Page 5 of CStephens Travel Blog Posts

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Tigre July 28th 2015

For our last day in Buenos Aires, we spent it...not in Buenos Aires. We went out to El Tigre, which is the town where the Paraná River meets the River Plate. The delta is impressive, with a bunch of inhabited islands and murky brown waters that are actually clean enough to swim in. The color comes from the silt carried downstream. The island inhabitants are mostly disconnected and lead a very different lifestyle. Most of their houses look like those "mini-houses" you see online, with only a room or two of space and just very efficient use of what they have. Trash boats come around every few days to pick up whatever they've created, and supermarket boats make regular trips. Medical boats with a physical therapist, a dentist, and a general practitioner also make rounds, and ... read more
Library or museum? I forget, but it's beautiful
Cool bird sculptures on a dock
One of the many houses

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires July 27th 2015

And with that, we're done (with classes). We graduated today, if you'd like to call it that. Truly what it was is we went in, filled out a survey on how it all went, talked with our classes for a couple hours, and then received our evaluations (not our final grades, per se, but more like how we did in the class. Our actual grades are more based on effort so as long as that's reflected, you're good) and diplomas. And free food. Which is always good. After that, a couple of us went to change money one last time so we have enough in Patagonia, then we all split up to go get our laundry done and start packing. I, as per the usual, went for a run first. Then laundry, hanging out, and dinner. ... read more

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires July 26th 2015

Mother nature must hate us. After a gorgeous day Friday and then horrible weather for the ranch, she gave us our best day yet (yes, better than Friday) today. Cloudless, mid-60s, and not too humid. We all took advantage of the opportunity to sleep in for a bit. I went for a run around the nature reserve again, and honestly don't comprehend how people were wearing parkas. It was hot enough that I wanted to take off my shirt. I would have even considered swimming if 1) I had anything and 2) I wasn't unsure about the water safety. In the early afternoon, we went to the San Telmo fair, where we tried to go last week and failed because we walked down a street that was also a street fair. We almost failed this week ... read more
The city from the reserve in the evening

South America » Argentina July 25th 2015

Technically speaking, we were in Capilla del Señor, not Luján, today. But that wasn't an option, so Luján it is, as the closest. We spent most of the day at a ranch (estancia) called Don Silvano. It's clearly built for tourists more than actual ranch work; they even have an on-site hotel and a couple swimming pools, but it was still a cool place to visit. Although it was sad, because, as I mentioned, yesterday was gorgeous, as today was supposed to be. It was not. The day started with a couple empanadas and wine, which isn't a bad way to start. There were several things we could do after, including explore, play bocce, zipline, or wait in line to ride the horses. We did the latter. Mistake. We were waiting for almost 2 hours, and ... read more
Sarah's horse just wanted grass
We're on horses!
I'm freakishly tall

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires July 24th 2015

Instead of classes today, we went to La Rural exhibition. It was an exhibition of, as you might expect, rural Argentina. So really, it just felt like home. Cows, goats, sheep, chickens, and tractors. Although it was cool, I think that four hours may have been a bit too much time there; we exhausted the whole thing with about an hour left. That said, I still enjoyed seeing the animal judging and really just the sheer quantity of animals there. Also, the cheese and sweets were insanely good. After the exhibition, Serena and I hung around in the area for a couple hours. We were up near El Parque Tres de Febrero, a big park with a few lakes, a rose garden (currently mostly empty, because, even though it was about 65o today, it is still ... read more
This guy was loud
Look at that face and gizzard
Bad hairday?

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires July 23rd 2015

Today was our last day of classes in the school. We finished out the projects with a conversation on folklore and food, so that was pretty cool. Apparently, sharing yerba mate - the traditional Argentine tea, which looks nothing at all like what Americans think of as tea - has a lot of very strict rules. After dinner, we went out to a bar called Basa, which was very cool. All the seating in the dining room was on couches and low-set, the bar was in a basement, and the drinks were delicious and crafted. It was somewhat funny, as several people got angsty about the "high" cost of the drinks, which hovered between AR$80 and 140. Even at those prices, the blue dollar makes them cost between U$S 5 and 10, the higher end of ... read more

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires July 22nd 2015

Another day of classes and projects, so, in all honesty, this will likely not be an excessively long post. But I did promise updates for every day, so here they are! There was nothing too exciting today; we talked in class, finished the textbook we were working from, and learned a bit about everything from the projects. At night, though, we did have a bit more fun, going back to Jobs Bar where the pool tables and games all are. I played one of the people here in chess a couple times, ran through a few games of pool, checked my watch and it was 3 in the morning, and went home. There may have been a few pitchers of beer between the group of us tossed in there as well. But, to be fair, they ... read more

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires July 21st 2015

At the end of the set of cultural excursions, everyone has to give a presentation on something about Argentina/Buenos Aires. We do these in groups of 3 or 4, and can choose almost any topic. Some people are doing folklore, others public space, and others traditional music. My group chose La Boca, a specific area of Buenos Aires that is perhaps the most historical of them all. We chose this partly because arguably the most famous Argentine soccer club is based there, and one of our members is a huge soccer guy, and partly just because it's interesting. We presented today, so for our culture class, my group is pretty much done! A couple of interesting points on La Boca: it seceded from Argentina in 1882 and raised the Genoese flag. It didn't last. It was ... read more
A section of Caminito

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires July 20th 2015

Today started our final week of classes here in Buenos Aires. We "graduate" next Monday, and on Wednesday head to Patagonia for a few days. It was a relatively uneventful day, to be honest. A morning of classes, followed by our "cultural excursion." As you've probably put together, we have one of these most days. The one today was "let's go try Argentine pizza for lunch." Yes, a pizza parlor was actually on the itinerary as a cultural excursion. I shan't complain. The pizzas here would actually probably be pretty popular with my white-pizza loving friends. They're almost always thick crust, which I don't usually love, but they make pretty good crusts. The typical Argentina pizza is called fugazza, or fugazzeta. Fugazza is a thick-crust pizza with, as far as I can tell, no tomato sauce, ... read more

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires July 19th 2015

After hitting the sack at 11:30 last night, due to exhaustion from the day, I was happy to have a slow, quiet day on Sunday. I woke up relatively early for a weekend - about 8:30 - and spent some time posting blogs for the last few days, watching a couple movies, and just hanging out. Round about noon, I went out for a run. It's funny running here, for two reasons. First, it's not really a thing that people do except for in parks. I'm pretty sure they either live near parks or take the subte there, because I've seen about 5 runners, including myself and running buddies, on the street. Ever. The sidewalks aren't wide for a major city, and Argentines, as nice as they are as people, are beyond inept at making adequate ... read more

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