if you only looked at the city flag and went around its very hilly city. I wrote that randomly in my cuadernito, keke.

My family vacay wasn’t la mejor. I won’t even get into that, but being able to travel and see another country and Argentina with fresh eyes was, well, refreshing.
(Welcome to a long and winding post.)

———–I would like to first say that I’m so proud that my Spanish has improved SIGNIFICANTLY since I first arrived in South America/Buenos Aires. I lacked the confidence to ever strike up or maintain a conversation in Spanish, but now I do it with everyone that is fluent in the language. Taxistas, bus drivers, fellow tourists, tour guides, waiters…. everyone! I LOVE IT! And there’s no HUHs or UHHH…REPITE POR FAVOR? from either end. I understand it now, and can give and receive in conversation so fluidly, which was my number one priority this semester. I wouldn’t say I’m fluent, but I’m definitely but a few notches away from it. YAY YAY YAY!

———–And I’m obsessed with the World Cup games. I’ve watched as many as I can and updated my itty bitty schedule score card I got in Argentina in my cuadernito. I’m rooting for Argentina 100%. Everywhere we’ve been, everyone is glued to the television, mesmerized by their favorite players passing the pelota back and forth, making goals and fouls alike. The spirit and passion for the game here….unlike any other. Yes, more than a football, baseball, or basketball game, I believe. The hinchas don’t need to scream and holler all throughout the games: in Argentina, at least, everyone sits and watches intently, quietly, without a peep. Until there’s a foul or a GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL made. I LOVE the fútbol craze here.

The fam came on Monday the 8th, and I pulled an all-nighter packing and said bye to my lovely Ezcurra host family. Gave the real fam a city tour and they very intelligently lost their passports. I had told my dad to keep them in the hostel, where they’d be safer, but he’s insistent on thinking he’s smarter than me. He’ll continue to think he was robbed of them, but his wallet, keys, and expensive dSLR camera were still in his bag, so the reasonable deduction would be that he’s a fool that misplaced the little sack of all their passports. Thus, we couldn’t go to Uruguay the next day as planned, but instead spent a whole half day retrieving wallet-sized photos and a police report and a ticket exchange and emergency passports at the U.S. embassy, which was oddly not that far from where I had lived. Always listen to the person that has been in such a place longer than you have– usually they know what the eff they’re talking about.

Blah blah blah. Montevideo sucks. It’s literally Buenos Aires’ ugly sister or stepsister. The same sort of metropolitan-feel with less appeal and personality, me parecia. After having gone to Uruguay three times, to the three most popular destinations in said country, I’d like to say I don’t ever want to go there again. And yes I watched my passport very carefully as we crossed back into Argentina.

El Caminito in La Boca

We got creative with the Obelisco.

Iguazú was amazing. There, I said it. Why NYU took us to Córdoba…I’m wondering that now. Not that I regret my decision, because the day NYU had taken everyone to Iguazú it was cloudy and melancholy-looking and I doubt any rainbows were to be found. And what’s an epic waterfall without pretty rainbows to boot. I finally get it, guys. I truly can’t justify what I witnessed there with words. Or sounds. Only first-hand experience can truly capture the puniness you feel when standing above La Garganta del Diablo, your insignificance compared to something so fantastically and naturally-created.  Something that could send you to oblivion in mere seconds. It’s astounding.

La Garganta del Diablo

Indescribable.

The next day, Argentina played its first game in the World Cup versus Nigeria and we watched it surrounded by Argentines of Puerto Iguazú. The streets were quiet, many shops closed up for the game. People–young, old, touristy, balding–were all gathered around the nearest television, usually having DirectTV, watching with exhilaration and souls full of hope and zero worry. We boarded the plane back to Buenos Aires moments after the 93 minutes were up, with Argentina of COURSE winning. I wore my jersey proudly, blending in with the many exuberant Argentines.

We left for Ezeiza airport to fly to Perú that rainy day. Driving away from the center, from the barrios I’ve walked and cursed and admired…I felt a pang in my heart. A surprise, really. I swore to myself I was ready for change, ready to get the heck out of dodge (story of my life, ain’t it?) and leave behind tango dancers and Borges’ labyrinths and the Subte and colectivos….but cruising along the highway away from Capital Federal….all I wanted to do was hop out and run back. Waiting for departure in Ezeiza, I recognized the place where Kate and Pedro welcomed me with a little NYU pennant and clipboard, where I sat excitedly and worriedly in the La Madeleine cafe area, first meeting Layla and forming our soon-to-be penguin-honking, Sassiano-lovin’ sista bond. All the nervousness I felt then seemed like a crazy dream sequence to me at that moment. Was that really me then? Is this really me now? The changes were so minuscule, but compare me in February to me in June/now….it’s quite the difference. I still didn’t even understand the vos form then–now I live and swear by it. Funny to think what four months and a lifetime of experiences squished into that brief time period will make of you.

And so we came to Perú. Spent a day in Lima, and stumbled upon el Parque del Amor in the very Palermo-esque barrio that is Miraflores. First of all, the huge statue in the middle is of two men embraced and locking lips. Think what you will, small-minded conservative fiends: it’s adorable and gawh-inspiring. Surrounding it are beautiful gardeny greens and a sort of bench made of collages of broken tile bits (why do I ALWAYS forget the word for this?!) and it was literally the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Not only is it colorful, but within it are lines from random South American writers and their poems or just lovey-dovey lines. Me muero. SO romantic. And I was infinitely joyous that I could read and appreciate all that was present.

"Tonight for the first time I feel the intensity of the ocean beneath my hands"

Every Valentine's day, there's a contest in the park for which couple can kiss the longest. This couple just might have a shot at the title.

But…most of it just couldn’t translate directly, the sentiment I mean. It was just so terribly beautiful and romantic in Spanish, but in English….it seemed more like words slabbed onto a bench than lovely poetry. Por ejemplo: AMAR NO ES UN DELITO. Translation: To love is not a crime. Well, that’s obvious to English-speakers, but to me, it just doesn’t translate the immense compassion and passion and intimacy that every South American–or every Argentine, por lo menos– inherently has coursing through their veins. To me, that statement is saying to love is to live. To love is to be human.

Anyhow, Lima is an extensive city. Or maybe I feel that way because its public transportation isn’t as up to par as is Buenos Aires’, and certainly not New York’s, so we had to take cabs to the city center, way way away from Miraflores. SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Every main square in Peruvian cities is called La Plaza de Armas. I don’t remember why, but go with it. So we went to Lima’s Plaza de Armas and they have this huge stage and screen and celebration going on for the World Cup. They air the games that day live, and then the whole nation tunes in to celebrate with Lima afterward. SO COOL. Goddamit, I love the rest of the world and how much they love fútbol.

