Monday, July 26, 2010

I want to BE A part of B.A. Buenos Aires, Big Apple!

Ok, and Part II! Buenos Aires was absolutely amazing, the city is so different from Santiago and HUGE! It seemed to me that there was a lot of European influence but overall I found it to be an incredibly unique city and the perfect place for my first travel adventure!

The Planning

Before last week, I had never travelled without my parents or a school organization. So of course it made sense that my first independent-ish adventure should be international, to a brand new country whose language I am currently learning to speak fluently. Clearly I wasn't on my own, I went with five other girls from the program, but we still struggled. Things like planning a day's activities, leaving at a specified time in the morning, or staying together while walking down the street all were unbelievably difficult. Yet I think we would all agree that trying to pay for meals was the most trying since it was difficult to obtain small bills from the ATM. In addition, keeping track of who owed who what in an unfamiliar currency and attempting to honor our pact to speak to one another in Spanish caused tensions to run high at times. We ended up carrying around a piece of scratch paper for the week; everyone had their own column and amount of money owed to others; seriously, we guarded that paper like it was our passport. Despite the difficult moments, I'm proud to say that they were just moments and we were able to enjoy the week, friendship intact!

The Food

As aforementioned, I was sick on Sunday so for the better part of the week, my diet consisted of all things starchy, salty or yellow. After days of plain pasta, bananas, crackers and water, Thursday I took the plunge and ordered a "submarino", a specialty drink consisting of hot milk and a chocolate bar. You unwrap the chocolate and submerge it into the milk which melts the candy and creates the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted!
Other food highlights included medialunas (crossaints) for breakfast, lots of specialty coffee drinks, alfajores (a special argentine cookie which has two wafers on the outside and delicious dulce de leche on the inside) and a ridiculous amount of chocolate! Healthy, yea?

The Sightseeing
Buenos Aires is a very interesting and diverse city. We visited 4 or 5 of its many neighborhoods and each one had its own character. The highlights for me included the cemetery in Recoleta; cemetery isn't the right word, more like small (ghost) town. Rather than being buried in the ground, families have tombs the size of my garage made of marble with elaborate statues to accompany them. Due to the lengthy process of paying for groceries, we ended up getting to the cemetery about an hour before closing, yet I think the cemetery became even more beautiful as the sun was setting.

Another favorite of mine was the Plaza de Mayo, located outside of the Casa Rosada which is the equivalent to the White House. Every Thursday at 3:30pm, Las Madres de Los Desaparecidos (Mothers of the Disappeared) circle the plaza, holding makeshift signs with pictures of their children who disappeared during el Proceso de Reorganizacion Nacional, a movement enforced by the Argentine government from 1976 to 1983. The protest is peaceful but powerful, as the women walk around the plaza, the names of each desaparecido are called and the mothers shout "presente!" (present) in answer, communicating that although these people seemingly disappeared into thin air, they are still present in the hearts and minds of these women.

In addition, we visited a couple of parks in Palermo (The Garden of Roses was beautiful, but without roses since its the middle of winter), an art museum with a photography exhibit of Robert Mapplethorpe's work and La Boca, a neighborhood which holds an outdoor market every weekend. I also may or may not have done some (a lot) of shopping, but I feel good purchases were made, including a new sweater, scarf and handmade belt. Success!

The Nightlife

We were in Buenos Aires for 5 nights and went out for 4 of them. However, the best by far was Thursday night when we ventured to Club Niceto in Palermo for drinks and a drag show! We arrived at about 12:30AM and the place was practically empty since the show didn't start until 1AM yet in doing so, avoided paying the cover charge for entry. The show itself was like nothing I have seen before, an absolute delight of wigs, frilly dresses, fishnet stockings and kilos and kilos of makeup. One of the crossdressers uncannily resembled Nathan Lane and I had to reaffirm that I was not living in The Birdcage. By 2AM the place was packed with men and women, gay straight and inbetween, everyone dancing to the techno beats and cheering on the performers, one of the most entertaining and enjoyable nights of my life by far.

The Men

Ok, the theme you have been waiting for! During our four nights out, I happened upon three interesting guys. The first was on Wednesday in a bar in Recoleta, an Argentine who told me I spoke Spanish very well (overly generous due to alterior motives) and repeatedly asked me if Argentines or Chileans were more handsome, cautioning me to be mindful that I was in Argentina sitting next to an attractive Argentine man (not an exaggeration on his part). At one point, his friend jumped in and said that he would rather be shot then be told he was less attractive than a Chilean. The rivalry is real.

Thursday I met a very drunk German/Australian guy who told me that he knew all about the United States and proceeded to tell me that Americans are rather ignorant since they generally only speak English. Yet when I tried to speak to him in Spanish, he asked me to speak in English, since he only knew a few phrases in Spanish, including "Vamos a la playa" (translates to Let's go to the beach, it should also be known that after saying this, he referenced Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA". Ciao!)

The same night I met a very attractive Indian guy from Canada. We chatted for a bit, where are you from, this party is crazy, yadda yadda and then my friends and I left. The next night, my friends and I were standing on the street to buy a bottle of wine when two guys passed us, one shouting "Chicago!" I turned and it was the same guy from the night before! Was it fate, you may ask? He was nice and, did I say attractive?, but when I told him I was an exchange student, he informed me that he was a teacher and 27 years old! Perhaps in a few years I'll be making a trip to Toronto to scout out Paul the french teacher but in the present, I'll take a pass.

Shout out goes to Brennan Keiser for a) being such a faithful and loving reader and b) because you were the first person I thought of when we arrived at the equivalent of a rave on Saturday night, complete with techno beats and conservatively 10,000 people. You'll have to travel to B.A. and hit up this place during spring semester!

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading. I've received a lot of really positive comments about the blog and I'm so flattered that you are all enjoying it! I'll try and keep up the good work!

Abrazos y Besos,


P.S. Tonight I'm headed to the Norte Chico of Chile to La Serena, Vicuna and Valle del Elqui and will be there for the next three days. Expect an update later this week!


  1. Regarding your previous post.... you are such a trooper! Just...... wow.

    Regarding men.... you're doin' it right.

  2. So many wonderful things.

    I love that you went to a Drag Show in Argentina. That is absolutely perfect.

    And I'd just like to remind you that the line, "I want to be a part of B.A. Buenos Aires, Big Apple!" was originally sung by, yes... PATTI LuPONE!

    Love and miss you! I love reading your blog! xo

  3. I just caught up on your blog posts and I'm positive that people in the hallway can hear me laughing!

    I'm very proud of you and I love and miss you.