The Olympic torch went through Buenos Aires on Friday. People began assembling on the sidewalk about 3PM…small groups at first. Then the crowds grew. By 3:30 the crowds and the traffic were so thick we wondered how the torch would get through.
And then the police showed up – dozens of motorcycles and squad cars…then, whole phalanxes…each one driving the crowds back further…and directing the cars onto side streets. It seemed disorganized. Kids played in the streets. Police didn’t seem to know which direction to push back the crowds.
About 5 minutes later, we heard the honking of horns…and went back out on the balcony. The parade took place on the Ave. 9 de Julio – the widest street in the world, which happens to be right outside our South American office. From down the street came a group of runners dressed in red…flanked by what appeared to be volunteers of all sorts, running along with them. Then came buses – many of them flying Chinese flags…and a few Chinese on bicycles… And an open bus full of people with cameras. And then, finally, came a group of runners with a young girl in the middle of them; she was carrying the Olympic torch. The crowd cheered. More red flags. And then more buses, more runners, more police motorcycles, and more Chinese people.
Then, gradually, the crowds dispersed like a bad smell. And then it started raining.
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