As you know, I went down with my camera and video camera to capture all that was happening at the Casa Rosada and put it up on my blogsite. But there is a second part to all this, after coming back to my apartment to edit the footage and write the blog I actually went back again to the Casa Rosada to line up to view the body of the president that was lying in state.
It was about 11:30 in the morning when I arrived back at the Plaza and the lineups were insane. What you saw on the video was only the tip of the iceberg. The lineups went from one end of the city to the other. Originally when I asked how long the wait in the lineup would be I was told 2 hrs. That turned out to be a SEVERE miscalculation. It would be actually 9:30 at night before I actually reached the Casa Rosada.
Many times during the lineup I really wanted to leave. But I had to keep telling myself that this will happen only once in my life and I don't want to regret for the rest of my life that I had the chance to be a part of history but I didn't because I was tired. It is not often that you get to be a part of something that everyone else gets to see only by watching the news. It would be an experience in itself and something that I would be able to talk about for years to come.
Being in the lineup itself was an experience. There were vendors walking up and done past the line of people calling out "Ice cream! Drinks! Sandwiches!" and selling food and drink to people in the lineup. As well there were people selling flags and patriotic items with pictures of Nestor & Cristina as well. Amongst the items being offered were also roses available for purchase that people could lay at the Casa Rosada when people reached there.
It truly was amazing to see how many people were willing to turn up at wait 10 hrs in line just for those few moments where they were able to pay their respects. 10hrs in line may seem long and it was long but I can tell you that time goes by alot faster when there is a high spirit of patriotism in the air and people are singing and chanting. And before I knew it, I found myself ushered by security to the front entrance of the Casa Rosada.
The presidential palace never looked so beautiful as it did that nite. It looked proud & strong, like the spirit of the people in this country. As I entered in, there were hundreds of gigantic boughs of flowers that were sent by ambassadors from different countries and organizations in and out of Argentina.
The lineup moved at a moderate pace. Every so often the line up would stop and I could hear cries and applause coming from ahead of me. People were exclaiming "Cristina! Fuerza Cristina! Strength Cristina!" followed by a round of applause. I could not see what was ahead of me so I didn't know what was happening......until I reached the main hall.
In the main hall there were a multitude of diplomats. In the centre of the hall was a closed coffin and there beside the coffin dressed in black was Cristina Kirchner herself. People were being ushered quickly through the hall but just before being leaving the hall, they would take a second to speak words of strength to the president and applause for her. It was really touching to see the people's efforts at consoling Cristina :)
I was in that hall for about 30 secs before being ushered out but those 30 secs were worth those 10 hrs in the lineup. Sometimes when you watch the news, it is easy to become desensitized and not realize that these events are real. But when I saw that coffin and Cristina dressed in black with glasses, it really does hit home all that is happening in this country.
And I wasn't the only one who felt that way, many Argentines began bursting into tears the moment they exited the Casa Rosada. Argentines are not your stereotypical latinos and are actually not prone to dramatic displays of emotion. So to witness them beginning to cry uncontrollably the moment they got into the open air again upon exiting the presidential palace is really something else.
I will end this blog by saying that we need to give honor where honor is due. Many tourist are coming to Argentina now and enjoying the benefits of this wonderful country. What many tourist and visitors do not know is that this country would be a very different place without Nestor Kirchner and his presidency. It was his leadership that made the difference between life and death in the area of politics & economy here in this country. None of us would be enjoying all that we are enjoying right now without the sacrifice of this great man. For him, I would gladly have waited in line a week.....
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"The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases." Proverbs 21:1
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