More Exploration, Tango Performance/International Night, and Casa Bar
From what I've been told by others who have had the chance to explore the world, the best way to immerse yourself in the culture is by going without a plan. Sometimes wandering is the best option because you will run into hidden gems that only enhance your knowledge and experiences. But for me, I'm a planner. I like things organized and everything to go the way that I anticipated it to be (Type A Personality in me). But the Type B part of me is my desire to explore and see new places. If there is one thing that I have learned thus far, it is that nothing ever goes according to plan.
So with that in mind, I decided to explore more of the city with my friend Caroline this past Thursday, 9/11. Earlier in the day, I had my Brazilian Visa Appointment down in El Centro, and that went well. But for the afternoon of exploring, we went down to Recoleta, which is closer to the heart of the city with plenty of restaurants, museums, and parks. We both had already gone to the Recoleta Cemetery and Cultural Center (see previous post for that info) but we still wanted to see some new areas. Across from Recoleta Cemetery is the University of Buenos Aires (or UBA). Its a very common school for South Americans to attend, as they get most of the recognition within Buenos Aires for their great career programs.
Next to UBA is La Plaza Naciones Unidas which basically a large park where everyone seems to hang out on nice days. There is also a giant mechanical flower situated in the middle of the park called Floralis Generica that opens and closes daily to represent the flower "blooming". It is one of the more iconic images of the city that everyone knows.
Afterwards, we went towards the Rio del Plata where there is a "boardwalk" type of walkway along the water. Of course it was a further walk than we anticipated and it was not the nicest of areas, but we made it there without harm. At the southern edge of the walkway is a museum and yacht club in one building. We definitely looked out of place, but for two Americans that have been getting strange looks since Day One in Argentina, who cares? So the rest of the adventure was spent exploring that area which was relatively quiet for such a nice day. And that night we went to our other friend's house to celebrate their birthday.
Friday, 9/12, was another good day. It was my Mom's birthday, so not being on the same continent to celebrate with her was a downer, but I'm sure she still had a great day. For me, we had a planned brunch with Gaby, our program advisor, at one of the best places in Buenos Aires. The place is called Oui Oui and we have been there before. Best breakfast foods in BA. Later that day, I had my Tango performance at UB's International Night..
So the performance itself was not bad at all. I know that my partner and I did fine, and luckily we were not the only ones dancing at that exact moment. It was held in the lower level of UB and they had drinks and snacks for everyone that went. I surprisingly have no horror stories from that experience, so that is another upside. And now I can say that I danced the Tango in its birthplace and that is pretty awesome in my eyes.
Saturday, 9/13, was a relaxing day. Most of the students at UB had midterm exams this week so the majority of the weekend was spent studying for them. I had two midterms on Monday and they both went well. And once again, yes I am actually taking classes down here and not just wandering around South America. On Saturday Night, Ben and I went to Adriana's daughter's apartment for dinner. We had a great dinner, met a few of her friends, and practiced more Spanish with locals. Things like that are what I enjoy a lot because I am meeting new people, as well as practicing the language. Even on guided tours, for example, when they ask if we want the tour in English or Spanish, nearly every person in my program opts to have it in Spanish because that is what we are here to learn.
After my two midterms on Monday 9/15, a night of relaxation sounded like exactly what I would need. That night, my friends and I went to a bar in Recoleta that is under American ownership. They televise all of the NFL Games and serve great food (from buffalo wings, to pizza, and even nachos). I may have a new favorite hangout spot in the city, as we definitely will be frequenting that bar more than once before my time in Buenos Aires ends.
And finally this coming weekend is going to be one for the books. I am going to Rio de Janeiro with three of my friends and couldn't be more excited for the trip. We're leaving Buenos Aires on Thursday night (9/18) and coming back early Tuesday morning (9/23). From what I have heard, the city is unlike any other. In the mean time, wait for a followup post about Rio de Janeiro and my adventures. Every day I find another reason why I love this place, and it makes me even more grateful for the experience. Talk to you all soon.
"Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by." - Robert Frost