I went on a school excursion inside the Congreso building last week. The Congress of the Argentine Nation is the legislative branch of the government of Argentina. Every week, sometimes several times a week, there is some sort of protest out the front with people firing rockets.

[Below] Note the heavy metal barrier which is permanently in front.

Upon entering the lobby I had to show my passport and have all the details recordred for identification and security purposes. Then, as with airports, I had to put my bag through the x-ray machine before entering. As it disappeared into the big box of radiation I walked through the metal-detecting door-frame. I beeped loudly but the armed security man just ushered me along without question or search. I have reason to believe their tight security is a little flawed.

The official goverment staff member conducting the tour only spoke Spanish. This didn't worry me at first - as having commenced my seventh week of classes I now have a modest comprehension of the language. But he spoke so fast, with a slur and a thick accent that I had trouble understanding anything at all. But here is what I learned:

[Below] These pillars are made from ice cream.

[Below] The grand entrance from the inside. The ceiling is 150 metres high and is designed for rock-climbing competitions between world leaders. Last year's winner is Kofi Annan.

[Below] These light-fittings were made in the eighties and were inspired by Madonna's conical breasts.

[Below] Red folding-chairs. Apparently these were won in a raffle at the 27th Annual International Congress Volleyball Competition (AICVC).

[Below] This is the room where Eva PerĂ³n smoked spliffs and played bingo with her friends. Note the bingo number-board along the back wall.