Loving it more and more
So after being in Buenos Aires for just over 4 days, I have done nothing but realize how amazing this city is. From the interesting people, to their relaxed lifestyles, Buenos Aires is more than just any city. Its an experience. Fair warning: this is probably one of the longer posts that I will have.. so bare with me.
So Sunday was my first full day in BA. Myself and the other students in my program had a meeting with Gaby (our program advisor) at a restaurant called Tea Connection. This day was also a national holiday for Argentina, called Dia de los Amigos (Friend's Day). When you go out to eat, you seem to learn the most about Argentine culture. For instance, a server will not come to your table until every single person has put down their menu. So all 5 of us from UD were at the meeting, as well as 7 other students from all over the US (Northeastern, University of Minnesota, Kansas, etc.) After lunch, the Delaware crew explored a bit and found the University of Belgrano. The school is just one tall high-rise, but thats more than enough for me.
Later that night after having dinner with Adrianna (host mom), Carmelo (host dad), Paola (her daughter), and Martin (Paola's husband), Carmelo brought Ben and I on a walk around the neighborhood. He seemingly knows everyone, like the mayor, and always offers a good conversation. He also wanted us to try some beers, so naturally we did. It was hilarious and he said "Don't tell Adrianna". Also after talking with the family, as well as many other Argentines, it seems like NO ONE likes the President. Her name is Cristina and she, supposedly, has done nothing but widen te gap between social classes all throughout Argentina. Also she owns a large percentage of businesses in southern Argentina.
On Monday, 7/21, me, Ben, and the rest of the international student population at UB had to be up early for a placement test at school. It takes about 40 minutes to get to school, which includes walking and a short Subte (subway) ride. After the test we had about a 4 hour orientation... yawn. But I did meet a lot of other students from the US and other parts of the world (Tulane, Colorado St, Salisbury, Belgium, and London). Afterwards I went to Starbucks with some of them and hung out until my advisement appointment at UB. I also managed to take the public transportation by myself and not end up in Uruguay.. So that was a plus. Finally at night after dinner, Ben and I took another walk with Carmelo and we met a policeman that he knew named Manuel. We took a picture (seen below) and thats only because we had a great 2 hour conversation and he was full of insight about BA, the government, and many other things. We also met his neighbor Veronica and she offered us Mate (mah-te). Its basically a strong herbal tea, but it was good. The thing is, everyone shares the same straw to drink it from (Argentine tradition).
On Tuesday, 7/22, we saw a lot of the more "touristy" parts of the city on our own. We started at El Obellisco, which is a monument that honors Argentina's independence. It's located on Avenida 9 de Julio which is believed to be the largest avenue in the world (why that is a famous fact is beyond me). We got drinks and some food at a restaurant nearby and then continued to Plaza de Mayo, which is a famous political center for BA. On the way, we stopped at the church that the current Pope used to preach at as a Bishop. It was easily the most beautiful church that I have ever seen and I'm glad that I had the chance to see it. The large pink building is called the Casa Rosado, where the president works. There were also a lot of statues commemorating the sacrifices made to achieve independence from Spain in the 1800s. We then walked to the Edificio de Libertad, or Defense Ministry, and from there, it was down to Puerto Madero. This area of BA is equivalent to living on the Hudson River in NYC. Large apartment high-rises on the water, lots of walking around and shops. And just like that, my eventful first 3 days came to a close.
Finally today, Wednesday 7/23, John, Ben, and I took another trip on the Subte to Plaza Italia. There is a lot of history surrounding the area, but I won't bore you with that. We then went to the Zoo Lujan which is in the same area. For its location, the place was huge and had seemingly every popular animal. Aside from that and a little bit more exploring, today was much more low-key.
Can't wait to see what else this city has in store for me in the coming days and months.
"It is not the destination you end up, but the mishaps and memories made along the way."