It’s Just the Beginning

This week I have started getting the hang of it, like using the colectivo, knowing some of the streets, and really feeling comfortable in my work environment. Throughout my experience I have been meeting some lovely people here in the city of Buenos Aires most of whom I have had the pleasure to interact with at work. I must say the people here are amazing and beautiful.

This past weekend I got to see what the famous night-life is all about by walking around Palermo Hollywood and going to my first boliche (night club). I got to admit it is busy; it is true what they say, at night it all springs to life. It was a nice experience to get to see Argentina’s nightlife.

This week I was able to put some of my interpreting skills by helping my site coordinator interpret some papers from last week’s meeting about the OMGPIVC Worldwide Prevalence Study. Additionally, I was able to work and job shadow the primary prevention program and occupation here in the Sanatorio that focuses on childcare. I was really surprised on the emphasis of the childcare education in the Sanatorio Mater Dei. I was able to see the interaction with the childcare educator and her patients and hear her presentations and talks with the parents, but most importantly the mothers. One of the days will be a day I will never forget, because of the way she had helped a young mother with her first child. Witnessing what I did reassured me to continue to pursue my goal as a community health educator and nurse. I have learned so much from her this week, even though it was a short week due to the Paro (a strike) of all the closed access to the different systems of transportation in the city, such as buses, subways, taxis, and more this Thursday. The strike was to get the attention of the government, because of all the insecurity and the economy of inflation that has occurred in the last two months. This is why I am excited and looking forward to continue to learn and work with her again next week.

Even though the country has had some trouble it does not fail to impress me with its culture and people. One of the things I ran into is this week was a performance on the streets of the lovely Argentine Tango and for the first time I got to ride an underground subway. I have tried to see as much as I possibly could this week by walking around the city. I got to say there is so much to see, after all it is a city of about 2.9 million people.

 

I took this as I waited for the underground subway to take me around the city.

I took this as I waited for the underground subway to take me around the city.

The tango performance I ran into as I walked around the streets of Florida in Buenos Aires.

The tango performance I ran into as I walked around the streets of Florida in Buenos Aires.

Feeling Homesick

I know it has only been two weeks now, but I cannot help feeling homesick. Being in a different country with new people, new job, new home, new everything its very over whelming. This being my first time far away from home, I guess the feeling should have been expected. I am just thankful I have many people back home that have and continue to be there to support me. Like one important person said to me, “It is the first few weeks that are the hardest after that you might not even want to come back” and that is what I am waiting for.

A little advice I would give to others that are feeling the same way, would be: To take advantage of the opportunity, because it is a short period of time, and it is a once in a life time opportunity that does not come along very often, to take the experience as a growing opportunity, to see, do, and learn new things because new and change is good, to take everything in because when you do go home you will be taking so much with you. I do not mean just the souvenirs, and to know that you have everything and everyone waiting for you when you go home.

Now, even though I have been feeling homesick I have been surprising myself with how I have been adjusting to the culture, the city, the language, which my Latin background from Mexico has given me an advantage, my new home, and my internship. I still have so much to learn, but I am taking it all one-step at a time.

Many Firsts

This week was great I feel like I have so much to say. It was full of many new experiences.

Monday, I was able to start my very first internship at the Sanatorio Mater Dei in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since it was my first day I did not do allot. I was introduced to some of the employees, I received my uniform and locker, and I was shown a small glimpse of the history of the Sanatorio. Additionally, I was able to join my site coordinator from the Sanatorio to a meeting about the One Million Global Catheters PIVC Worldwide Prevalence Study (OMGPIVC). The PIVC stands for peripheral intravenous catheter that is used to medically provide intravenous fluids and medications directly to the vein, which has risks such as inflammation and infections. Due to the risks many institutions around the globe including the United States are participating to promote awareness and care. This study is known to be the largest international prevalence investigation. I was really fascinated and impressed to hear the process of this study and how about 50 countries are participating. I cannot wait to hear the results. After my internship I joined my new friend from Brazil from BAC to walk around to see the beautiful Congress to end my day.