Celebracion a La Plaza de Armas

We went to Puno the next day via plane. It sits on the highest inhabitable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca, 12,500 feet above sea level. Imagine the altitude sickness we experienced, and multiply it by 65. It sucked majorly. Well we went to the floating islands lying on the lake. That’s right, islands float, whatever. Except these are MAN-MADE. As in they’re bunches of reeds blocked together and scattered on top to create an island. It’s magnificently-brilliant, and quite awesome to stand upon. And people live there! And have TV signals (no wi-fi though) and are even recognized by the Peruvian government. Que impresionante.

La isla de Uros

These islands float on those blocks put together with many blocks. Each island has two or three families, and one mayor/president/leader fellow. The guy to the left is the Alpha male of Uros, Carlos.

It was the most exhausting excursion, mostly due to our not being able to breathe/adjust to the high altitude. So enough discussion of that. The lake is beautiful and large, though, spanning from Perú to Bolivia.

Lago Titicaca

Next was Cusco, aka the gateway city to the Sacred Valley and MACHU PICCHU. If you don’t know the epicness that is Machu Picchu or haven’t even heard of it, boy do I pity you. It’s so cool and expansive and just wow. But we didn’t get to experience much of it. Day one was the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo.

Sacred Valley and the Urubamba River

Ollantaytambo

And it was here that Zack and I made the first of many many llama friends to come.

Como asi.

There was a lame two-day strike in Cusco, protesting the government selling oil to Chile or something like that. Not only was it not violent or effective, but it stalled all transportation to and from the city, meaning NO tours went out to Machu Picchu. We were supposed to spend the night there and thus have two days there to soak it all in, but alas we spent too short a time there instead. Screw you, Cusco and your ineffective political quasi-movements.

There are too many sad tiny Peruvian women and children who sell their souls to the tourism devils and try to sell their handmade items to hapless tourists, or to force them to take pictures with them in their pretty outfits and holding their baby llamas. I got very annoyed after a while. 60% of Cusco I believe does something along the lines of this, and that makes me sad.

At least the baby llamas are cute.

Oh and there’s another old temple with the funniest name, Saqsaywaman. Pronounce it like “sex-ay wo-man,” no joke. If you look at it aerially it looks like the head of a fierce puma, a meaningful symbol for the Incas. Oh, and touring all over Sacred Valley, I learned too much about the Incas.

Saqsaywaman (the jaggedness is supposed to be the puma's teeth)

Finally, MACHU PICCHU. No words can describe it. Yeah that sounds like a cop-out to anything I “can’t describe,” but you don’t know until you’ve been and seen it with your own two googly eyes. That’s South America for you, and it sucks that most of  yall just don’t understand the sheer amazingness of everything it beholds.

Okay first I should say it’s near impossible to get there. You can only get there by train, PeruRail, which has monopolized transportation to the majestic site and thus you have to take an hour plus-long ride on a shuttle tourism bus to the train, and then ride it for an hour, then take a bus up the mountain, then scale up the stairs to Machu Picchu. Oh and the terrain is anything but easy. It’s rocky and hilly and most of the time you ride along the train track and the roads are only one way so you wait forever for the opposite side to pass befor you can go. It’s very similar to riding the Texas Giant rollercoaster for four hours straight, and then taking it back.  I wish I could say I was exaggerating. Oh, and our tourism agency was weird and we took a car to get to the bus to get to the train to the mountain bus to arrive to Machu Picchu. Total travel time there and back? 8 hours. Good thing it’s a spectacular, must-see view.

This was literally my sole goal for this excursion: To take a picture of Machu Picchu with an overlooking llama. Mission Accomplished.

Holy llama, I can say I've been there. Pinch me, it was real.

Oh, but in reference to the title of this here post, Cusco’s city flag is very gay-friendly, and I’m sure they get many many eyebrow-raises for it.

Left: Cusco flag. Right: Chile flag

Next was the Amazon. It’s been my dream for forever to experience the Amazon jungle, and now I can say I have. We stayed in this reserve owned by a resorty place, though that description doesn’t justify it. They preserve copious amounts of hectares from farmers and other dumb humans that destroy the rainforest. Inkaterra’s huge lot of the Amazon actually has over 365 different species of ants, which is a world record, and we all love having bragging rights….even if it is about having a lot of ants.

Our guide, Marco, showed us these particular ants that are really sweet. Literally. He ate them right off his hand soon after, saying they have a citrus-y taste. No gracias.

If you can see the bumpy-looking vine in the middle, it's called a Monkey Ladder since it looks like stairs fit for a little primate, and it's actually super thick and hard. It grows in the direction of sunlight upwards towards the sunlight.

Oh and I saw lots of caimans! (Crocodiles to you gringos)

Caiman at night!

Canopy climbing

We found a sloth!!

Lago Sandoval. We saw black caimans, billions of birds, and hundreds of itty bitty monkeys there!

We also walked through the forest in pitch black at night. I was hoping to see the glowing eyes of a leopard or jaguar or even hear the slither of an anaconda, but I settled for a hopping cane toad.

We saw tarantulas too! During the night walk we saw six sibling tarantulas that likely ate their mother since they were a big clan, but they scattered quickly. We bothered some in their nests during the day to compensate.

I’ve never been treated so poshly on vacation ever. But it’s only expensive because they use a huge chunk to preserve their land and fund research and stuff. And the entire place would make earth lovers and treehuggers very very pleased. Even our shampoo and insect repellent was all-natural, made from plants and their juices in the area. Oh and they have energy-saving periods and shut it all completely down during sleeping hours and mid-day. It’s SO AMAZING! I kept thinking Victor Galli would love and approve of it most sincerely.

Our waiter for those three days, Carlos, was super nice, and developed a crush on me because I spoke only Spanish to him. We became buddies and talked about the World Cup often.

Inkaterra Amazonica Reserve Cabins

Finally, we went to see the Nazca Lines. First we went around the Ballesta Island and saw lobos del mar and penguins and booby birds.

The Nazca lines are pretty ancient, and a worldly mystery. They’re huge carvings in the sand-duney ground and have lasted for forever. We took a plane that seemed like something out of Indiana Jones and flew around crazily for 30 minutes trying to spot them all.

The guy in the mountain is called "The Astronaut." And it's really really big, as you can see it's carved on a mountain, not a pile of sand.

It's faint, but the Spider is near the lower left corner.

The Hummingbird

You know how crazy planes fly when they're getting shot at? Ours was very similar to that, and Zack felt very close to death for the 30-minute ride. Pobrecito.

Afterwards, we went to an oasis in the middle of nowhere. And rode a dunebuggy and sand-surfed. At night. So. Freaking. Fun.

