Argenina, mi amor!
I can now say that I am celebrating the end of the last Midterm before Spring Break, wooohooo!!!! And this time, the celebration includes URUGUAY: Montevideo, Punta del Diablo, Cabo Polonia, y Piriapolis. (: with Sandra, Jordan, Alex, Grace, and Jas and her cousin.
So far, so good with the two months in Buenos Aires, there might have been some ups and downs, mainly due to illness… fever, cold, congestion, excess sneezing, overflow of phlegm and headaches. All in all, the experience here has not been bad at all. It’s just that I can’t believe the time is going by so fast and the money is running like water (not an important fact, but my budget planning is too soft– I just want to buy everything!).
1) Yerba mate is a ritual, building social ties and strengthening relationship… and on top of it, the tea tastes super good., though it can taste like Chinese herbal medicine.
2) The people here are friendly, depending on their mood, but most of the time, people here are very nice and very helpful. Same goes for anybody and any where in the world, I believe.
3) I live really close to the city center, walking distance to just about anywhere, other than far out into Palermo or Belgrano. It’s usually 30 minutes walk or more… not bad in my standard, because I’m also lacking exercise since I have been there so walking everywhere makes up for it.
4) Transportation is available but finding bus stop that goes the right direction is a hard one. I stick to the basics, as long as I get home fine, I’m okay. Sometimes taking a cab isn’t that bad, for safety reasons.
5) Amazing grafetti everywhere in the city, though sometimes not as pleasant.
6) I love love the architecture here, especially in the neighborhood of San Telmo.
7) The ferias are definitely a favorite to go, always something to or something to watch. Last week, I met up with a friend from UAB and went to the Recoleta feria and saw a Brazil show (not exactly sure what it was…it was dancing combined with comedy). It was a good show but it would have been greater if I can understand most of it… all spoken in Spanish. San Telmo feria is another one of my favorite. Also the fair at Tigre was good, we didn’t have enough time there so I definitely want to go back.
8) Kiosko visiting might be an addiction for most. I have had this problem but I have been told. It’s a little convenient store where you can grab and go sandwiches, ice cream, chips, candy bars, candy, gum, drinks, and even alcohol (I think). Most of them are open for 24 hours and closed on holidays (maybe). I don’t visit them often but I felt the need to mention this little amenities of Buenos Aires.
9) The city never has a dull moment, unless you are a boring person. There is always something to do during the day and into the night and early morning.
10) I heard… I heard that most people here have maids. They come either once a week to the houses and clean or some is once a month, depending on the household.
11) They always like to help but even when they are wrong. They still felt inclined to do so. For example, giving direction when they don’t really know if it’s right.
12) Very lax attitude towards time and planning… it’s frustrating to me in the beginning but I have slowly adjusted to it. My only fear now is bringing this back to the states with me. I know it won’t work with the pace there… cultural reversal shock?
13) Grabbing an apple from the Verduria is a must. It’s always on the way to school and on the way back. In fact, it is right around the corner from me. I will miss the most from this trip is the ability to pick up fresh veggies and fruits whenever I want. I am definitely taking advantage of it every chance I get.
14) The meat here is top notch, no doubt and no regret. It’s the best ever! Even without seasoning nor salt, it is tasty. Asado, ohmylandta, it’s mouth-watering. Though asado usually takes about 4 hours, it’s definitely worth the time spent. (Asado is known as BBQ)
15) Seeing the Obelisco, or the Washington Monument as we like to call it, every day while walking to school… it’s like the lighthouse that guides me home. It’s weird reference but that’s how I felt. I always figure my way home if I see this structure.
16) Tango is an art, for sure. We went and watched a choreographed Tango show, though I don’t prefer this form as much, I still enjoy the beauty and passion behind it. The milonga visit though was a good experience; not only did we get to dance ourselves, we also got to watch the pros at work! And oh my, they were amazing and had so much fluidity in each single step they took. And not to mention, the music… it sets you freeeeeeeeeeee!