This is my first day on my internship of the Sanatorio Mater Dei, a prestigious private hospital.

This is my first day on my internship of the Sanatorio Mater Dei, a prestigious private hospital.

During the OMG PIVC meeting with my site coordinator of the Sanatorio.

During the OMG PIVC meeting with my site coordinator of the Sanatorio.

Took this picture o the Congresso during my walk with my Brazilian friend.

Took this picture of the Congresso during my walk with my Brazilian friend.

Tuesday was scary. I was able to take the colectivo (bus) by myself to work and back which by the way I was successful at. In my internship I took a safety course that taught me all the regulations and procedures done when there is an emergency. Then I had the opportunity to meet some of the nurses in the neurotologist for babies and nursery section of the hospital where I was given a tour and had the opportunity to shadow them. After, I was able to take a course that is provided by the Sanatorio to teach mothers about the benefits of lactation. After my internship I arrived home with surprising news of my new roommate from Columbia, who by the way is so genuine. Not only that but I was able to join my BAC coordinator with my previous roommate for some helados (ice cream). What a great way to end my day.

A picture of the helado I had with my BAC coordinator and my previous roommate. It included banana split, chocolate mouse, and a mystery flavor. It is something to try here in Argentina.

A picture of the helado I had with my BAC coordinator and my previous roommate. It included banana split, chocolate mouse, and a mystery flavor. It is something I recommend trying in Argentina.

Wednesday, I did not go to work. Why?! Well because it was a holiday, which is a day to honor the Veterans from the Faulklands War between Argentina and the UK. Having the day off I was able to take a walk with my roommate from Columbia to Puerto Madero to eat and explore Argentina the rest of the day.

Getting some Mexican food with my new roommate in Puerto Madero.

Getting some delicious food with my new roommate in Puerto Madero.

La Casa Rosada (house of government), which is the executive mansion of the president of Argentina.

La Casa Rosada (house of government), which is the executive mansion of the president of Argentina.

Took this near the famous Casa Rosada (Government House) during my walk with my new roommate.

Took this near the famous Casa Rosada (Government House) during my walk with my new roommate.

This was my first empanada I tried here in Argentina.

This was my first empanada I tried here in Argentina after a long day of exploring the city

Thursday and Friday, were a little busier at the Sanatorio where I got to join the new nurses who were integrating to the hospital. After, work on Friday I had my first experience of getting lost trying to find the famous Obelisco of the city Buenos Aires. Fortunately I was able to find my way back, but wow it was scary. I cannot wait for what is more to come!!

Well till next time.

The Obelisco of the great city of Buenos Aires located at the Plaza de República.

The Obelisco of the great city of Buenos Aires located at the Plaza de República.

Arrival

As I landed in Buenos Aires, Argentina my heart started pounding as different possible situations were occurring in my head. Additionally, I had my parents’ voices and phrases repeating over and over such as,”Stay calm when you arrive, be smart, be careful, pay attention, if you get lost ask people around you to help, call immediately once you arrive, do not forget your luggage and to go through immigration, find who ever is picking you up as fast as you can, trust and do not trust people,….”

As I got off the plane I observed what everyone was doing and followed them which allowed me to go through everything much faster. After the long line of immigration my nerves started to kick once again, but as soon as I got all my paper work checked and got my luggage my mission was to find the individual, who was sent to pick me up from Buenos Aires Cultural (BAC). Once I spotted my name on a poster, like the movies, I walked right to him, who welcomed me with a surprise handshake and a kiss on the cheek. As we walked for a ride to BAC I could not help and notice all the traffic, people, buildings, and everything around me, I was in shock. I was able to calm down as he was able to point out buildings and teach me some common phrases used in Buenos Aires and so much more.