La luna y la arena

DUNEBUGGY OF DEATH! :)

And then….we went back to Lima, and headed back to America. We had a layover in Miami, and immediately…I felt weird. Worse than when I left Buenos Aires. I felt like a foreigner. Everything was in English. People were overweight. I heard southern drawls. Arriving in Dallas, I immediately saw a guy in a ten-gallon hat and considered hopping back onto the plane to wherever. Everything was weird, unfamiliar, not likable. The heat and humidity sucked. All around me was expansive land, filled only with residential areas, highways, and malls malls malls. And SO. MANY. CARS. There was so much…space, and I immediately wished I was in Argentina instead. I can’t truly explain it all without sounding stuck-up or whatever, and to those who haven’t ever spent time abroad…you just wouldn’t understand, really. The reverse culture-shock was, for lack of better words, quite the bitch. I just felt….sad, coming back, being back in the state and metroplex where I was raised. The closer we got to our house, the more melancholy I became. I don’t fit in here anymore. It’s like trying to fit a Lego piece in any empty space of a jigsaw puzzle– it sticks out like a sore thumb because it just doesn’t match the rest of the picture. That’s how I feel: displaced. I enjoyed seeing some friends again, but…it wasn’t the same. Immediately I longed for my long Buenos Aires nights and fellow abroaders and the sense of different-ness I felt away from here.

I don’t belong here anymore.

My life has changed. My attitude and mentality and life plans and perspective have DRASTICALLY changed. I realized that we live in within a box, THE box. We abide by the preordained rules and live our miserably monotonous 9-5 lives. High school, college, maybe grad school, real world jobs, family, taxes, age, death. The same line, similar sequences. I don’t want this anymore. I refuse to stay in this box any longer. I am impatiently waiting to live life outside the box and never return. Too many of us forget there is a world outside of our own, outside that comfortable country border, city border, or even neighborhood border. We’re so caught up in the monotony that is daily life that we don’t even consider to aprovechar the life that we could have and that exists out there. We think we’re #1 in any aspect, and on paper, sure, that’s the case. But I will not settle for “same-ness” anymore. Regularity, monotony will be the death of me.

I’ve lived a life outside the box, and I refuse to ever step back in.

To be continued…

Posted by: Phoebe K | June 14, 2010

Don’t cry for me, Argentina…

Okay, so it’s been way too long and I’ve not updated since the Bicentennial…oops. The semester is over, people have left, my family came, and I’m now in Peru. So much has happened I don’t even know where to start.

Well, exams weeks were definitely not fun. I cared very little for my Pop Culture essay (which I posted previously), but got an A- so yay! Thanks, Fermin. I actually got into my Borges essay, about history repeating itself and the likes, and of course whenever I start getting interest in that silly old fart of a writer, I get a worse grade on the paper. Ni importa. I completely gave up on my Reporting stuff, which I know is awful, but I’ll explain in a bit.

For La Lengua, I worked really really hard on my presentation, which was covering graffiti in Buenos Aires. I’ll post more pictures or something one day, but the day before it was due (nothing’s better than a procrastinated presentation), I went to 6 different barrios in 7 hours and took more than 350 pictures of graffiti, almost all different ones, mind you. It was fantastic. Doing so, and completely alone and sans an iPod, made me a tad regretful of not spending more time around the city I called home for 4 months. I was truly exploring new parts for me–two Subte stations in Flores, Caballito, the edge of San Telmo and La Boca, the inners of Once, and more– and I fell a little more in love with the city I claimed to grow weary of. And then I worked on the actual presentation, which kept me up all night. I really appreciate professors that let us work on something of which we feel a passion for, in any sense, and Mariano’s final brought it out in me. I tripped a lot on my vocab and speech, but I think he could tell that I really cared about this presentation, his class, and what I was talking about. I think it helped my final grade infinitely, yay! (I even put a picture of a graffiti-ed wall that said “Bad Romance” at the end, which I think he liked, kekeke.)

Oh, well, the reason why I didn’t care as much as I definitely should have for finals….I was leaving soon. We all were. Did we really need to bogged down by silly finals when we should’ve been enjoying our last days in this amazing city? The answer is claro que no. So I enjoyed myself. With my friends, on my own, with new acquaintances, with old, and then some. I allowed myself to fall again for the city that had captivated me for this long and yet brief time.

Anyway, we had a despedida (farewell party) for NYU near my house, and that was a fun night. Layla, Arielle, Rachel, and I basically party hopped like only true-Porteñas can, from Layla’s mom’s art opening (she had a few paintings of cats up, and we went to support her amidst old rich people and champagne and tinto vino), to Mariano’s new exhibit opening at MiauMiau (because we HAD to support our favorite sassy prof!) and got kisses on the cheek from the curator himself, and then to the NYU shebang, and boy did it she-bang. It was an open bar and minimal foods, which meant everyone got piss-drunk and danced crazy. I don’t even want to go there. NYU should know better than to give its students free booze! Haha no complaints anyway, I took enough fun pictures of my favorite people being all tipz to enjoy the night. And of course, I accomplished one of our goals this semester:

Oh, Mariano.

Kekekekekekeke. I took one with him looking, but I feel this one best presents his glory.

The rest of the semester is a blur, and not one that was alcohol-induced at all. A few fails, too many laughs, too many goodbyes, copious amounts of food that didn’t have to do with empanadas or alfajors (YAY), no tears (yay!), and mixed feelings all around…for me, anyway.

Emma, my adventurous roomie, off to Mendoza and the rest of Argentina

Noel, Lily, Me, and Layla after our last meal

Layla's last day.

My host family! Margarita, Fermin, and me

I have taken something in the ballpark of 10,000 pictures while being here, and I encourage you and whomever to look through them to get a better sense of my experience here, because words only go so far. Sentiments are better left to the senses rather than feeble attempts to explain them through words.

Some notes I jotted down while riding a colectivo somewhere:

I’m heartbroken. By distance and time. The right moment never exists, it seems. I fell in love during my stay here, though with nothing and no one quite tangible. Argentina showed me a whole other side of life I refused to even consider before, one of tranquility and self-pacing. Unrooted lifestyles without looming deadlines, where your first priority is happiness, and anything else is just an add-on, a convenience for you, an added dose of “miravos“. I ride the 39 3 without fear, without rush. Muros marked by grafiteros and tags woosh by as cabs honk their anachronistic honks and old gents and ladies wobble across the painted pedestrian paths. Children play on merry-go-rounds, oblivious to their motherland’s pain and suffering and instability of yesterday and today, dogs defecate on already-stained sidewalks and their walkers pay no heed. Cartoneros get a head start on the night, collecting cardboard from stores not quite yet closing up shop. Porteños use their sobreactuacion to get their points across, waving hands this way and that in a very Italian-esque manner, adding in as many “rrrrr’s” as one tongue can really roll and handle. Students puff their cigarettes as a queue forms in front of the banks, waiting for 10am (and show no surprise when the locks retract at 10:32am). The smell of car exhaust fills the lungs of natives, ex-pats, and tourists alike. Girls, intoxicated by life and maybe a drink or two, hobble in their black boots or too-high heels, regretting their footwear of choice. Bikes zip in and out of traffic, wearing a death wish on their backs, it seems. Monedas spilled on the ground are quickly snatched by the eager. This is life. This is love. This is Buenos Aires. And now this is me.

