The streets in Buenos Aires are cold and lonely at 3 in the morning.
A few partiers staggering and vomiting their drunken way home, homeless men and women trying to find a protected doorway to sleep in and a hooker turned newspaper vendor are the only people out. These people along with a few stray, junkyard looking dogs, show that life doesn’t move very fast at this hour.
Down by the bank steps where Juan just died last week, Carlos turns over to catch a few more moments of sleep He knows the buses will start dashing by any moment and after that sound sleep will be nothing but dreams.
Across the street and up the block is Juanita. After years of working as a hooker, she has saved up enough money to buy and open her own newsstand. Stocking everything from last months auto mags to today’s newspaper, Juanita takes pride in the 4×8 space that is hers.
McDonald’s is busy, but not with customers. People who haven’t been able to score a park bench or the steps of the bank have pooled their meager centavos and are sharing two ham biscuits with jelly and a cup of coffee. Anything at all is better than being on the concrete with an empty stomach.
The doormen of the apartment buildings lining the side streets start to come out in three hours. Their routine is to wash down the sidewalk infront of their building making sure to point the hose towards wayward leaves, cigarette butts and and anything else that landed in their domain since yesterdays daily ritual.
It all adds up to paint a fairly sad picture of the true Buenos Aires. This is an area where the tourists don’t go. You won’t find these images in the visitors guides or showing up on USATodays “Most Inviting Places to Visit”. But it’s home to Carlos, Juanita and hundreds of other people who find that the streets of Buenos Aires are cold and lonely at 3 in the morning.
Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist. Currently living and working in Argentina he focuses on social justice issues. Known internationally for capturing events in a documentary style with an eye towards the aesthetic, his work has appeared in CNN, USAToday, Huffington Post and others. A nomad at heart, he is always looking for that next gig which will take him over the next hill or around the next curve. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or visit his website, JourneyAmerica.org or email him today.
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