Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Paloma means pigeon (and ironically also dove) in Spanish.

Pigeons are as much a part of city culture as taxi cabs and coffee shops. Every city has them everywhere, and Buenos Aires is no exception. In our apartment we have a big window next to our little breakfast table that looks out onto ... a wall, an air conditioning and another window which I've only seen opened one time when the cleaning lady was there. The silver lining to this is a couple of pigeons who live on the air conditioner across the way. Missing first of all my pets, and second of all the sight of movement outside a window, these pigeons were a gift - a makeshift solution to missing my dog, cat, and any sign of movement outside the windows. They came and went throughout the day, but returned faithfully every night to sleep huddled together below the air conditioning unit. In the early days of coming here when I didn't know my way around the city and was to sick to want to figure it out, I watched the pigeons. The female sat calmly, I assume incubating her coming spring chick. Meanwhile the male left and faithfully returned with building materials for a nest, which in a city like this included more plastic ties and wires than twigs and grass. But hey, it's the thought that counts.
After I few days I officially adopted them vis a vi leaving them a slice of bread outside of our window each morning. I became quite fond of my new pets, watching them spazticly peck at the pieces until they fell of the sill, and then return back to their home on the other side. It was a great routine until one Saturday morning, just after I had fed the pigeons, our door bell rang three times. Alejandro answered to our first floor counterpart griping that the bread fell onto her patio area and that they were trying to eradicate all pigeons the building so we had to stop feeding them. It was like leaving my pets all over again, and caused a deep hour long depression. In the next couple days I looked at my pigeons with a heavy heart, as they waited in vain for their daily treat to be left outside. But then things got even worse - one day there was only one pigeon. As had become habit, I looked for my pair of pigeons Monday night when I got home from the gym, but much to my horror I only found one. The next day and night I saw the same thing, only one pigeon. I was sure the woman (a politer version of how we really refer to her in the apartment) had something to do with that - that she had killed the other pigeon. I planned retaliation in my head. But tonight when I returned home, much to my delight, I saw two pigeons sweetly huddled on their home ledge under the air conditioning unit. It's hard to see in the dark if they are the same pigeons; I'll have to wait until the morning to know for sure. Either way, I'm happy to see another happy couple in their rightful place, (their rightful place being every ledge, corner, phone line and wall in the city). But just to make sure I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket, I've widened by pigeon affinity to pigeons all over the city. The best couple position has already been filled, but I'll keep you updated on other superlatives.

1 comment:

  1. Hi!

    Just been reading this blog. Loved it. I was looking for descriptions of how foreigners see us (argentines) and came across this, gotta say, had some laughs and smiles. I especially liked this article (what a rare thing these pidgeons, you were lucky... the third pic got to my heart) and the ones where you describe how we are like and how americans sometimes complain about their lifestyles. It prove insightful for me since I'm a fan of american culture and already have some ideas about it - these ideas were straightened. I guess one can explain the particularities of our cultures from the people we descend from (different countries in Europe) and our histories, although ultimately we are all humans and it's funny for me to see that the things that make us happy or unhappy are the same here and there - love, family, the meaning we give to life - as it is obvious for example by watching american or argentine cinema. Anyways, I'm diverging... I can see you enjoyed your staying, happy about that, come back anytime soon :)