Masomenos, I love Buenos Aires. There was so much I hadn’t yet seen, but then again I had experienced more than I could ever have imagined to. Some say my four-month stay doesn’t constitute a proclamation of Capital Federal as my home, or one of them. I completely disagree. Because, obviously, home is where your heart is. My flesh, my being, my soul, my love, my everything was in and slowly became Buenos Aires for those amazing few months. I could go on and on and on about everything here and gush and whatnot, but I guess you can scroll through previous entries for that. A few highlights of this semester abroad:

The Coldplay and Beyonce obsession we first experienced upon arrival.

Black Eyed Peas’ “I’ve Got a Feeling” playing at every boliche, every bar, and then repeating in our heads. We got annoyed, we got drunk, we got happy, and suffice it to say, we knew the song couldn’t have been a more appropriate pick to describe our new experiences.

My taking creepy pictures of couples making out in the park (on the bus, in clubs, in restaurants….the list goes on), of Sexiano in class and wherever else I could manage, and of all my friends (those are–mostly–in the private album, no worries guys). I’ve found my back-up plan of being a PI or papparazo if all else fails.

Forgetting a time when the ll in words wasn’t pronounced like “schhhhh”. And being terrified when we heard people who said it differently (i.e. Cordobeses, with their oddly-used “zzzz” sound)

My immensely unhealthy diets of medialunas, Paso de los Toros, empanadas, avoiding alfajors, and eating all the CARNE CARNE CARNE that I could handle (I’ve yet to find a stopping point)

Meeting my wonderful friends and making up too many inside jokes to remember, and then laughing so hard so much that I never have to use 8-minute ab workout videos again. And nicknames, oh the nicknames we made. :)

SUPERCLÁSICO!

Uh, SEXIANO. ’nuff said.

I can’t even finish the list, because there isn’t an end. I love everyone I’ve met here, of NYU and not, of Buenos Aires, and…not. I’ll keep posting some stuff on here relevant to BA, just to entertain myself if anything.

I’m currently in Peru, leaving for Lake Titicaca in the morning, and after, Cusco/Machu Picchu/the Amazon. Blah blah blah. But can I say…leaving Buenos Aires was the strangest experience. For weeks I’ve been eager to get away, to get back to REAL food options, to get back to the FAST and STRESSED world I have come to love, to see my friends again and brag of my tales and give them their awesome souvenirs. But….climbing into that cab and driving away from Capital Federal–in the rain, mind you–I felt…nostalgia. I just wanted to jump out and run back to Palermo, open a Quilmes and relajarme. Stepping onto that plane in Ezeiza, and flying away from the land I’ve feared, gotten annoyed with, adored, admired, and fallen for…my heart sunk. I was more anchored to the silly city than I had admitted, than I had thought.

I love you, Buenos Aires. Gracias por las memorias, las experiencias, el mejor tiempo de mi vida. Y ahora, vamos a la proxima aventura.

Posted by: Phoebe K | June 7, 2010

Ever wanted to know about Maradona?

My final topic for Argentine Popular & Mass Culture: Caracterice la figura de Diego Maradona en la cultura argentina, tomando como ejemplo el análisis de las canciones “Maradó”, de Los Piojos, y “La mano de dios”, de Rodrigo.

Después de la época de la dictadura en los años 1976-1983, los argentinos no tenían nadie en que podían creer. Su gobierno desapareció una generación entera, la economía fue ruinada, y el país estuvo atrapado con la guerra de las islas Malvinas con Inglaterra. El espíritu y orgullo argentinos fueron dañados, y no había un héroe que podía salvarlos. Las personas que habían prometido protección a la gente no eran de confianza. Pero había un constante que no cambió: el fútbol. Cuando Neil Armstrong caminó en la luna en 1969, 350.000.000 personas lo miraron en la tele; el partido Copa Mundial entre Brasil e Italia en 1970, más que 540.000.000 personas lo miraron. Diego Maradona representó una esperanza patriótica y una época nueva de estabilidad para Argentina.

Maradona tenía un sueño como cada niño argentino: “jugar con Argentina y ser campeón Mundial”. Era un niño de la villa fuera de Capital Federal, nació de padres pobres y eludió su difícil  realidad con una pelota y un deseo. Jugó para las Cebollitas, después Argentinos Juniors, y cuando transfirió a Boca Juniors, logró su llegada. La gran cosa de Maradona es que tiene un nombre tanto conocido, en lo mismo nivel como “el Papa, Bill Clinton, Tom Hanks, y Michael Jordan”, pero era un “pibe de Fiorito”. Su ascenso de la villa a gran fama fue más que un sueño de los chicos, fue el máximo deseo de los pueblos de Argentina. Esa historia de “rags to riches” parece como un cuento de hadas, y en ese tiempo, era bien para tener algo que daba la esperanza a un país derrotado.

Su estatus fue cementado después del partido contra Inglaterra en la Copa del Mundo de México en 1986. Los dos goles más famosos en toda la historia de futbol—“la Mano de Dios” y el “mejor gol de todos los tiempos”—dieron a Argentina un triunfo exitoso. La victoria y el premio fueron más que un trofeo: reconquistó Argentina su patria. Era un triunfo perfecto contra su adversario en la Guerra de las Malvinas, una perdida desagradable para el orgullo de Argentina. Que Maradona hizo los dos goles sin ayuda de sus compañeros le pintó como un gran héroe patriótico. Su clama que sólo estaba “defendiendo a nuestra bandera, a los pibes” tenía un sentido patriótico que aún mejora su imagen pública.  Se hizo una imagen hercúlea para Argentina, un fuerte defensor de la patria. Maradona fue un sujeto común en la cultura popular, y su nombre aparecía en películas, noticias, y canciones de todas partes por décadas que vinieron. “Maradó” por Los Piojos expresa la buena opinión que el público tiene para Maradona, creyendo que puede triunfar sobre todos en fútbol y en poder. Cantan “caen las tropas de su majestad/ y cae el norte de la Italia rica/ y el papa dando vueltas no se explica”, que significa la creencia en que Maradona podía proteger la patria de Argentina nuevamente.