Once I arrived to BAC I knew I was not at home, I was in Buenos Aires an incredible and amazing city. As I walked in I was greeted with more kisses on the cheek, which I continued to be surprised from each time since I am not used to it, I guess you can say I was very welcomed. Then I was given a tour of my new, yet temporary home then my room, which I have enjoyed.

This is a picture of my bedroom.

This is a picture of my bedroom.

This is a picture of the hallway of my apartment, which you can see as you walk inside.
This is a picture of the hallway of my apartment, which you can see as you walk inside.

After I settled down, I was introduced to the rest of the diverse group of residents of BAC, who I joined to drink the traditional drink, mate (hot tea), which I found strange, but so very delicious all at once. Then I was able to have some interesting long conversations the rest of the night as we all enjoyed some delicious carne asada (BBQ), which is famous in Argentina. I could not have asked for a better first day in Buenos Aires.

This is the mate (hot tea), which I tried my first day.

This is the mate (hot tea), which I tried my first day.

The next day, Friday my coordinator from BAC took me for a walk to see a little of what the city has to offer. Then I had the opportunity to go to the cinema with a new friend, another student residing in BAC from Brazil to watch Captain America in Castellano, the native tongue here in Argentina. I had a plethora of fun! Saturday, I was able to join another friend, who I am very lucky to share a room with, to try the coffee of Argentina with some sweet facturas (pastry). Then I joined her again with my lovely coordinator and another friend to the shopping (mall) to watch another movie. Today, Sunday I have been able to relax and prepare for my first day tomorrow in my internship, which I am extremely antsy for.

This was a picture I took when my BAC coordinator took me for a walk in the city. There was a great amount of performances and other great things to see.

This was a picture I took when my BAC coordinator took me for a walk in the city. There was a great amount of performances and other great things to see.

This was another picture I took as I walked around the streets of the shopping (mall) districts with my coordinator.

This was another picture I took as I walked around the streets of the shopping (mall) districts with my coordinator.

This is a picture of the facturas (pastries)  and coffee I had with my roommate.
This is a picture of the facturas (pastries) and coffee I had with my roommate.

I am loving Argentina!

My 72 days of Adventure!

Many of us including myself seem to be waiting for something to come to us, for a change to happen. Well I decided that I was tired of waiting, so I decided to step out of my comfort zone, seek out opportunities, and challenge myself by taking on a new and different adventure.

I decided to make my own path by going out to a place for 72 days where I have never been, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

You might be wondering why Argentina. Well there are many reasons, a few are that it is a Latin country where its citizens are proud of their nation, how it is a family oriented country full of celebrations, a country influenced by music and other arts, and because of its healthcare system. Now, from all the places in Argentina I selected Buenos Aires not only because it is the capital, but because it is one of the largest cities in the world where I will be exposed to many new things.

I can assure you that when I decided to take on this amazing opportunity, which I have been blessed with, I was very nervous. I was nervous for the flight, because I have never been on a plane, let alone by myself. Not only that, but I was very scared and anxious to live in a huge city, because I have never lived in one, so I was afraid to get lost. I was excited to see a new culture and country where I would be part of the culture, get the chance to work in it, and meet new people. I felt sad knowing that I would be far away from my family for the first time. Now, even with all my research I felt uncertain, because even knowing what I might expect was not enough, because it is something new which can go in any direction, but with the support I had I was able to push forward.

Prior to my departure, I was full of mixed emotions. After my family said goodbye I was alone and all I could do was maintain myself. As I was trying to find my way to my first flight I was slightly confused, but I was very fortunate to have met friendly people along the way willing to help. I will especially be thankful to an angel of a woman, who sat by me from Portland to Houston, she was such a confidence booster. I can honestly say that for being my first flight, alone, I felt like I did pretty ‘good’ even though I was shaky every time the plane would take off and land. This was definitely a memorable and amazing learning experience.

