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South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » El Palomar
January 27th 2008
Published: January 28th 2008
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Hola mis mejores amigos! I am happy to say I have safely landed on the South American continent! Phew! It was a long haul to get here,first a 12 hour flight across the Pacific, then I had an 8 hour layover in Santiago and finally a very very bumpy, yet scenic, flight over the Andes to Argentina! Along with the extreme turbulence, it was an exciting ride because the kid next to me decided to throw up all over the seat and his dad! Awesome! I got into Buenos Aires quite late and went right to my very cool boutique hotel (that i had reserved from the airport a few hours earlier!) They didnt have my reservation, but luckily had one room left that i could take! It took me a few days to get adjusted to the time difference...jet lag is an understatement! More like mass cellular confusion! I had traveled for about 24 hours, but arrived in BA only 2 hours before I left Auckland. WHAT!?!?! And the official time difference would be 17 hours ahead, but with the date line its really only a 7 hour difference! BLAHALHA Letś just say i slept a lot the first few days!

I also want to say a quick thank you to everyone who posts comments and messages on the blog! I check it as often as my email and love to hear from everyone! I'm so glad that you are enjoying the stories (and of course there will be many more when I get home....I'll be that girl that starts every story with "when I was in >insert exotic location here>"!!) It takes me quite a bit of time to post, which is why I'm always so far behind, but if you enjoy it so much, I will try hard to keep up! (thereś a few more NZ blogs coming soon!) Only a few short months left....I´m getting sad and counting the weeks! I only have 2 more weeks until my volunteer program...6 weeks there, then 2 with megan in peru, 1 more week in chile, then HOME! Itś going to go muy rapido!!!!!!

Anyways, I rented an apartment here in the palermo neighborhood, and funny enough the hood within the hood is called palermo hollywood! Its a conglomeration of cool kitchky shops and absolutely phenomenal restaurants! the food here has been more than a surprise - its totally cheap with a classy meal, including wine and always an empenada starter, is usually under $8. The variety of restaurants is ENDLESS.....theres about 5 on every block ranging from parillas (MEAT, meat and MORE MEAT!), italian restaurants and pizzarias, to stir fry specialties and cafes of coffee and sandwiches. Of course I frequent the parillas the most, and my grasp of spanish meat names is growing by the day! The selections are miles long...and quite a few are not in my phrasebook....so I have to be careful!

Last night I went to a parilla with a new friend of mine (who i met through the aparment rental) and he ordered molleja. Ok, back up. First, he talked me into trying beef kidneys. Throughout my trip, ive been on the öpen-mind wagon, so I agreed...except when i first cut into it, i easily identified the large renal vein and artery running through the middle! Sigh, ive done too much renal surgery to be eating something like this! BUT, eat it I did, and although it was a bit "gamey" I have to say, it wasnt too bad. So next we were trying to figure out some of the english translations on the menu...and the Mollejas I mentioned earlier was translated to "sweetbread." Ignacio was cracking up because he said itś a meat, so obviously not sweet, and not a bread. So he ordered it as his meal so that I could try it and help him figure out what exactly the english translation might be. How about ¨chewy and gross...." Wow. This was NOT something I want to ever try again! It was a very tough, chewy, fatty (not really any meat to speak of) and I couldnt even cut the piece with my teeth to take a small bite...let alone chew it enough to swallow it. I almost choked! And that was before I knew what it REALLY was..... We had to call his mom to find out which part of the cow this mollejas came from...because my phrasebook ALSO listed the translation as "sweetbread!" Well folks....his mom AND sister agreed its some part of the heart. YUM! And of course the surgical scientist in me started pyschoanalyzing the texture, look, and lack-of-meat on this item and cannot for the life of me figure out which part of ...gag... the heart i ate last night. But lets just say....I SURVIVED. barely! Hereś the best part....Ignacio was going on and on about how gross it is that Americans' would even THINK of having a milkshake with their burger and fries! And then when i started talking about rootbeer floats, he was almost gagging! (But agreed to try it...since i ate COW HEART!)

Im continually surprised by this city, as it is very modern, busy, and diverse! The cars are super new, the driving is not crazy, and the streets and buildings are very modern and well maintained. A lot of the cultural influence is actually spanish and italian, and there are many fairskinned people and even blondes! i dont stand out as much as i thought i would..except for being so tall! not too many tall people here, and ignacio says that i should try and not look "so american." whatever that means! But in the few short days ive been here, my spanish is improving exponentially. the first couple days, whenever i would speak to someone in spanish, they would answer me in english. GREAT! now at least they answer in spanish, although more than half the time i have no idea what they are saying! i usually just say si and hope for the best! (and hope i didnt say yes please can i have some molleja!) I had a cute boy come up to me in the grocery store, and I'm pretty sure he was trying to ask me out- but his bad english and my bad spanish never equated to a complete thought, so he just kissed my cheek and left a sad monkey. 😞

Ive really taken the week off from traveling, and only done a few things here in BA so far! I went to a few art museums, again REALLY enjoyed a contemporary art museum! I have been spending a lot of time in the parks reading Gone With the Wind! Never saw the movie, and really enjoying the book! Im going to Iguazu Falls tomorrow, then return to BA for a week, when I will be going to all the photogenic spots and seeing the "sights" like a good traveler - hence very few pictures so far! well, anyways, hope you enjoy my cow heart story and i'm sure to ahve a billion and a half pics from the jungle waterfall adventure this week!



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