Por lo tanto, se hizo la nueva figura épica para Argentina. Era el nuevo “Martin Fierro”, el héroe clásico de la cultura argentina. Este personaje gauchesco es el símbolo masculino, un personaje que domina los poderosos para la gente. Así que Maradona es de la gente, la figura moderna del machismo argentino. El héroe nacional de fútbol simplemente agregaba  machismo al deporte masculino. Los hombres no tienen miedo de declarar sus amor para el rockero de cultura popular, como el fin de la canción “La mano de Dios”, cuando Rodrigo grita “Te quiero Diego!” con una pasión tan fuerte de su héroe. También, el ascenso de Diego Maradona ocurría al mismo tiempo con el resurgimiento de peronismo con la elección del presidente Carlos Menem en 1989. Ambos eventos significan el regreso de peronismo. La gente estaba preparada para creer nuevamente en su gobierno y su líder otra vez, después de la larga pausa desde el último gobierno de Juan Perón. Es muy interesante pensar que un jugador de fútbol pueda tener tanta influencia como un presidente histórico.  Muchas personas consideraban a Maradona como “el Perón de los noventa” porque unía la gente con un fuerte apoyo para él. Como Perón creyó un país unido con su ideología, Maradona restablecía una unidad que en Argentina faltaba. Rara vez están los jugadores al mismo nivel de los políticos, pero era obvio que Maradona fue la excepción.

Como todos los famosos, Maradona aprovechó las buenas y malas cosas de su fama. Su uso de la cocaína causó muchos problemas en su carrera y su eventual caída del fútbol. No tenía una buena relación con la prensa, y siempre usaba las groserías. Su reputación como “un negrito deslenguado” fue hiriente a su carrera, pero sus fanáticos todavía le amaban. Respetaban su actitud desafiante, aunque actuaba como un canchero. La canción de Rodrigo le apoyaba, y pregunta que “si Jesús tropezó, por que el no habría de hacerlo?”, que implica que tan épico es Maradona, también puede tener algunas tendencias humanas. No les importa a los fanáticos si usa la “blanca mujer” (cocaína); todavía “todo el pueblo cantó” su nombre con orgullo.

La gran fama de Maradona ha influido a cada argentino desde los años 1980s. Sirve como un símbolo de continuidad, la que faltó a la cultura argentina por muchas décadas, y desde su llegada  hasta su caída, y aún hasta ahora, sus fanáticos todavía gritan su nombre con una creencia más fuerte cada vez. En Argentina, donde el fútbol es la religión, Maradona es un Dios humano que salvó su gente de la época sin sueños y héroes.

——

Yes, I wrote that. Yay me and castellano! And I got an A on that paper, and an A- for the whole semester  of that class :) Woohoo!

Posted by: Phoebe K | March 14, 2010

Oscars, La Bomba, Quilmes, Choripan, UNICEF, Mariano.

The title pretty much sums up my week. But of course I’ll divulge further.

P.S.– my “T” key is broken, which really pisses me off. The latches that attach the key to the actual button somehow broke (?!?!) so if any words are missing T’s….sorry.

But first I’m going to rant. About Lady Gaga haters.

"Telephone" video

So, unless you live under a rock or sans technology, you know she released her \”Telephone\” music video with Beyonce this weekend. And it’s awesome in so many senses. Over-the-top? Yes of course. Creative? Hells yes. Pushes buttons? It’s Gaga. Someone who shall not be named (and several thousand others) are oh-so-pissed about the product placement (Virgin Mobile and Miracle Whip come to mind). They were pretty much saying that she’s not to be respected because she used such tactics. Okay, and?! First off– she’s Lady Gaga and can do what she wants with her videos, which are always works of art and innovation. No one can deny that she has a fresh way with her style, and hate it or adore it, you can’t help but talk about it. AND THAT IS THE POINT. She knows how to work the masses and she’s doing quite a damn good job. So her music makes no sense– look at her as an artist. Who in the industry wears anything near as funky/odd/creepy/astounding? I hear Karen O does, but meh– she’s no NYU-semi-alum. Why does she not go by Stefani Germanotta, but Lady Gaga? Because in the words of Shakespeare, all the world’s a stage, and Lady Gaga is a dominating character right now. She has created a strange and amazing image and it has captivated everyone, even in some negative senses. So what? Her videos, again, are so visually…I don’t even know an appropriate adjective to justify their amazingness. Gagalicious? And the product placement? She’s a BIG FREAKIN DEAL, so of course random brands want to jump on that and cash in on her success. And why shouldn’t she have some fun with it? Miracle Whip– COME ON. It’s all fun and games and maybe some cash to Gaga, don’t get your panties in a wad over it. Anyone that is fully aware of his or her power over the masses and wields it intelligently seems like someone that should get a lot of respect, in my opinion. She’s smart with her pop-star persona. She knows exactly what she’s doing with herself and her image. Oh and enough about her being “talentless.” She went to NYU, and yeah, she dropped out with purpose sophomore year. But you need a wad of talent (or awesome connections) to audition and be accepted into Tisch in the first place. And her much-viewed performance at Ultra Violet Live proves that she’s not another MTV wannabe– her singing, and musical ability in general, is raw and real and it’s incredibly dense to think otherwise. I fully respect and adore and love her music, and know that it isn’t the BEST out there, but it’s something new and refreshing in a bland, repetitive industry. She is truly a musical artist, showcasing talent in her songs, performances, videos, image, and so on! Hate on her or drool all over her– at least show some respect. She’s doing infinitely better than any of us will probably do at age 23, and she’s a genius in every way. (And nameless haters– get a move on your own lives and stop moaning and groaning about Lady Gaga. Just sayin’.)

—-

OSCARS

Anyway. I watched the Oscars streaming online (thank god for technology), and was shocked by how many The Hurt Locker won and how few Avatar did. But that’s okay– Avatar was great visually…anything else was eh. Can’t wait to watch THL when I get back. And El secreto de sus ojos won Best Foreign Film, which is cool because 1) it’s an Argentine film, 2) it was rereleased here in theatres because of the nomination, 3) it’s good.

Best Foreign Film. Argentina REPRESENT!

NYU hosted a showing of it on Wednesday and it was a lot better than I was expecting. The plot is so this way and that and overall…awesome. Just go see it and watch with subtitles, because their castellano is intense and quick and mumbly.

LA BOMBA

La Bomba is a big deal here on Monday nights, so I went this week with Layla, Ben, Robin, Briana, and Courtney. I found it a little overrated, but everyone in the crowd seemed to enjoy it, albeit they were enjoying it with blunts and alcohol. It was actually amusing– they sold weed brownies and desserts to those queuing to get in. And everyone was rolling blunts inside. woah man. Well, we didn’t watch the actual drum performance so much as danced to the music, which made it infinitely more fun. We just danced like hooligans and it was very liberating and silly and intense.

