Sunday, March 24, 2013

Muddy Mishap in the Park

Written by Karen.
On Sunday, we walked in a huge loop around the city that included a very large park complex consisting of open grassy spaces, trees, lakes, tennis courts, a horse racing track, zoo and a golf course in the Palermo and Belgrano districts of Buenos Aires.  Initially, we were looking to buy a golf cap as a souvenir at one of the five municipal golf courses in Buenos Aires, but being that it was a Sunday, the golf course and golf shop were very much closed. 

The streets surrounding the park complex are also closed to vehicular traffic on Sundays. Bicyclists, rollerbladers, skate boarders, runners and walkers thus had plenty of space to spread out and enjoy themselves.  There were thousands of families, couples and individuals who brought folding chairs, picnic baskets, fishing poles, and books to relax the day away with.  The day was sunny and cool, refreshed from the thunderstorm and rain that passed through just the night before.  

Due to that summer thunderstorm, there were still mud puddles throughout the park that hadn't fully dried.  We carefully picked our way around the most slipperiest looking mud puddles for most of the afternoon. I almost made it through the obstacle course when my left foot slid in some fine, slippery mud and I suddenly found myself down on one knee in what turned out to be a fairly large mud puddle.  "Damn!" I muttered, figuring that I would just step hard with my right foot and quickly pull myself out of the mud puddle with only minimal mud and ego damage. Perhaps no one - except Adam - would notice.  

But at that moment, I completely forgot that it was the slipperiness of the mud that had brought me to this point....teetering on one knee. I stepped forward hard with my right foot - and you guessed it! - the momentum propelled me to fall over and awkwardly sprawl directly into the mud.  "Merde!", I said loudly switching from Spanish to French in my dismay.  I’m fairly certain it was French - but it could have been English - in any case my dismay was loud and evident.  

My outburst combined with my uncoordinated two-part flop into the mud caused several bicyclists, a roller blader and a skateboarder to squeal to a stop, circle around and solicitously ask if I was okay or if I needed any help?  I sat upright in the center of the mud puddle, legs fully extended and feeling my clothes sopping up the slippery mud like a piece of bread being dipped in a bath of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I tried to figure out a gracious way to extract myself from this sudden and inconvenient predicament.  "No, gracias, estoy bien," ("No thanks, I'm okay") I say, a bit more politely.  I think that in the end, Adam must have helped me get out of the mud.

A nearby street vendor saw my muddy mishap unfold, and he started to laugh and applaud loudly and called out, "Bueno, muy bueno!"  ("Good, very good!") I didn't take offense - what was the point?  I figured that not too many people unexpectedly slide around in the mud on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  And, upon reflection, it was kinda funny.  I laughed, took a bow and said, "Gracias, gracias....muchas gracias!" (Thank you, thank you...thank you very much!)

I so appreciated his humorous intervention.  Seriously. It got everyone who was awkwardly standing around wanting to help, but really not able to do anything, start laughing.  Even better - for me - it got everyone laughing and moving along with their day leaving me to squeeze out as much muddy slime from my clothes as possible before starting to squish home.  After thanking and joking with those who stopped and graciously offered their assistance, it was finally just Adam and I who remained to take initial stock of the now messy situation.  

I was covered with generous splotches of very wet mud from my upper waist down - and there was no hiding that fact - especially as the mud started to dry.  The mud was the most unfortunate color of brown, and the layers of mud splotches on my clothing resulted in me becoming a walking palette in that most unfortunate color of brown.  

There wasn't much that I could do as we were still several miles away from our apartment, and I tried not to notice the stares and chuckles as we walked the long road home. Luck turned my way when we didn't see any of our apartment-dwelling neighbors and I could slink up into our apartment and pull off my dried muddy clothing in the privacy of the shower.

Stupid stuff happens anytime and anywhere, and usually when it is the most inconvenient.  You really never know when you are not going to see the proverbial banana peel on the ground and wind up having to adjust your ego as you hit the ground.  It's how you roll as you get back up again that counts when you slip, slide, and possibly fall - preferably not into a pool of mud.  

So, I was thinking about a possible silver lining for this muddy mishap. I finally came up with this happy thought...it was completely conducted in a different language - that’s gotta count for something!  I'm totally intercontinental when it comes to falling awkwardly into the mud!  
Working out in the park on a Sunday afternoon.  
A long piece of cloth was looped over the branches of the trees 
and used as part of a workout.
Intricate and complex twists of light and shade
Rows of park trees providing dappled shade
Yellow umbrellas and deck chairs are provided throughout 
the City for shade, rest and relaxation.  
A large lake that is used for fishing and boating.  There is a large 
island in the middle of this lake that is full of white herons.  
Families feeding the fish, ducks, geese and pigeons
Colorful paddle boats waiting to be launched
A father teaching his daughter how to fish
The park complex recognized a variety of historical figures
underneath the tree canopy.  This one is Mahatma Gandhi,
1869 - 1948.
A skull silkscreened screen blocking the entrance
of a closed subway.
Crossing the train tracks in the Colegiales district of Buenos Aires
An empty golf course - on a sunny, Sunday afternoon!
Flowering banana plant

Flowering tree
Monument to the Spaniards.  This is in the center
of a traffic circle with twelve lanes.  You can see the edge 

of the park behind the monument in the background.
The view from the center of the traffic circle
looking back towards the center of Buenos Aires.
The pedestrian and bicycle paths alongside the zoo.  The
City offers yellow bikes at no charge to ride for a few hours. 
A sneak peek inside the zoo.  Pink flamingos.
Check out the baby chicks in the center of the picture.


Anonymous said...

Hi. Glad that you are okay!! Last summer I started writing a possible novel set in Argentina. While I mapped much of it out, I haven't worked on it for a while. Thanks for the photos! Steve S.

Observers of Life said...

Hi Steve!

Your novel sounds interesting - maybe a research trip to Argentina is in store for you? :) I was okay - just a bruised ego!!