I took both of these pictures, one before my departure and the other one as I was in the air heading to Houston, Texas from Portland, Oregon.

I took both of these pictures, one before my departure and the other one as I was in the air heading to Houston, Texas from Portland, Oregon.

I took both of these pictures, one before my departure and the other one as I was in the air heading to Houston, Texas from Portland, Oregon.

I took both of these pictures, one before my departure and the other one as I was in the air heading to Houston, Texas from Portland, Oregon.

Week 7 in Argentina. Got to go to an estancia this week.

My seventh week here has been extremely great, and I’m starting to think about how weird it is that I have to go home soon. I’ve been living in a residency with around 35-40 other people who are mostly from Spanish speaking countries. I have three roommates right now, and we all share the same room. I sleep on the top bunk. Needless to say my exposure to Spanish has been pretty intense. I also have been studying the language five hours a day, five days a week. It’s insane how much better my Spanish abilities are since I’ve come here. I wish I could stay here for just a few months more to become more fluent and make fewer errors when I’m trying to speak the language.

 

One aspect about living in Buenos Aires that fascinates me is the variety of reactions I get from strangers that I talk to when they realize that I can’t speak Spanish fluently. Porteños are used to coming into contact with foreigners, but most of the people they meet can already speak Spanish. Some people underestimate how much Spanish I know and they freak out when they think it will be impossible to communicate with me. Some of my friends overestimate how much Spanish I know and they end up talked way to quickly about topics that are way over my head in Spanish. In short, I’ve become really comfortable talking to people in Spanish even though it isn’t perfect and my accent isn’t that great. It’s been fun trying to trick Spanish speakers that I understand what they are saying to me, even though, in reality, I only understood a couple of words that they said.

 

This week was really fun because CIS took us on a trip to an estancia! An estancia is basically an Argentina version of what we in the US call a ranch. I got to ride a horse, eat authentic food while watching people dance the tango and play local music. Overall it was an amazing experience! I also loved that I had my own room with a queen sized bed. There was really good internet there too which is crazy.

The house on the left is giant and very rustic looking on the inside. There was another house on the estancia where people could sleep that was equally nice.

The house on the left is giant and very rustic looking on the inside. There was another house on the estancia where people could sleep that was equally nice.

I got to take part in a giant maté circle at the estancia

I got to take part in a giant maté circle at the estancia

 

This was our entertainment while we enjoyed a six course meal included 4 different types of bbq style meats

This was our entertainment while we enjoyed a six course meal included 4 different types of bbq style meats

 

The horses knew to follow the leader.

The horses knew to follow the leader.

 

There was a show involving this guy demonstrating how they train the horses by dominating them and getting them to be comfortable with human contact.

There was a show involving this guy demonstrating how they train the horses by dominating them and getting them to be comfortable with human contact.

 

Week 6 in Argentina

The last few weeks have been extremely busy, but I have caught my second cold since I have been here so I feel like this is the best time to write about what I have been doing for the past two weeks. Now that I have gotten my second cold here, I have learned why Argentinians (Porteños) always carry around and use hand sanitizer. You are constantly touching germy things like a hand rail on the subway or bus. Plus, most of the foods here are eaten with your hands such as the media luna or empanada.

On Saturday and Sunday during week 6, I got to visit a city called Tigre which is a famous and heavily populated area of Buenos Aires. It takes about two hours to get there from where I live by using public transportation, and the crowds on the bus and on the train are ridiculous on the weekends.

I have never taken the train in Buenos Aires and that in itself was an experience. The train is frustratingly slow and makes several stops on the way to Tigre. Hundreds of people take the train on the weekends and it is nearly impossible to get comfortable and find a good seat. At the beginning, the train drives by the slums of Buenos Aires which look like an area where a severe earthquake hit, only there are actually people living in these destroyed buildings. You know people live there because there are clothes hanging on wires in the abandoned, destroyed housing.