Getting jiggy.

REGGAE CONCERT

Yeah. (No pics…SORRY!) So I went with Emma, Ben, Courtney, and Briana and it was very…Argentine. I don’t listen to much reggaeton, but I might reconsider that now. It was amusing, particularly with all the blunts in the crowd again and the moshing and jumping to the music. Seriously, if you didn’t jump along with the crowd, your poor feet were going to be sorry. Ben got Emma and I all the way to the front and it was even crazier there. But I enjoyed it– reminiscent of Warped Tour :). Afterwards, we walked by a bar/parrilla/something or other, and listened to the live guitarist and sax player as we munched on Choripan (sausage burger, basically) and guzzled Quilmes. Mmmmmm. We met up with Kaarin and Arielle at a terrace bar on Thames soon after. Emma and I kept making eye contact with these four guys across the terrace, and as the night wound down, we finally went and sat with them and talked. It was amusing conversation– they apparently loved Hey Arnold and Chuck Norris (and were excited when I said I was from Texas, the Lone Ranger’s land) and Independiente/Diablos Rojos (aka the #1 argentine soccer team at the moment, but not nearly as cool as Boca Jrs.) and such. We tried going to a bar party of their friends’, but bars don’t let you in after 4am. So Emma and I went to bed instead! :)

Oh, and they were constantly making fun of me for not being able to roll my R’s. It’s a major hindrance in my desire to speak perfect castellano,  I know. I honestly think I am physically incapable of rolling any sort of R’s, which they found to be hilarious and I found to be demeaning a bit. If there is some YouTube video or trick anyone knows from which I can learn… dámelo!

Reporting Class

Munu

So in my Reporting class we’re covering human rights, focusing particularly on the Dirty War and the Desaparecidos. We had Munú (above), who was kidnapped and held in the ESMA (see post before last) for 8 months, enduring awful physical and mental tortures. For instance, she and a few women were taken out to dinners in BA’s fancy restaurants with the officers, who sometimes had just finished torturing them, and then take them back to the ESMA. It’s a lot more awful sounding as described in the book she and a few survivors wrote about their experiences in the ESMA, Ese Inferno (That Hell). We read excerpts in English, and had her speak to our class in castellano since she doesn’t know English. It’s pretty hard  to take notes as she spoke castellano, so Professor Artusa kindly translated everything she said into English (we still wrote our notes in Spanish). But honestly, reading her book the week before… I had expected someone more..Mexican-looking, for lack of better words. Someone with dark hair and dark eyes. And here she was with blonde/gray hair and striking blue eyes. Wow. And she’s authentically Argentine.

It’s an intriguing thing to think about appearance here. Prior to coming here, I had expectations of everyone looking like the Latinos we commonly see in the U.S. –dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. Then here I am, and EVERYONE seems to have light green or blue eyes and super tan skin, and really great hair. Italian, Spanish, and other European traits are very obvious among the Argentines and Porteños, which is pretty cool. They all talk like Italians (with their hands vigorously), btw. That’s why the aesthetics here (aka beauty of the people) are so pleasing here! The only case of traditional (in my head) latin looks that have exceeded expectations are those of Mariano, my professor…

MARIANO

So, he is my La Lengua teacher that EVERYONE is gaga over (though Layla trumps them all). Being the master creep that I am, I managed to sneak a picture so you guys back home can bask in his glorious gorgeousness from afar.

Oh but don’t get your hopes up, ladies. Yes, he’s great looking, Argentine, working on his dissertation, knows a lot about fashion and music, and co-authors books. Like this one:

Yep.

Well, we went to El Fulgor Argentino, a play in La Boca last night with our La Lengua class and it was awesome. We ate some great choripan and other delicious comida and watched locals perform in an astounding play. What was it about? Not too sure, since it was all in castellano, but it was still cool.

CHORIPAN YUMMM

UNICEF CARRERA

Layla and I felt like being good humans and walking for a cause, so we participated in the UNICEF walk today. Woke up rather early at 8:30am– in comparison to going to bed at 5am– and walked around a bit. We somehow missed the start, so we just found some walkers and followed them to the finish line, jaja. At least we got some sweet shirts out of it.

Check us out.

In miscellaneous news, I got my roots touched up, as well as my highlights. It was freaky at first, being so orangey again.. but it’s grown on me. I paid $45-ish USD, which isn’t so bad for doing both processes. Though they charged 10 pesos for washing my hair and 15 pesos for drying…uh wtf?

Oh, and I’ve had helado 5 times in four days. Uhhhh….no excuses here. It’s SO good and SO cheap! Best ice cream ever. ME ENCANTA HELADO!

Not sure of what else to say. Need to stop throwing down all the pesos like monopoly moneys… I’m nearly out of the 3300 pesos I brought with me, crap. It’s not even like I’ve been shopping. I just eat..and drink..and eat…and drink more…and go out. Eeeep.

Spring Break is coming up in three weeks! (Patagonia/Tierra del Fuego BOUND.) AND THE SUPERCLÁSICO IS NEXT SUNDAY YAYAYAYAY! AND I AM GOING!!

What I hope to experience at the Superclasico.

Can’t freakin’ wait. My face will be yellow and blue and my voice will be sore, and hopefully I won’t be crushed under the monster stampede that is Boca Jr. fans. EEEEEP!!

Chau.

Posted by: Phoebe K | March 1, 2010

Punta del Este– mi amorrr!

I had SUCH a great weekend! This is merely a preliminary post to build up anticipation for all the details–yay! Pictures will be up later, as I have so much homework that I tried to avoid..

In short,

  • We met Steve McCurry at his exhibition in BA. Quite an experience and his photos are breathtaking.
  • I am practically a Porteno/Uruguayan/African-American now, with my super awesome tan. Skin cancer, ahoy!
  • Another latin lover in another country, yesssh!
  • Such a great time with friends and new acquaintances! WITHOUT any need for liquid courage, hoorah!
  • Happy birthday to BFF Alex and Kelley Forester :)

and yeah, wasn’t affected by the Chilean earthquake at all, but thanks for (not) worrying!

Hasta pronto!

Posted by: Phoebe K | February 23, 2010

It’s decided. Let the countdown begin.

Once I graduate, I’m going to take a year or so off and circumnavigate the globe. Likely by myself. And journal/document it in some savvy fashion.

Some places I plan to hit:

Quito, Caracas, Lima, Machu Picchu, Cordoba, Montevideo, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, maybe Tierra del Fuego and thus Antarctica, Reykjavik, London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Madrid, Casablanca, Athens, Rome, Moscow, Cairo, Nairobi, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tel Aviv or Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Bangkok (take a break a visit the fam), Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Melbourne/Sydney, Auckland, Fiji Islands (or Samoa),  Honolulu, and end in Dallas or New York. wherever I decide to call home.

