Traveling again por fin! Bs As, Argentina

December 20, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Buenos Aires!  Launching out again – another test in life, knowing myself, and working and living virtually from another culture, another continent, another history, new rules, new foods, and a whole new set of experiences!  A dream come true… on purpose.

It’s strange celebrating Christmas with a tank top, flip flops (ojotas), and a sunburn.

The city is enormous.  9 de Julio,’the widest street in the world’ is here, 13 lanes and always crowded.  Unless you run, it’s impossible to cross in one go and even then it’s difficult.  Buses (colectivos) are constantly screeching, horns honking, taxis and cars riding side by side on one-lane one-way streets.

It’s a combination of Europe, Central (and some of North) America.  Much richer than Central America but still carrying the danger of being robbed if you don’t watch your stuff.  For example, don’t leave your cell phone in open view, and watch your pockets on the subway.  Otherwise, the architecture, the castellano accent, the doors, the ovens, the attitude of the people – all very European.  For me, it’s the best of both worlds.  The only thing missing is the beach, though that’s a few hours away, either Mar de Plata in Argentina or Punta del Este in Uruguay.

The city is full of parks.  Thanks to my friend Mike, I’ve experienced a new concept – self-guided running tours of the city.  Grab a map (or not) and run around the city to see all the tourist attractions.  Running / walking / getting lost… all have led me to see the famous cemetary where the body of Eva Peron (Evita) lies – with the family Duarte not Peron, the cathedral, gorgeous churches, famous monuments, parks, political protests, panaderias (empanadas on nearly every corner!), town squares, tall buildings, theaters, tango shows, huge markets, sports arenas… so much to see, every day a new adventure!

Again a challenge to be a vegetarian here so I’ve slowly returned to meet.  Bife de chorizo and every part of the cow you could imagine or never wanted to know, can be served on your plate.  As a local Argentine / Porteno (from Bs As) said ‘what do you mean all cows aren’t grass fed and roam around all day’, it’s only natural here, not mass production for human troughs.

Dogs, unlike Central America, are well respected here, which makes me quite happy.  You’ll often see a person during the week, obviously a career choice, walking up to 20 dogs!  But, lots of dogs in the city means constantly dodging dog poop while out running!  It’s a challenge to balance dodging poo while looking up and guarding yourself from the rusty water drops from the terraces above – or, remains from the neighbor’s lunch.  The other challenge, which I learned the very first day out running, is to play QBert on the uneven sidewalks where you never know when an ankle might roll.  An ever entertaining challenge while avoiding the diesel fumes or city dusting as you’re out running.

The city makes you feel at home.  The people are friendly and I spent part of the day dancing with bands in the streets and in the market.  I could only hope to dance like the locals or the Brazilians or people from Uruguay, but I had complete welcome uninhibited fun regardless.

You can live very inexpensively or the high life here, there’s a little for all.  I can get my infamous banana milkshake on the corner for 5 pesos, or about $1.20, or I can jog a mile and pay 4 times that.  Prices vary. I live in a neighborhood called San Telmo – a trendy, hipster, artsy neighborhood, maybe not the safest when you see someone crack a bottle of wine over another’s head, but an area well known and with culture nonetheless.

I’ll see what else I can jot down, but that’s what I’ve learned thus far. The city has taken a hold of me, I love that every day I can see something new, have many experiences, keep working yet learning new words and new foods, start the day late (unless there are hammers and chisels pounding near your head from all the construction) and end late, be in the hot sun in December, meet great people, dance / live / learn, and end the day be excited to see more.

Pictures are here -