When we finally got to Tigre, we had a tour guide and we got to take a boat around the city. Tigre is the name of a river the flows around the city, and we were able to take a tourist boat that pointed out the attractions of the city. There are a lot of people that do recreational activities like rowing and canoeing on the lake, which is weird because of how cold it is right now in Buenos Aires.

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This is the tour boat we went on

This is the tour boat we went on

A nice view towards Tigre
A nice view towards Tigre

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Tigre is also home to one of the biggest amusement parks in South America (which in reality isn't that big). I don't know if I'd actually ride on any of the rides because I've seen some reports of ride failure, not at this amusement park, but in Rosario, Argentina recently.

Tigre is also home to one of the biggest amusement parks in South America (which in reality isn’t that big). I don’t know if I’d actually ride on any of the rides because I’ve seen some reports of ride failure, not at this amusement park, but in Rosario, Argentina recently.

Tigre is also home to several mercados selling all kinds of random trinkets, clothing, toys and other souvenirs. It is definitely a cool place to go on the weekend because it has water sports, local food, souvenirs and it’s bursting with people. We were also able to attend a maté museum before leaving.

Maté is a huge part of the culture here. You can’t talk about BA without mentioning how obsessive they are with their Maté tradition. I’m pretty sure most people have seen Yerba Maté in stores in the US and I had heard of it before I came here, but they maté here is more fresh and there are various rules and traditions that go along with drinking maté. It’s meant to be shared with a group of people and it’s a very communal activity.

Basically there is a cup or container that they call “maté” and the leaves they put in the cup are called Yerba. The cup is filled with 3/4 maté and the rest is filled with hot water. The resulting yerba/water mix is meant to be drank with a metal straw with little holes on the end to filter the yerba particles.

One person is in charge of filling up the maté cup with hot water, and it generally only takes a minute or so per person to drink the maté. When the person in charge gives you the maté, you have to drink ALL of it. You don’t pass it to the person next to you when you’re done. You give it back to the person with the thermos of hot water in charge of refilling the maté. I like the taste of maté but it has an extremely strong flavor the first time you drink it so it takes awhile to get used to. 1091035_10151558739853091_633053936_o

This is my second try drinking mate. I think I'm addicted!

This is my second try drinking mate. I think I’m addicted!

Week 5 (A week of vacation) in Argentina

This week I didn’t have any classes so I had a lot of time to explore new places in the area. My girlfriend and her mom ended up coming down for a few days, so it was fun playing their tour guide for the duration of their time here. It made me feel really smart that I knew how to take them to all of these different touristy locations by bus and subway. I was also able to take them to some of my favorite places to eat.

One thing that I discovered this week is that it isn’t that weird for pigeons to be inside the mall. I saw a pigeon walking around the food court in the mall next to where I live and no one seemed to mind it being there. I asked my girlfriend about it who has been to South America many times said that it wasn’t that weird. Despite the birds, the food court is turning out to be one of my favorite places to eat. There are 10 or so places to eat there, and each one is different and very Argentinian. It’s nice being able to look at all of the options side by side and make a decision that way.

Pigeon in the food court

Pigeon in the food court

The most interesting part of week 5 was that I went on an excursion to Uruguay. I decided to leave the familiarity of Buenos Aires and venture off to the nearby country to a small, old town called Colonia. My friends and I found this company called Buquebus that will take you by ferry to Uruguay for really cheap. At first I thought it was going to be a cheap, scary fishing boat or something like that because it only costed around 500 pesos (~$65 USD), but it ended up being a nice, miniature cruise ship. It took three hours by boat to get there and the ride enjoying because the ship had extremely comfortable seating. You could buy overpriced food and beverages there if you wanted to. There was an arcade and duty free shop on the boat as well.

View from the top of the boat as we were leaving Buenos Aires. The Uruguayan flag on the right.

