I didn't' expect to see it until Friday, but I'll get to that in a minute.
First lets talk about this seat of Presidential power.
If you look closely you can see the famous balcony in front of the three windows on the second floor.
No?That's a little easier.
From this balcony, Diego Maradona , General Galtieri, Evita and Peron have enjoyed worship of the masses at various stages in Argentinian history. Evita was first to use the vantage point as she was determined to suffer the elements along with the common man.
Although there's no recorded instance of her actually braving driving rain whilst conducting a regal wave the myth lives on.
There are various stories why the building is pink. The official line insists it was a compromise between the two major political factions at the time (their colours were red and white).
Another explanation (which I'm assured is true) is that the original stone being very soft was preserved with a solution containing cow's blood.
When diluted, the mixture came out pink.
The political compromise explanation is on government web sites.
The "Cow's blood truth" is given by English speaking tour guides but that may be just a bit of "colour" for their spiel..
I ended up in Argentina 4 days earlier than expected because upon arrival in Rio I discovered that Canadians need a VISA to visit Brazil.
This must be a recent development as I'd been there in April and my documents were stamped (both in and out) without a second glance.
I found myself cooling my heels in the transit lounge after a 19 hr journey staring at the prospect of being put on a Delta flight back to the US .
Pissed off would not begin to describe my state of mind.
The Canadian Embassy?
As useless as tits on a bull.
Not interested in even discussing my situation "until after lunch".
The Federal Police?
No one could speak English and dismissed the April stamps in my passport as "not important".
Enter a fellow named Vassco (he's my Regional Sales manager in Brazil).
I'd sent him a half hearted email from my B-berry at 8 am and he got to work on the phones.
He was VERY persistent.
As it happens, he was VERY effective.
Brazilian water torture.
Hence forth invisible, the Delta rep appeared.
Then a young guy from the Federal Police.
Soon I was walking to the desk of Argentinian airlines in the main terminal (my passport in hand) having bypassed passport control AND customs.
I was GIVEN a ticket to Buenos Aires.
First class no less.
The Argentinians like Canadians it seems.
So here I am.
Am I liking Buenos Aires?
I've had a fair bit of time to look around between trips to the Brazilian consulate for my transit VISA back to the US on Sunday.
Opposite the Pink Palace is "May 25th Square". It's here in 1810 that the good people of Argentina decided they'd had enough of Spanish rule.
The square is still a place of protest the most poignant of which is the weekly appearance of the "Mothers of the Disappeared". During the military dictatorship (1976-83), thousands of Argentinians vanished into the meat grinder of the ruling Junta's security apparatus. The mothers of these poor souls gathered every Thursday to protest and demand their release. They still assemble though now in remembrance rather than in any hope of definitively learning the fate of loved ones. Their enduring courage is acknowledged by the " mother's kerchiefs" painted in a circle around the independence monument.
Protests continue today. When I was there some sort of squabble was in full swing important enough to warrant TV crews and water cannon.
I was a little disappointed as the only time I'd seen a water cannon in action was on TV, pinning English football hooligans to the sidewalks of small french towns.
The legion of professional dog walkers exercising very expensive pure bred mutts, seems to suggest the crisis may not bite so deep.
Anti-Peronists stole her body in 1955 and somehow spirited it (pun intended) away to Italy where it remained hidden until 1971.
That's it for today.