Yet ANOTHER rainy day…

Day 63.

Viernes (Fri). Nov 13, 2009.

Today has been an interesting day so far. I slept in this morning, waking up around 10am. It has been my first day without school on a weekday since the school was not able to fit me in with a private lesson due to a shortage of teachers. Either way it worked out well for me since they gave me extra hours next week to make up for it.

So my flatmate and I grabbed some lunch down the street at an amazing little local resturaunt.  For the most part it was only older gentlemen in the place, enjoying lunch and coffee with one another. Almost like something you would see in a movie. A truly local place. After lunch we headed out to take pictures in one of the main parts of the city. Since we knew there was a storm coming in, we decided to take the subway in order to speed things up… or so we thought. To start with we went the wrong direction on the subway so we had to retrace our steps with the train. Then we got on to the right train, made a connection with another one… and then missed our stop. After retracing all of our errors, we turned a 25 minute ride into a 1 hour ride. As we were emerging from the underground our first vision was of a dark, grey sky. I think we were able to take about 7 minutes of photos before it started to rain! We got very frustrated and grabbed some ice cream to make up for it. We wanted to feel like our 1 hour trip spent underground was for a reason… so we decided it would be for ice cream. 🙂

So now, I am sitting here in my room, drenched, listening to the rain engulf my room from every side while enjoying the light sound of thunder from time to time. This morning was frustrating but now I am content with an afternoon all to myself to work on my favorite escape, my photography.

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OUtx & La Boca

Day 36-37.

Viernes – Domigo (Fri – Sun). Oct 17-18, 2009.

This past weekend I gathered my international friends together and took them out to the American Expat Bar here called “El Alamo“. I decided to introduce my friends to College Football in the States. It was the perfect game to show them… OU vs TX. We showed up at the bar to realize we were the only ones there to start with. However, about 10 minutes before the game we were outnumbered. Roughly 30-40 Texas Longhorn fans showed up dressed in their ugly burnt orange shirts. We, being about 5 people, decided to give them the large side of the bar and we sat on the opposite side. The game was a lot of fun and we drank a bunch of Quilmes (the local beer here in Buenos Aires).  I have come up with a different name for it though… I call it “Kill Me” (since it is pronounced”Kill-Me” in Spanish) because it gives you the worst hangovers, ever! Either way, we drank and watched a very low scoring college football game and yet we almost beat Texas with our backup QB. Personally I thought that for Texas being the #3 team in the nation they played a terrible game against a weak OU team. Just wait for next year Texas! I will always cheer “Boomer Sooner” no matter what country I am in and how badly outnumbered I am!!

On Sunday, I ventured out to yet another “barrio” (neighboorhood) here in Bs. As.  I went to one of the most famous barrios… La Boca.  From around the world most people think of this barrio when then think of Buenos Aires because it is the one with the brightly painted walls all along the streets.  As you walk down the streets the walls jump out at you and you become engulfed with every primary color known to man. While being distracted by the walls, you find tango dancers dancing all over the streets and performing for restauraunts on the streets of the barrio.  We sat down and enjoyed a wonderful lunch with a table in the front row of a tango stage. For about an hour we watched an amazing tango dance between some of the best dancers we have seen throughout the city (photo below). Afterwards, we walked around and took in the little barrio realizing that it is extremly tiny. Just before leaving we wandered through one of the museums to learn about the city through some of the earliest painters. From the top of the museum we enjoyed the view of the most polluted river in all of South America. Sounds pretty, right?? However, from the other side you can see the famous La Boca Futbol (Soccer) Stadium that is painted with yet another set of bright colors. It is painted just like a huge IKEA… bright blue & yellow. It turns out that the stadium was actually painted that color because it is suppose to respresent something about the Swedish coming here and those are the colors of the Swedish flag. I will have to research a bit more of what exactly it has to do with the Swedish, haha.

Alto Palermo & Galeria

So last night was ridiculous. I do not know how they stay up till 8 in the morning without stopping. I was so worn out by 4am. I almost started falling asleep at the bar and that was after a 3 hour nap in the afternoon.

Anyway, the night turned out to be really fun. I met up with 20 classmates at the La Celeste Restaurnt in Palermo. It was a very nice place and I love how inexpensive everything is out here. In the end I ordered a plate of pasta, glass of wine, and a desert for $12 USD. In the states that same meal would have cost me at least $40 USD. So far I have been here a week and I still have not spent over $100 USD.

After dinner we all headed out to Sugar in Palermo. The place was packed but yet not too bad. We were able to get drinks all night without waiting too long and had a lot of fun. The drinks down here cost around $10 ARS which is equivalent to $2.50 USD.

This morning I got up around noon since I stayed out so late. I really did’t feel very good this morning from last night so I just went shopping for some jeans. In the end I actually didn’t even buy any but I was able to check out two of the main shopping areas they have here. One is called Alto Palermo which is a very high-end shopping mall here and the other is called the Galeria. The Galeria is aimed towards the younger crowd and the punk/rock/goth crowd. I was walking through with a polo pull-over on and felt so out of place. Everyone there was wearing black clothes, chains, and had piercings and tattoos, haha.

First Cup of Coffee & Subte Strike

Day 5.

Miercoles. (Wed) Sept 16, 2009

What an interesting day! Quite a bit happened. School was fun yet again and of course I learned a ton of words, haha. So I tried something new today. I have only had coffee once in my life and I could not stand it. However, today, I was so tired I just decided to try it. Plus, I figured I might as well try it since I am in South America of all places! Turns out… I love it! I can’t even believe I just said that! As long as you add 4 pounds of sugar and 2 gallons of milk to your coffee…it tastes great! 🙂

After class I walked down one of the main shopping streets and bought a backpack. I was in desperate need of one and I knew that it is suppose to rain tomorrow so I needed to pick one up. Not bad, the backpack cost me $15 USD. Everything out here is inexpensive. I walked around the shopping area for a bit and then went out with a couple of the classmates for a coffee. The two guys I went with are both from London so we talked a bit about culture and the differences between ours and throughout the world. I love getting to talk with people from all over the world and learn first hand about their cultures.

Now for the most exciting part of the day… The Subte (Subway) union went on Strike today from 14-16h (2-4pm). They marched out on the main street (Ave. 9 de Julio) with flags and signs everywhere. There were so many people striking and setting off fire crackers and little explosions. Wait no… big explosions. Of course, being who I am, I got into the middle of it all and started taking photos and videos. It was exciting and got my adrenaline running! In one of the videos I was able to capture one of the strikers punching another one! (See video below for it… it is at the very end of the video). After the Strike was over I took the Subte home which was quite an experience. It was absolutely insane how many people were riding on the Subte since it was free. Every train car was packed like sardins. No joke. I had to actually wait for 2 trains in order to find one that I could physically cram myself into. I have never seen anything like it in my life. I couldn’t even believe I was doing it!

For dinner, I ate with my host mother Alejandra. Today was a big step for me because for the first time I talked to her ONLY in Spanish. We spent nearly 2 hours together talking back and forth about a number of topics and yet we never spoke English. I can’t believe I was able to do that after only 5 days! After 6 months of this I should be doing realllly well!!! I can’t wait to be fluent!

CLICK HERE to see the Subte Strike Video