“Call of Terror”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

USA.
Auburn, New York
4:12 am.
January 9, 1955.

The brass ringer bell on our rotary phone screams and screams and screams outside my bedroom door.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

I’m in deep sleep.

Ring. Ring Ring.

I am only 14.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Old enough to know only bad comes with a call in the black of night.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

I’m into horror movies.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

I am terrified.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Slapping bare feet rip down the wooden hallway.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Total silence.

A mind-piercing scream rips through my bedroom door. I leap from my sheets. I tear open my door. I’m face to face with my Mother. Wracking in tears. Sucking for air. Eyes wide with terror.

“Maudie”, Mom gasps. The hospital. Her five-month old daughter. Dead. I wrap my arms around Mom’s heaving, sagging shoulders. Mom and I cry.

Please Lord. There is an order to birth. An order to death. Our children are not to die first.

A jet black old rotary in an antique store in Buenos Aires evokes a 50 year old painful memory of an ice cold January morning in upstate New York and the value of life.

“Rowdy Old Bottle Bar”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

The joint’s been quiet for 3 hours.

Exit was an inebriated mass.

Sloshes of beer lay soaked in mops
Old oak tables upturned
Broken chairs stacked in trash cans
Sharp broken glass swept into dust pans
Whift of rancid sweat hung in the corners
The stink of warm booze hung everywhere.

14 large screen tv’s
All black.

Boca Juniors victory in futbol
Only matched by its raucous fans.

As Argentina’s most internationally famous professional team, the team’s fame is matched by its rowdy fans. At La Bombonera stadium these crazy Boca Fans are nicknamed La Doce. The 12th player because of their loud and distracting presence.

The large fan base of these hooligans number 60,000+. There are only 49,000 seats in the famed La Bombonera stadium.

On game day, thousands of energetic La Doce pour into bars. The bars pour back. Chants echo off walls. Drums pound. Flags wave. Packed bars going bananas.

It’s Boca Juniors game day!

“Juniors Win!”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

Like a roaring tornado, the passion and excitement rips through Buenos Aires.

From rooftops, windows, doorways, busses, bicycles and bars, town criers abound.

Sweaty and bloody, Boca Juniors, Argentina’s internationally famous professional futbol team, has won another rough game against one of it’s arch rivals, River Plate.

The wild parties are underway!

Argentina: “Italian Tap”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

From only six feet away I hypnotically watched the tan pointed Italian shoe anxiously move up and down. The seated young man’s movements were putting me into a trance. A weird mental state. From his outdoor cafe chair, he scanned the woman’s store fronts of fashion around him.

Tap. Tap. Tap.
Was he on drugs?

Tap. Tap. Tap.
Was he waiting for a drop?

Tap. Tap. Tap.
What was up?
Scan the store fronts again.

Tap. Tap. Tap.
Look up.
Look down.

Tap. Tap. Tap.
A lanky red head, in a red mini at upper thigh hovering on top of 6” spikes, walked up to him carrying four shopping bags. He stood. They held hands. Walked away. Interesting to watch a man while his gal is shopping for women’s clothes.

“What The Hell Is This?”

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ARGENTINA. Through Harold’s Lens:

The 82-year old retired language Professor folded his Buenos Aires Herald to Page 6.

Staring quizzically at the headline he mumbled “what is this?

Headline: AISI by Rodrigo Fernandez.

Paragraph 1: IMOC ADN PPL PMIGBOM. KWIN. TARFU. WDYT. TTUL. FTF.

Paragraph 2 (Translation): “As I See It by Rodrigo Fernandez. In my considered opinion, any day now, people will put their mind in gear before opening mouth. Know what I mean? Things are really fouled up. What do you think? Talk to you later. Face to face is best”.

Frowning, the old man muttered “has today’s generation lost their ability to talk to each other face to face?

You know, it happened to math skills when calculators came out. Bummer!

Nothing like the romance and imagination that comes from flowing Spanish words printed on newsprint that I can smell, crinkle, linger over and fold with my hands.”

“Dear John”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

Deep in thought, pen poised, Camila begins to write.

“Santiago, you have been on my mind for days. I have tossed and turned with conflicted thoughts. A relationship is built on trust. You told me you ‘were not married’. Later, you are ‘filing for divorce’. You told me your age. An over-the-shoulder look of your Driver’s License showed me you are much older. Nights we had a date. You never showed. ‘Wrong number’ calls on your cell phone. I try to discuss this with you. You just stare at the tv. Even the commercials. Yes, you got sex. I hoped that wasn’t all you wanted. Lies are not the way to start a real relationship. Trust is gold. My trust of you is in complete breakdown. Whatever you say now, I will always have doubts. Goodbye Santiago.”

Observation from the next patio table.

“Sexy Wrap”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

Blackness enveloped our private cabin deep in the Argentina woods.

Soft pine branches brushed the roof. Candles flickered their specs of light off a crushed leather sofa. Pine logs crackled in the fireplace.

The soft, soothing sounds of Love Me Tender. The King!

I sat on the warm animal skin rug in front of the glow. A bottle of red. Uncorked. Two crystal wine glasses. Where were you?

Slowly, from the darkened doorway, your long tanned legs first appeared. Barefoot. Slinking, you walked towards me. Arms surrounding a tan, deeply furred wrap across your bare upper body. Yellow necklace tucked into cleavage.

Slowly you sat down besides me.

Fade to black.

“Snappy You”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

I know you well, beautiful.

You dream of strolling through the sumptuous markets of fabrics and fashion.

Down the exotic avenues of boutiques filled with fibers to snuggle, wear and wrap around your body.