I’ve been overly inspired by the people I’ve met here, particularly Robin and Jessica for having spent 6 months or so traveling the globe at their own pace. How amazing does that sound?!

I’m the kind of person that likes being able to say “Been there, done that,” so of course this would be something grand to add to my bucket list. BUT of course it’s not all about that. Being away–from home and from the motherland– is actually more enjoyable than I had initially thought, and I don’t think I’m ready, as a being and in my life, to settle down in a place. I NEED to explore options and continents and people and cities and lifestyles and languages and cultures and foods and mentalities. I really can’t sit still anymore, not when there’s a world just outside of here.

Time to start saving those paychecks.

Yeah, you don’t think it’s going to happen. Just watch me.

Posted by: Phoebe K | February 15, 2010

¡Bienvenidos a Buenos Aires! (Un repaso de mi primera semana)

(Forewarning for not being at all blog-like. I wrote this as a more personal-public journal. I’ll work on being witty and all later.)

My first entry. A week late. Haha, I’ll try to maintain this, moreso for myself than viewership. I can’t wait to see how much I grow–as a person, as a student, as a journalist, as a hispanoblante– over these next four months.

Day 1, 08/02/10

I am finally here. I’ve talked about this, dreamt about this, planned this for a year and a half, and…here I am. But all this nearly wasn’t, thanks to freaking American Airlines.

I got to DFW at 5:11PM on Sunday, and was all set to check in. My bags weighed just right (48 and 40 lbs… for now!), I had everything packed and with me (minus my favorite hairbrush). I even did self-check-in and got my little voucher thing. Then the lady asks, “Can I see your visa?” And I tell her NYU was going to take care of it once we arrived in Buenos Aires (BA from here on out). And she’s like, “Uhh…I’m afraid I can’t allow that.” I freak out, my mom freaks out, my dad and brother are looking all quizzical, so I show her my NYUBA stuff…and I forgot the acceptance letter, the only thing with my name actually typed on a school letterhead. So she calls over her supervisor, who calls his supervisor, and they talk on the phone, and he hangs up and gives me back my bags, saying they cannot let me fly today. I’m all WTF, I HAVE to be in BA tomorrow. He’s persistent in that I need a visa upon entry, not post-entry, and if it were the latter, I could be put in jail because I’m overstaying my welcome. And I freak out more, and we all plead and whatnot, and then I ask if I can change my return to a month early, within three months. He says it’s fine…with a $170 fee, and Ihavetodecideinthenextminuteorelsemybagscan’tbecheckedonthisflightsohurryhurryhurryDECIDE! UGH, pressure. So we do that, and after he gets our money and robs me of my happiness, Mr. Supervisor says we can call AA consumer relations to ask for the refund, once the visa junk is all sorted. Thanks.. So it’s now 6 something PM and I bid farewell to my family (no tears) and unpack all my carry-ons and repack them post-security check. Then I sit, wait, board, buckle up, jet. The flight was boring, and uncomfortable, as it is with any flight with American-freaking-Airlines.

So I arrive at 9AM (5AM Dallas time/ 6AM New York time), pass through customs and all easily, and NO ONE asks of a visa. Hm. I am flagged down by Pedro and Kate with an NYU…flag. And they take me over to our table of study abroaders. Turns out there were like 12 of us on my very flight, but none of us wore NYU insignia so we kinda stared at each other awkwardly before, on, and post-flight until we met at the table. Fun stuff. We sit in front of Le Madeleine forevvverrrrr for other people to show up. We get shuttled through BA to the Academic Center and crowd in and eat snacks, YAY! Whilst mingling, we got our packets, our NYU survival kits/mochilas, paid for housing (I paid the $2800 in full and got it over with), contemplated cell phones ($200USD for a phone and SIM card and 100 minutes/month plus free calling/texting among our network…for all four months!)—and I brought my Blackberry to see if I can use it, and I have to get it unlocked, which I might try to do—and then waited around like little orphaned pups for our future owners. Twas fun. Margarita came and we said our hellos, and my homestay-mate, Emma, arrived and checked-in, and we set off to her casita.

It is WAY far from the Academic Center, in Palermo I think, so I will likely/definitely not be walking to class everyday. Emma and I got to choose our rooms: hers is by the stairs and has a balcony (!!), and I got a super cute one that has teal-painted doors and a teal/lime green-theme to it, and is just cute in general! And we have another housestay-mate from London, Jessica, that had been here for a while and will be leaving at the end of the month, and my host-mom wants me to move to that room at that point, so Emma and I can have neighboring rooms. Oh, and Margarita has a cute little greyhound named Nieves, and I’m pretty sure she’s already in love with me because she’s lying underneath my desk as I currently type. Cute. So I unpacked and showered, then napped and ate la cena with Margarita, Emma, and Jessica. We talked in Spanglish for a long time about everything. Margarita asked what I thought of of Obama…and me not caring about politics, I said I didn’t care. Likely a bad answer. But it’s honest! Anyway, Emma wanted to meet up with some friends so we got dressed up and got in a radio taxi to wherever. Walked around in a huge group of girls and got hollered at by every male. It was really obnoxious, since it seemed so derogatory. We sat down at an outdoor bar, had a few bottles of cerveza, and called it a night. YAY!

Day 2, 09/02/10

My iPhone apparently isn’t having fun with this whole time-zone thing. I woke up at 8:30AM, got all ready, and wondered why no one else was up. Turned out my clock was an hour early, so I went back to bed briefly. Margarita walked Emma and me to the bus stop and rode with us to the Loft to make sure we’d be okay. Los autobuses son confundidos. Anyway, we sat in for the introductions and overview of BA, which was straight from the handbook they gave to us and which I had read the night before. So it was repetitive and monotonous and I couldn’t help dozing off the entire time—plus I think my jetlag is still in gear—so I only heard bits and pieces of the session. They served us salad and pizza para almuerzo! Que linda. Anna and Erin and I went to look for una casa de cambio and had some success with making change and finding a cajero automatico (ATM). Then we got back for the BA tour, which was very enlightening. The buses took us to El Plaza de Mayo (San Telmo), La Boca, and the famous cemetery (Recoleta). The city and its history are so breathtaking! And they drove us through many barrios of BA, which was cool, except I was super exhausted and fell asleep many a time during the tour. After it ended, we walked along Santa Fe (yo creo..) and found a restaurant for merienda. We all got empanadas, which were really good, even without fruit stuffing (as I’m used to from Taco Bell). Then Emma and I walked to a few supermercados and got some things as we made our way home. Not a bad walk, but it was comforting to have a companion. We had dinner and then went to meet Ben and others at a bar called Buller that served really good “honey beer” apparently. That was a white lie, because it tasted mediocre—even Stella was better—but I had a few sips, along with my “apple” martini (in which they forgot the apple part..or chose to ignore it). Ben’s fellow housemate, Robin (from London!) came as well, and we all had fun conversation. Emma’s friends joined us later on and we drank some more, then decided tipsily to find a dance club, Basement Bar, from the BA guidebook. But when we arrived, we discovered it’s only open on Thursdays and Fridays—bummer. So Emma and I took a taxi back home and called it a night.

