Published: February 22nd 2010
February 21st 2010
Belgrano Train Station C
The building right there is the start of Chinatown.
Three weeks now. I am filled with a clash of emotions, I feel that I have been here for so long. Because I have had so many new experiences but then I am realized I am only just scratched the surface on my time here. Time is moving both slowly and quickly at the same time if that makes any sense at all. I have really have accomplished a lot here, my Spanish has significantly improved. I am now holding my own in the conversations at the dinner table. There is so much cultural exchange that happens during this meetings. Even if it is just learning a couple of new words or phrases or talking about football(soccer in the states) with Hugo. I get so much from these experiences. I have realized that in order to find my way into these conversations I need to try to isolate one of the family members and get talking to them. Then it is easier to find my way around, I can pretty much get my point across. One of my favorite skills I have acquired is being able to talk around a word. If I don't know the word exactly in
Spanish I have the ability, probably more so the confidence, to use words I do know and hand gestures or what have you to get find the word. And then I know it. There is just an indescribable amount of learning going on everyday, it is quite tiring but I am sure I will survive :). Onto some of the anecdotes that I feel are worthy of this illustrious blog. ja ja ja(thats what they use for ha ha ha down here) Thought I would throw a bit of culture at ya!
From where I left you last time I was once again planning on a trip to Tigre on Saturday. That plan once again fell through unfortunately apparently it was raining but I saw no rain that day. Who knows though. I was left once again with a gleaming wide-open Saturday. I made up for the cancellation with another beautiful day exploring the city. I met up with some friends at around two thirty and we decided that we wanted to explore the downtown area called Micro-Centro. The photos that were posted on my last blog were from that day exploring the obelisk and Puerto Madero. It was a
beautiful day even though the sky was veiled with clouds. That day I continued to be blown away by the diversity of this city and all it has to offer. I love the mix of European and South American culture and architecture. One of my friends put it like this “If Europe and South America were to have a baby, it would be Buenos Aires.” That statement couldn’t be more true. I am able to see this mix of heritages in all the people down here, ranging from dark to light skin and all different shapes and sizes. Amazing. That night my friends and I went out to celebrate Valentine’s Day and met three very nice Portenas(Buenos Aires girls). It was an amazing opportunity to practice my Spanish while allowing them to practice their English. Ended up being a very fruitful cultural exchange.
On Monday I had one of the best nights of my time in Buenos Aires thus far. That day I had a Spanish test which I did really well on(quite proud of myself). That night we went to a local attraction called La Bomba de Tiempo. Which is a music group of around 12-14 people, that all
The one we took looked similar to those.
play drums every Monday Night. The following is an adapted version of my journal entry that I hope can paint the picture or as Tim O’brien states it in his book allow you to dream when you are awake and truly feel the way I felt. Bueno, let’s begin shall we?
Walking in River Buenos Aires.
“We met up at seven, the three of us Brandon, Adam, and Daniel. Right in front of the McDonalds two blocks away from my apartment. We exchanged kisses on the cheeks (a local custom here in Buenos Aires) then shot the shit for a brief moment before we descended into the Subte. After an unusually long ride on the Subte we exit and hit the ground surface. The sky is on fire! The boldest red streaked with light bands of white. Didn’t think colors like that existed in this city. Reminded me of the brilliant sunsets back in Colorado. After walking two blocks in the wrong direction we turn 180 and are back on the right track. Before getting to the venue we decide a couple of brews are in order we run by a convenience store(kiosco here), grab a liter of Heiniken for
$8 pesos. On the way in we met two more friends, Jerry and Troy. We all went in as a crew but quickly split up. 20 pesos for the ticket, pretty affordable I think, I could do this every week. I hear the drums echoing off the white concrete walls and feel a deep unyielding desire to dance, and I did. Oh how I did. Stomping my feet to the unified sounds of drums. La Bomba was standing on the stage all in red sleeveless shirts and pants. One of them would stand at the front and act as the Maestro directing the music, using all of the instruments to their full potential. When you dance that hard there is tribal feeling almost like meditation. Everything just falls away. I think that’s why I love it so much. It is honestly just you and the music, close your eyes and the everyone in the room disappears and you can be free to move however you feel. My heart, feet, and mind were moving in harmony to the sound of the drums. In these moments all my badness and malcontent came off of me some into the earth with my stomping
feet and the rest exiting through my pours. Simply transcendental. The music ended and I was hot and tired. We exited the building to step into ankle deep water. The heavens had opened one of my friends joked, “I WAS dancing the raindance”. Another curtain of rain had fallen over the city. Huge droplets of rain splashed all around me and we decided that we could make a run to the Subte station. The city had literally stopped; there were no cars on the side streets. We ran right down the center of a street laughing the entire time it was such a beautiful rain after an amazing night of music. We caught the last subway back to 9 de Julio which is still quite a distance away from the house. From this point on the night only got wilder. We decided to catch a cab back to our neighborhood because you could die waiting for a bus late at night in this city especially in the rain. The four of us got into the cab told the driver our destination. The traffic was just miserable for being midnight on Monday. Get got us to about thirty blocks away from
our house and stopped and said he could go no further. I didn’t understand why but I soon found out. As we walked towards home on Sante Fe the water on the streets was over the curb and covering most of the sidewalks in three inches of water. We pressed on, already completely soaked, couldn’t get anymore wet at this point. We advanced to find that streets had turned to rivers with currents and whitewater. All the rainwater was trying to find a way to the river and the sewers simply couldn’t handle it anymore like a mass of people rushing toward the exit of a building. The water just kept getting deeper soon we were walking down the middle of Sante Fe a pretty significant Avenue in the center, holding onto a rope in thigh deep water. As the few drivers in their cars passed us a wave would roll and crest and break right into us. We talked and laughed with city workers as we trudged through the water. They told us “Welcome to Buenos Aires” the scene is truly indescribable. One of my friends took videos of it and I hope to post it soon to show
all of you. Brown water subsided soon and instead of taking a bus home we decided to cap the night off with a twenty-minute walk home soaking shoes and all. This is a night I will remember for my entire life I am sure of that.”
