Of the wonderous phenomenon of temporary living spacesPosted: March 26, 2011
I have spent a handful of late nights sitting, along with a crowd of others, around a long, low, wooden coffee table in a place fondly referred to by residents and visitors as Casa Pasco.
Casa Pasco is a sort of half-apartment, half-hostel. Owned by an Argentinian young man it’s really two, very old French-style brownstones which share a large terrace. What you see above is the glorious view you get if you look up from the terrace at night. The place is pretty run down and dirty but entirely functional and the mild disrepair contributes to its charm. The ashtrays on the coffee table are always over-flowing. There are empty liters of beer cluttered together on the floor and the counter tops. Dishes are often stacked in the sink. The tile on the floor is badly scratched but I think original. My guess is the place was built sometime in the early 20th century. French doors, balconies, marble staircases.
I don’t really know how many bedrooms there are in Casa Pasco, but I’d venture somewhere around ten, plus three kitchens and a few common areas. The bedrooms are rented by travelers who plan to spend more time in Buenos Aires than would merit hostel accommodations but less time than a traditional lease would require. The residents come from all over the place. I’m never clear, when I’m sitting around the aforementioned coffee table at some odd hour of the morning, who actually lives there and who’s just present for the party. On an average Friday night there are usually at least three languages spoken. The crowd is often composed of a handful of Americans, some French women, a Brazilian or two, an English man, a Bolivian, four or five Colombians, three or four porteños and two cats. The make-up can always change though because Casa Pasco is, more than anything, a meeting place for the young, itinerant population of Buenos Aires. This makes it a kind of magical place, a weird sort of liminal space in which time dissipates slowly in the air, mingling with cigarette smoke and late-night laughter. (I am aware of how ridiculous and trite this may sound, but can think of no other way to describe it.) I love Casa Pasco. It is the sort of spot where you are distinctly aware of the temporary, the ephemeral; where the energy and absurdity of youth and travel serve as a constant milieu. Its a no-place, which makes it the perfect place, to sit around a coffee table in a smokey room and talk about anything or nothing into the very early hours of the morning.