is something of an artisan colony, catering to tourists. The brightly colored buildings are the continuation of a tradition that started when La Boca was one of the poorer parts of Beunos Aires. The residents at that time could not afford to buy paint and so would get and use paint remnants, in what ever color was left over, from larger painting jobs.