17) It’s very common here for a plan to not follow through, I don’t dig, but I can hang. It’s part of accepting a culture. It was definitely challenging at first but now, I learned and adapted.
18) Common gestures for words: the back hand under the chin slide means “I don’t know” or “what.” The index finger on one hand to the palm of the other means “one moment, please.” Also at a restaurant, putting your hands up and motion a pen writing means you want your check.
19) Things to say: “Permiso” to pass someone. “Perdon” to apologize for unintentional incident or sometimes intentional– “lo siento” is not very common here. “Gracias” to someone passing a yerba mate to you means you don’t want anymore. “Gracias” to a mozo/a means you don’t want change back. “Dale” is very common here… it simply means let’s go, go ahead, or okay. “Baja” is something they would ask you on the subte or colectivo… asking you if you are going to get off the subway or bus because you are in their way out of the vehicle (haha, though most nicely put than how I have it written).
20) Medialunas plus a cafe con leche is a typically breakfast for people.
21) Submarino is the bomb! It is hot milk and adds a bar of chocolate (to your choice) mixed– so yummy!
22) Clothes are relatively cheap, though I would categorize them as expensive and of poor quality, not all but that’s the items I have seen so far.
23) I find my Chinese to be super helpful here, though maybe I shouldn’t rely too heavily on it.
24) Salta y Jujuy is the best trip I will ever take in my life, though I got sick because I was miserable from high altitude sickness and its dryness.
25) Iguazu Fall is a sight to behold, a must see and a must go, through rain and cold… It is definitely worth it. The ending was perfected by a boat ride under the Fall. If you must, if you want to buy souvenir, buy it at the store at the entry/starting point, beyond that the other ones suck and are over priced. By poncho if you must, but you will get no matter what…
26) Walk fast or you will get trampled, haha, just kidding… I think I just tend to walk faster than necessary. You know I’m always on a secret mission… shhhh!
27) There are random concerts, free, everywhere in the city. You just have to keep an ear open.
28) Yes, you can get lost in this city but you can always find your way back to something of familiarity.
29) Yes, it’s dangerous but it’s like everywhere in the world. You just have to play your smart and not be stupid. Be cautious at all times, they do have a lot of pocket-pickers here, especially on subte or colectivos when you are all squished together and also a big crowd walking through the calles. At night mostly, the streets are dead and never smart to walk alone, take a cab if you must. There are buses but they take forever to come, unless you are THAT lucky. Subte opens at 6:00 but closes at 20:30. There are a lot of people sleeping on the streets… not all are dangerous but you can never be too careful.
*FACT: one of the guys in the program got held at gun point and basically robbed; fortunately, he is all safe, just lost some pesos. A guy in my program saw a man snatching a necklace right off another man’s neck and ran off. A girl who was walking on a street with me got pick-pocketed and lost her phone and some pills. A girl who was walking on a street with another girl in the program close to Florida saw an old man getting beat up and robbed. The robber just jumped on an accomplice’s motorcycle and they sped off. Police can over and said there is nothing he can do…
*LESSON: it is the same everywhere. It could happen anywhere. The matter is you. If you take care of yourself, you will be alright. Yes, I am paranoid about these things but I know that as long as I don’t do stupid things I will be safe and I will be okay.
30) I saved the best for last: No way to the hot dogs in the states anymore, a favorite called CHORIPAN has taken over the world! This is something you should definitely try… adding the chimichurri o salsa criolla!
The list, of course, goes on and on, but the matter is I can’t think of much any more. I will make other posts as time goes on. As for restaurant recommendation, you should check the tabs on the top of the Home page.
Cheers to the 2 months in Buenos Aires, I will probably celebrate it over Chinese food (this place on Sarmiento 2015 has the best Chinese food of Buenos Aires as far as I can tell)… Sickness calls for soup and familiarity, so I have noticed. Let’s celebrate! =)