Hope you enjoyed that. I would love to tell the story to all of you individually but I hope my writing does it justice.
This weekend I had two excursions that were both fun in their own regard. Saturday we went to Dia de el Campo, which was basically just a day on an Argentine ranch. If you look at the included pictures you can see what it looked like. We played a couple of games native to Argentina and I rode a horse that didn’t want to go as fast as I did. I had my first Asado experience, which is like a barbeque in the states. I tried all sorts of meats, most of which I didn’t know what part of a cow they came for. In that regard ignorance is truly bliss. One of my goals for this trip was to break out of my picky eater habit. So far
I have been successful in this goal. This day was extremely relaxing and it was nice to get a break from the city. Although I love being here it gets a little overwhelming and tiring. I have never been in an urban environment for this long without seeing a big sky that is definitely one of the things I miss most my beautiful mountains on a bluebird day with white puffy clouds floating by. Ahhhh. That is pretty much all I have to say about that day, I will let my pictures do the rest of the talking.
As of now, I have just arrived home from Tigre, Yes I finally went after a long period of waiting. We were with a relatively small group. I was really content with that fact because it allowed me to not feel like such a tourist. We took the train there which only takes thirty minutes. Tigre is an area were a lot of wealthy people have summer or weekend homes and it is a delta community. There are so many houses on the river. We took a boat tour for an hour on the rivers and saw so many little houses
right off the river. There are no roads or bridges so all the transportation is done by boat. Instead of a grocery store they have a grocery boat that comes to people’s houses individually to deliver food and water. It was a unique experience another thing that I had never seen before. After the boat tour we had time to wander the market there, which was teeming with artisan good. I had lunch at a restaurant there with my friend Devin and paid 15 American dollars for a Stella Artois and Steak(pictured) it was my first real Argentine steak sweet lord it was worth every penny. So tender and juicy, I will be consuming many more of these tasty temptations. After the market we went and had a snack at a restaurant at a restaurant right on the river plate. We could see the city in the distance from the grassy lawn. There were kite boarders literally flying in the strong winds. It was my first real good view of the river, which I think is less like a river and more like a bay because you certainly cannot see across the other side. But that may be just splitting
hairs. I took a moment here to sit by myself and really soak in what was happening.
I am so blessed to be here was a reoccurring thought it my mind. I have been granted such an amazing opportunity here. First of all I was filled with gratitude to my wonderful parents who made it possible for me to go on this trip. It is still hard to find words strong enough to show my appreciation. I hope that my stories about my time here show them that I am making the most of the my time here and take advantage of every moment to experience the world in a new way. I will never forget the sacrifices they have made for me to come down here. Never. Continuing I am going to continue to push myself in school and life. I want so much more! I have learned so much already and am capable of so much more. I will never stop! In that regard I am comparable to a sham wow(yes I truly just compared my self to a item on a T.V. infomercial) Its the truth though I continue to absorb new information whether it be through
Spanish class, cultural exchanges in the community, or through the various books I have read down here. I am striving with a fervent passion and exuberance for life like I have never felt before. I can do anything.
St. Ignatius Loyola said “Go forth and set the world on fire.” That is a quote that I keep fresh in my mind during my journeys, I fully intend to.
Thanks to everyone for their support and comments you are the fuel for my fire,
Bueno Chau Chau,
There are more photos below