View from the top of the boat as we were leaving Buenos Aires towards Uruguay. The Uruguayan flag is on the right.

 

Arcade and cafe area on the boat. There were 1st class, airplane type seating on the floor above this which is where I spent my time on the boat.

Arcade and cafe area on the boat. There were 1st class, airplane type seating on the floor above this which is where I spent my time on the boat.

It felt really weird getting off in Colonia because we really didn’t have a plan of where we wanted to go or what we wanted to do. We were kind of like fish out of water. We ended up walking straight for a while until we got to the main street in Colonia. The buildings there were really old looking, but very beautiful and well kept.  The food there was pretty similar to buenos aires offering a variety of meats and sandwiches. They use a different currency in Uruguay, but interestingly they accept three types of currency there: US dollar, Argentine Peso and the local currency.

It was nice to get out of BA for awhile and visit this peaceful city with clean air and nice people. It’s definitely a touristy town because the prices there were extremely high compared to Buenos Aires. We ended up eating at a beachside restaurant that costed around $20 USD per person. It’s probably one of the only times I’ll ever go to Uruguay so the price didn’t bother me too much.

They like old cars in this town. Here is an old VW next to the beach in Uruguay

They like old cars in this town. Here is an old VW next to the beach in Uruguay

 

We got to eat lunch with the birds. One of the most relaxing lunches I've ever had.

We got to eat lunch with the birds. One of the most relaxing lunches I’ve ever had.

Picture of the edge of the beach and part of the city of Colonia

The edge of the beach and part of the city of Colonia

A restaurant we found just after eating. Would have been amazing to eat lunch in this lighthouse. The prices to eat here were absurdly high though.

A restaurant we found just after eating. Would have been amazing to eat lunch in this lighthouse. The prices to eat here were absurdly high though.

 

 


Argentina Week 4. Mostly a picture gallery this week.

This was my final week of taking Spanish intensive courses so I have been pretty busy cramming for the exams. The finals are worth around 75% of my grade so I have been pretty preoccupied making sure I am familiar with all of the material we have covered. I am excited because I will have an entire week off before I have another 4 weeks of intensive Spanish classes. My girlfriend is also going to show up for a week during my break to come visit me. I have been spending a lot of time trying to find her a nice hostel to stay at while she is here. I did a lot of shopping and walking around this week. Somehow the value of the dollar went from 7 pesos to 8 pesos this week so I thought it would be a good time to check out the markets. One of the markets I went to is called San Telmo and it’s in a very old part of Buenos Aires. Thousands of people come out to this market which stretches to about 20 or more blocks in length. I ended up buying only a few things, but I took several pictures of the booths that were there. We went to a second market with my advisor, but we traveled by taxi and I forgot the name it. It was really far west in Buenos Aires and it was a much more poor area of the city. I don’t really know how to organize all of the different thing I did this week so I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures with captions underneath them. ith all of the material we have covered. I am excited because I will have an entire week off before I have another 4 weeks of intensive Spanish classes. My girlfriend is also going to show up for a week during my break to come visit me. I have been spending a lot of time trying to find her a nice hostel to stay at while she is here.

I did a lot of shopping and walking around this week. Somehow the value of the dollar went from 7 pesos to 8 pesos this week so I thought it would be a good time to check out the markets. One of the markets I went to is called San Telmo and it’s in a very old part of Buenos Aires. Thousands of people come out to this market which stretches to about 20 or more blocks in length. I ended up buying only a few things, but I took several pictures of the booths that were there. We went to a second market with my advisor, but we traveled by taxi and I forgot the name it. It was really far west in Buenos Aires and it was a much more poor area of the city.

This building is known as the pink house and is located right next to San Telmo. The building is pink because it was made with a pink colored clay. I believe that this building has a similar significance to the White House in the United States.

This building is known as the pink house and is located right next to San Telmo. The building is pink because it was made with a pink colored clay. I believe that this building has a similar significance to the White House in the United States.

