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BUENOS AIRES, A TRENDY AND FRIENDLY SPOT WAY DOWN SOUTH ! (PUBLIÉ DANS BEAR Magazine – USA – Avril 2009)
7 mai, 2009, 23:36
Classé dans : Argentine,Bear,Buenos Aires,Gay,gay Buenos Aires

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“Buenos Aires is undoubtedly the most gay-friendly city in South America!” explains my good Argentinean friend Camilo, a thirty year-old handsome porteño (1). “The civil union contract between same-sex couples has existed since 2003”. Since my last trip here, I’ve actually noticed an increasing number of gay couples walking hand in hand in the streets.  In Buenos Aires, guys are manly, sensual, and… sexy. “They are real men!” says Franck, a French friend of mine and true lover of Buenos Aires, who bought an apartment in the heart of the trendy Palermo district. 

The successive waves of immigration, mainly Italian and Spanish, mixed with the Amerindians (the historical inhabitants of the country) have generated an “ethnic” diversity totally unique in South America. Everytime I come down to Argentina, I’m impressed with the quantity of hot guys you see walking on the street.  The beauty of its inhabitants is not the only attraction to Buenos Aires. Both modern and classic, the city has many assets to seduce you. I love wandering in Palermo, the hip district with its huge houses from the beginning of the century, transformed into neat and chic restaurants or clothing stores just as cool as those you can find in the trendiest areas of London or Berlin. This year, I however chose to stay in San Telmo, one of the oldest districts, with cobblestoned streets, flea markets, and tango bars. It has an incredible bohemian vibe and a great nightlife. If you prefer quieter areas, you would love Recoleta, a residential district  whose classic architecture gave the city the nickname of “The Paris of South America”. Or Puerto Madero, the docks area with its industrial buildings which now shelter the most expensive apartments and hotels of the country. 

Gaywise, the pallet of fun places to hang out is (almost) as broad as any big US city or European capital. This city never managed to bore me. There is something for everyone here: Trendy, electronic clubs where sexy guys dance topless; pop and punk parties where the Porteño youth get together; gay tango dance halls and even a remote club in the middle of the Pampa which turns out to be the meeting place for gay gauchos (cow-boys). Not to mention the famous bear party at Contramano (the first gay club of the city) where bears, chubs, chasers, and I meet every Sunday. When I feel more adventurous, I dare visiting a couple of sex bars which recently opened. They are now competing strongly with the old porn theaters, vestiges of the dictatorship when repression had forced gay people to devise new and discrete cruising places.  My friend Camilo lived for a time in Spain. “I loved Barcelona. But paradoxically, in such an open society, I found that people were locked up into a ghetto. Here, it is just the contrary. The gay nightlife attracts a huge mix of people. There is no(*) gay district in Buenos Aires”. The mix sometimes goes further. Bisexuality is very common here. Even straight guys are open to new experiments. My friend Franck is proud to confess me that he recently hooked up with a construction worker who was working on a building site nearby his house. 

The Buenos Aires bear community is probably one of the largest in South America. The Bear club was born in 1997 when thirty men gathered in a forty-meter-square apartment and decided to found the association. They are now more than a hundred and twenty regular members, and nearly five hundreds meet every Sunday night at the bear party in Contramano. “We are very open and we are always very friendly with visitors from abroad” says Franco, one of the leaders of the club. “Our saving grace is the huge house we bought during the economic crisis of 2002 when the estate market was so gloomy. This house is the heart of the club, we organize all sorts of social events and meetings here”. The club offers a wide variety of events (see activities) and has its own weekly radio program. “The difference between our club and other bear associations is that we have known each other for a long time, we are like a family. That maybe makes us a little more open and friendly with our new members. We actually accept both bears and chubbies” explains Max, the radio commentator. “We also organize trips to other big cities of our country, to meet new friends. We lately went to Córdoba (2). Everybody there first thought we were a rugby team. Until they saw two of our guys sharing a French kiss!” jokes Franco.  Sense of humor is another characteristic you need to have when dealing with the Argentinean bears. It’s actually an essential component to any social relationship in Buenos Aires, whether it is with a boyfriend, with a boss, or with a shopkeeper. “In spite of the recurring economic and politic difficulties our country experiments, we always try to remain happy and positive. We are cynical, but never jaded!” adds Max.   

Last but not least, a very favorable foreign exchange rate (3) gave me a great purchasing power and made me forget, at least for awhile, that I was probably going through the most dramatic economic crisis of my life. Still hesitating? Come down to the Southern hemisphere to enjoy the warmth of Buenos Aires… and its inhabitants. Believe me, you won’t regret it! 

(1) Porteño: name given to the inhabitants of Buenos Aires, from “puerto”, the harbour. 

(2) : Second most populated city of Argentina. 

(3) 1 US dollar = 3,70 Argentinean pesos.                 

 Activities in Buenos Aires  The bear club of Buenos Aires : http://www.ososdebuenosaires.com/new/ 

Mondays : at 1.30 pm, “Mate meeting” at the Bear House, Humberto Primo 1664. The Mate is a typical Argentinean hot drink traditionally shared between friends.  Thursdays : “Bear day” in the gay sauna Nagazaki (from 1.00 pm to 12.00 pm), Aguero 427. (54) 11 4866 4335 Fridays : Friendly dinner at the “Bear House”, Humberto Primo 1664. Sundays : The bear party at Contramano, from 10 pm. Rodriguez Peña 1082. Every last Friday of the month, asado party (typical Argentinean barbecue) at the Bear House. Humberto Primo 1664.  Every two Sundays : Movie projection at the Bear House. 


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