Floating in a world of exotic fibers of the most varied origin.

Delicious Latin men turn their heads.

The sexy Tango on the corner summons your presence.

Buenos Aires beckons you.

Selected as the main photograph by poet Felicity Ann Mcinnes in her sensuous poetry series “The Lusts of Man”.

“Rawhide”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

Armoas of rich, subtle leather products surround me.

Leather stores by the hundreds.

Leather products by the thousands.

Rainbows after rainbows of multiple colors. Full-grain. Top-grain. Corrected-grain. Split. Buckskin. Patent. Vachetta. Slink. Deerskin. Nubuck and Napa.

Boots to the knee, bags off the shoulder, jackets slim and snug, pants hugging buns, skirts swishing air, totes, backpacks, belts, wallets, pouches… all sanded, buffed or snuffed.

A world capital of leather.

“You dashing dude you”, Rita said as I strutted away in my new custom leather jacket.

“Mallet Memories”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

Polo match sounds, sights and smells grip my senses.

The huge vista of the polo field unfolds before my eyes. Green turf closely mowed.

Bright white wooden tables, chairs and tents stream along the sidelines.

Beautiful rich women abound. Floppy brimmed hats everywhere.

A young brunette, kicks off her black spikes. Sits. She crosses her long smooth tanned legs under a tight silky black skirt that rises well above mid thigh. The whift of intoxicating perfume wafts in the air.

Hustling tall trim men wearing creased cream slacks and snug blue blazers hug around. Right arms bent holding glass stems.

Pop! Pop! Corks fly. Champagne bubbles.

Smiling. Chatting. Hugging. Kissing.

Powerful polo ponies thunder high-speed down the polo field. Hooves flying. Dirt divots hang in mid air.

Aggressive and skillful testosterone laden macho men grip the animal’s reins.

Colorful hard wooden mallets wildly swing against the royal blue sky. Thwack!

Fast passes rip a white ball down the field. Smack! Winning goal. Chukker ends.

Pumped egos dismount from sweat stained saddles.

Nothing like the Sport of Kings in Buenos Aires.

Argentina: “By Request”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

Strolling the sidewalk, my wife Rita said, “Harold, look at the pretty woman”.

A few wives do that you know.

Rapidly swinging my lens 180 degrees, I fired off a slew of images. Click, click, click, click, click.

Damn, what a face!

I asked Pretty Woman if it was ok that I took photographs of her. Told her I would not sell them.

She purred “sure”.

“OK Harold, time to go”, Rita said.

Being a travel photographer is tough.

“‘Round And ‘Round”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

“Want to play around?”, she coos in your ear.

Only in this wild, funky, music saturated town, where the jest and the joke are commonplace, are you musically and mischiefly entertained by a pair of 33s dangling off a pretty woman’s neck.

What a sassy town!

“Tacking Up”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

The rusted weathered barn door creaks open.

The old Gaucho hears the snort from Old Paint’s stall.

Barn dust and bits of hay flutter through shafts of light from the holes in the roof.

Time for tacking up Old Paint for another five-day ride on La Pampas searching for lost cattle.

The old Gaucho slowly shuffles to the tack room. Rough, gnarled hands fumble through fifty-six years of jumbled, worn, stained tack hanging from paint peeling wooden pegs; saddles, stirrups, halters, bridles, hackamores, reins, bits, harnesses, breastplates, martingales, spurs, hoof boots and horseshoes.

Old Paint holds his head up. Snorts again.

“Cut ‘em out”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

After years of hugging the horn of a sweaty leather saddle, dust, dirt, grass, sand and roping the thick necks of bulls on the rich Argentina plain known as La Pampas, the Gaucho’s dear old weathered friend comes home to rest at the end of the ride.

“Big Chill”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

“-18 degrees”, they had said.

“45 mph winds blowing from the Northeast”.

Alone, out on the Argentina La Pampas, broad-brimmed leather hat brim bowed low over his bushy moustache against the biting, blowing snow, the old grey-haired Gaucho slowly plowed through the deep drifts on horseback. Warm wool pancho trying to protect his wrinkled body.

“Damn, seven cattle still missing, the aging Gaucho said to himself.” “I’m an old throwback.”

“All the other Gauchos drive around in warm trucks looking for their cattle.

Maybe the thrill has gone.

“Wrap Em”

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ARGENTINA. Through Harold’s Lens:

Clouds of dust flying from the pounding hoofs of the galloping horse, the macho moustached Gaucho rips across the rich Argentina plain known as La Pampas.

A spooked wild animal tears ahead of him!

Rapidly swinging the bolas throwing weapon above his head, the Gaucho lets the bolas fly entangling the captured animal’s legs.

Made by braiding leather cords and attaching balls at the end of the cords, a bolas is a throwing weapon most famously used by gauchos in South America.

“What’s Up?”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

Sunday.

Streets are closed to auto traffic in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of San Telmo.

It’s a bizarre time!

Artisans, musicians, street performers and antique vendors from near and far are here to share their treasures and their talents with the public.

People of all nationalities are wandering, walking, strolling, gawking. It’s a unique and alluring experience.

Over here, there’s something weird happening.

Over there, what is that woman doing?

Where’s the reggae music coming from?

Sundays in San Telmo just go with the flow.

“Salesman’s Pitch”

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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:

Smooth talking he was.

He had courted Mr. Potential Client for weeks.

Today was another wet lunch with Mr. Potential Client.

Finally, with a firm voice and direct eye contact, the salesman said with a determined pitch and promise “I can save your company’s advertising budget 30%”.

Mr. Potential Client believed him, until he glanced at the attitude of his left hand.