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A few of the more quirky market stalls in San Telmo

A few of the more quirky market stalls in San Telmo

Below are some images from the second market I went to.

These bottles are everywhere here. They are used to make mineral water.

These bottles are everywhere here. They are used to make mineral water.

Meat on the street

Meat on the street

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This is some sort of game that was going on outside of the market. The jockey has a small pen that he has to stick through a small ring that dangles between two posts. I don't know what the game is actually called but I call it the Lord of the Rings. Hundreds of people line up to watch this event.

This is some sort of game that was going on outside of the market. The jockey has a small pen that he has to stick through a small ring that dangles between two posts. I don’t know what the game is actually called but I call it the Lord of the Rings. Hundreds of people line up to watch this event.

 

Churros and other homemade pastries.

Churros and other homemade pastries.

 

Dancing gauchos. I believe that these people are not in costume and are actually from the Argentine countryside.

Dancing gauchos. I believe that these people are not in costume and are actually from the Argentine countryside.

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They had a paintball range. This little guy was probably excited to be shooting a gun for the first time.

They had a paintball range. This little guy was probably excited to be shooting a gun for the first time.


Funny "in case of emergency" items.

Funny “in case of emergency” items.

Area just outside of the market. The markets are completely packed with people on Sundays. It's the place to be in Argentina.

Area just outside of the market. The markets are completely packed with people on Sundays. It’s the place to be in Argentina.

I don’t really know how to organize all of the other things I did this week, so I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures with captions underneath them.

Not the best picture, but I found an amazingly big horse racing track in Buenos Aires a few miles away from where I live.

Not the best picture, but I found an amazingly big horse racing track in Buenos Aires a few miles away from where I live.

Probably the best/quirkiest thing I've eaten since I've been here. It's a triple waffle breakfast sandwhich with egg, cheese, bacon, avocado, ham and tomato.

Probably the best/quirkiest thing I’ve eaten since I’ve been here. It’s a triple waffle breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese, bacon, avocado, ham and tomato.

 

 

3rd Week in Argentina

I’m starting to get really comfortable here and time has really been flying by now that I have adjusted to daily life here. I know the subway and bus now pretty well. I feel a lot more comfortable navigating the streets on foot because I know the roads near my house and could easily ask for directions in Spanish in case I got lost. As a result of this time has really been flying. I have just been going through the daily motions and nothing seems particularly odd anymore.

One thing that I really love here in Argentina that you can’t get in the US is amazing coffee. Actually, then don’t really make traditional drip coffee that we are used to in the states, but rather they like to make espresso then add hot milk. They call it Café con Leche which is half espresso and half milk. Another popular variation is the Cortadito or Cortado which is 75% espresso and 25% steamed milk. If you order coffee black they will ask you in Spanish how many tears you want in your coffee. If you haven’t lived here long you wouldn’t know that they are actually asking you how many minute drops of milk you want in your espresso.

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The most interesting place I visited this week is this enormous book store that’s either called Grand Splendid or El Ateneo. It’s a giant classic theater that has been transformed into a book store. Each of its five or so levels are jam packed with books as well as music, comics, and DVDs/Blue Ray discs. One interesting note about this place is that music from the United States is placed under the international section. I obviously knew that this is where it would be put, but it was just weird actually seeing it in person. Also, 90% of the music they play in restaurants and bars here are by artists from the United States so I was kind of expecting there to be an exclusive United States section (as ethnocentric as that sounds). I also got a kick out of the translated names of American movies.

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One thing that I have been observing over here is that a disproportional amount of people walking on the street are wearing medical braces around their foot that go up to their knees. I pointed this out to my friends and they have all noticed the same thing. I find out through asking a bunch of people is that the sidewalks are often uneven and have tiles missing every so often. People get into accidents just by walking down the street. I guess one just needs to be really observant while walking around the street of Buenos Aires.