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  • San Telmo is an older neighborhood of Buenos Aires right off the center that is in the process of gentrification. Way back in the early 19th century it was a posh district, then it fell on hard times and became a working class district, now it is returning to its former place. On one street, Defensa, which shoots right off Plaza de Mayo, the main city square, on Sundays there is a crafts market that is the must thing to do on Sundays. The market stretches for at least a dozen city blocks, with every inch occupied by both real artisans and sellers of antiques and trinkets for tourists. So my first Sunday in town I head down there with some others from the hostel where I was staying to see what it was all about.

    If I was decorating an apartment or a house, this would definitely be the place to go, but I wasn’t. There were lots of cool stuff I was tempted to buy, but I’ve kept my souvenir shopping to a minimum on this trip, so I wouldn’t have to lug anything around for months. I did buy a necklace in Peru, which I lost in Chile. And I have picked up a few books on the way, but I have left behind or given away just as many. I did by a little Difunta Correa souvenir. But, of course, when I have come across a snow globe, I have pounced. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for my bulging backpack, I only came across a few, at Macchu Piccu, in Ushuaia, and on this particular Sunday, at the San Telmo market in Buenos Aires.

    And the funny thing was, I wasn’t looking for one at all, it hadn’t even crossed my mind I would find one there. Sure, I knew there would be tourist stuff, but honestly, I stopped looking for them a long time ago. This fixation of mine had seems to finally run its course, perhaps because I just never saw any around, so I had just moved on. But browsing among the stalls and tables along the street with friends, there they were. “Wait! Wait!” I stopped my friends as I started to examine each globe, shaking them, deciding which one exactly to buy. “You’re going to buy one of those?” said the Danish guy as I took out my pesos to buy the most un-Argentine thing around. “Yeah, I got a couple hundred of these things.”

    And each one has its story.
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