Day 3, 10/2/10

We stayed at the Loft for the majority of the day, then left to the Center. Just boring orientation stuff. I don’t remember the rest, but we went to a bar called Sugar muy cerca de nuestra homestay. Apparently they had cheap/free drinks until midnight–YAY! Tons of NYU kids showed up, and we had pleasant views of the porteños :). Emma and I met two, mine was Pablo and hers was Jesse. Que liiiiindos! We all stumbled to a club called Madagascar later on, but Emma and I left before they got in.

Day 4, 11/2/10

More orientation stuff. No me recuerdo. Oh, I went shopping on my own in Palermo Viejo–my neighborhood– and it’s a great area! So very Soho-esque, with expensive flair here and there. Bought a few tanks because I was in desperate need for some. But later, Emma and I went out for a little on our own in Palermo Viejo, which is around the block from where we live, and is coincidentally the most happenin’ area in BA. Que suerte para nosotras! Anyway, we sat at a bar and talked for a few hours, and people-watched. This city is so astounding. You think you know cities, and you think you’ve fallen in love with one, or committed to one…then you come here. Los porteños eat dinner at 9:30 or 10pm at the EARLIEST, then go out and stay out until 6am. ES LO NORMAL! My kind of place? Hell yes. And it’s something to understand and appreciate that they don’t party hard like us Americans when they “go out”; rather, they gather for drinks and spend hours and hours yelling and laughing and enjoying each others’ company (likely also making fun of los turistos). They don’t drink to get drunk, it’s truly social-drinking here. Am I rationalizing? Not at all. Just trying to understand and fit in in a culture of which I’ll be a part for the next four months.

Day 5, 12/2/10

EL TIGRE! Emma and I walked sweatily to the Academic Center and we all boarded a bus to El Tigre, a sort of resort along the river, an hour outside of BA. We then took a huge longboat to a resort-y place just for us NYU-ers. And we canoed, played in the river, sunbathed, had some volleyball games and futbol games (of which I was obviously not a part) and then we had…*drumroll* ASADA! Pretty much it’s barbecue, Argentine-styled. AY DIOS MIO so tasty. So good. So delicious. Layla and I couldn’t have enough, haha. They served us sodas and juices, then salads, then papas fritas, then chorizos (sausages), then la carne asada. The pictures say it all, really. After getting uber-tan, we boated to another resort–more of a campy place. And funny thing: We had to stand in lines to get brief medical “exams”. Us 69 girls and 19 guys had our mouths, armpits, hands, and between-the-toes checked for fungus and athlete’s foot. WTF. Hahaha que extraño. But we played in the pool and whatnot..not as fun as the other place, especially since all the Argentines flocked to the other side of the pool whenever we moved to one side! Really. Shouldn’t segregation be dead by now? So we stayed until 6, went home, and got ready for a Friday night. We met up at a bar in Palermo Viejo, and pretty much bar-hopped all night. Made it to some club, parted ways, went home around 5am. But it was a craaaazzyyy great night! :)

Day 6, 13/2/10

Woke up at 2:30pm, hahaha. Went to Plaza Serrano (around the block from my place in Palermo Viejo) and there was a market going on. I LOVE MARKETS! Very a la- Thailand! So I bought alguna ropa, and met up with Layla, Ben, and Robin. We eventually dwindled and split, but I had some great company for the rest of the day. Que relajado. Ben met up with us for dinner, and we accidentally chose an expensive, ritzy place (not hard to do here..Palermo is Upper-East-Side-esque in my book). Our meals were about 50 Pesos average each, plus 10 Peso service fee! I mean, that’s like $20USD but still…Erin met up with us, and we went to Sugar, then went to a club called Liquid. Except Ben couldn’t come in because he was wearing shorts! Que lastima! So we didn’t go in. Erin and I went to her mutual friend’s apartment nearby and we jetted off to a gay club. Since he’s big into the gay scene, we were on the list and saved 50 Pesos and got in por gratis! YAY. It was super fun too. I’ve never been to a gay club really, but I’m pretty sure this would top any of the ones back in the States. It helped that they were celebrating Carnaval. But yeah, Erin and I left around 4:30am.

Day 7, 14/2/10 (Dia de los Enamorados..blech)

One week here! Watched the sun rise as I uploaded pictures on Facebook. Woke up around  2pm again! But I took the Subte (the subway here) to Layla’s place– it’s 1.10 Pesos each ride…which is 30 cents basically!– and we rode in a taxi to San Telmo, which has an infamous antiques market on Sundays at Plaza Dorrego. We kept blowing our money away–not good–but everything is SO amazing. Tango dancers here, street bands there…ay dios mio, me encanta Buenos Aires. Layla left, so I walked down la calle Defensa to meet up with Emma, Kaarin, and Arielle. Along the way, I bought three pairs of TOMS (they apparently originated here in Argentina–TOMS are copycats of their shoes!) for $25 Pesos/each. That’s basically $8USD for a pair. EEEK! (Let me know if you want some! EVERYONE wears them here!) And some bracelets, anklets, a ring, and whatnot. Seriously, I’m going to stop spending money…at some point. I walked to La Plaza del Mayo, then the Obelisco, then we walked down Santa Fe and rode the Subte home.  Pretty much walked 5+ miles today, no lie. In flat sandals. I gotta get me some Dr. Scholl’s or Rainbow sandals.. Anyway. Craving fruit for some reason, we also ventured out along Uriarte and Santa Fe after dinner. To no avail. But it was a good walk!

So this is a VERY overwhelming post. But it’s just an overview of the crazy, fun-filled “Welcome Week” I’ve had here :)More in-depth thoughts later. SCHOOL TOMORROW. Ay dios mio, I haven’t had school in literally two months. It’s a weird, uneasy feeling? I mean, I basically had another summer break–not that I’m complaining.

Goals for this semester abroad:

-Become fluent in castellano (BA dialect)

-Explore, discover, fall in love with Buenos Aires and all that entails

-Reevaluate myself and my aspirations

-Get AWESOME legs (it’s going to happen, with a 40+ minute walk to school and back–which is about 3 1/2 miles!)

-Travel to at LEAST three other countries in South America

-Take 2000+ pictures, yet appreciate the actual locations and objects in person

-Appreciate the little and big things in my life.

Hasta manana/pronto!

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.