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.
Viernes. (Fri) Sept 18, 2009.
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
Tuesday. Sept 15 2009.
So the second day of school went really well. Still trying to take in all the words since it seems like I am learning a new word every 20 seconds! You should see the margins on my notebook..it has words written all over it! During class we all decided to go out for some lunch and to try some of the local ‘tea’ that is very popular here. Today we learned more of the irregular verbs and of course more of the ‘exceptions.’ I swear, the exceptions never end!
After class we went to a local resturaunt that some of the students had gone to last week. It was recommened by our professor as one of the better places to eat. The place was called Cumana. I had a beef, peach, and sweet potato stew and it was amazing. During lunch I realized that I just might learn as many English words as Spanish words on this trip. Five of the six students I was with are from England so needless to say…I learned a lot of new words! Did y’all know a jumper is a sweater, and that washing powder is detergent? Haha. After the meal we tried the local Mate (or gross tea as I call it). To me the Mate is similar to a green tea which isn’t good since I don’t like green tea to start with, haha. But, I tried it because I wanted to see what it was like. Maybe I will acquire a taste for it at some point?
One of the classmates (Deborah) and I decided to catch the evening Jazz Concert with the school after our meal. We walked for miles only to find out that the concert was sold out by the time we arrived. After searching around for a bit for some of the other students we gave up and headed home. Once, I got back to the house I met the new student from California that is staying with my host family. She is going to be here for 6 weeks so it should be fun to at least have one other person around here that speaks English!
Monday. Sept 14, 2009.
So today was my first day of school with the Expanish/ViaSpanish school here in Bs. As. (Buenos Aires). What an exerience! The school is actually fun. I never thought I would say that about school! Haha. We started off with an orientation and then found out what classes we were placed in. It turns out that I guess I know some Spanish. They placed me in the 2nd level class. I was basically just thrown into the middle of the current lesson of the class and started learning about irregular verbs and future tenses. The harder part is the fact that the professor teaches completely in Spanish! I guess that’s the way to learn it though. After about the first 30 minutes of shock I understood almost everything said in the class and was able to participate.
The school is set up very well. They have activities for everyone to participate in and it is very active. Everyone seems to be signing up for the activities and I know I will soon… once I get settled in a bit. For the most part there are people at the school from Australia, England, USA, Brazil, and Germany. What amazes me is how many of them are from London! In my class alone there are 7 people. 5 from London, 1 from Stuttgart, Germany, and myself. The professor is young and a lot of fun. The German student from the class has already challenged him to a drinking contest with gin tonic. We shall see how that goes on Wednesday, haha. I will keep you posted.
After class I took the subway back home. The trains are extremely old fashioned and have full wood interiors. They have a lot of character for a subway train. I never even saw anything like it in Europe. Once I got back to my place I decided to do my homework and write out all the verbs that were given to us today. However, I am still working on them. I think we had like 50 verbs or so to review!
After studying I enjoyed yet another amazing dinner. I really miss home cooked meals! Every meal has been incredible. I don’t even know what we had…but I loved it! I have also learned to enjoy a little coffee or café after dinner like the locals do. I just have to make sure to add sugar in order to add some taste 🙂
So after dinner I learned that the subway will be free tomorrow. The reason for this is because the subway employees are going on strike Wednesday. They supposedly are not happy with the government supporting the bus unions and not the subway unions.
Ok, well back to my studying! Wish me luck!