Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Argentine Oddities and Packing

Argentine Oddities
  • Almost everyone in Argentina drinks maté, this tea made with maté herbs. It is the social drink here – people drink it everywhere. Sometimes a whole group of people will share the same cup/straw. People who drink mate tend to fill up this special cup with the herbs and then carry around a thermos full of hot water so they can keep refilling. There is a special kind of straw that keeps the herbs from actually being consumed (most of the time). I haven’t really tried it since I’m not much a tea person, but I think it’s an acquired taste.
  • Dog Walkers –One really popular job in Buenos Aires is to walk dogs, 15 to 20 dogs at a time. No joke. These people literally have so many dogs that I have to get off the sidewalk to let them to pass. I also walk through a dog park on my way to class in the morning and there has to be a good 350 dogs in this little park. I’ll have to take a picture of this so you all believe me. It’s crazy. Also, these are not little city dogs that you can keep in your purse, these are the full blown, big kind of dogs.
  • Lavandería – One of the biggest frustrations here has been laundry. I am not even a clean freak and can last a while without doing laundry (ask my roommates :) but when I want to do it here, I have to pick one of the laundromats nearby (there are a quite a few). Then, I drop everything off (pay a lot of money) and pick it all up 3 sizes too small. Trying to work the crop top look…
  • - Sponge update – it’s getting musty again…eagerly awaiting a new one.
  • Oh and did I mention I took a hovercraft ride… (if this doesn’t make sense to you don’t worry about it… if you leave a comment about it, I might delete it…sorry tios ;))


now for story time

“Our days are identical suitcases – all the same size – but some people can pack more into them than others”

I feel like packing a suitcase is definitely an art, you only have so much space to bring what you want and need. Though I certainly have not perfected the art, I still love packing … and smashing as much as I can into one little suitcase. This weekend I had lots of things I had to do, lots of things I wanted to do and 3 days to pack (we got Monday off for Columbus Day too!) We had a lot of homework and 2 midterm essays due on Tuesday so in between getting done what I needed to, I found space for a national soccer game, fresh juice and alfajores (delicious dulce de leche desserts) at a hip new café, Saturday night youth group and a trip to El Tigre.

On Friday night, Argentina played Chile as the start to the elimination rounds for the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil. From what I gathered, we’re still in the pool play stage to determine which countries will actually make it to the World Cup. But, it was a big enough deal to bring Messi back from Spain to play in the game. It was also a big enough deal that we decided to get tickets BEFORE we went to the game ;) At this game we absolutely would not have been able to get through with the wrong tickets (see boca junior post for details on how to make that work at a Boca game). I think I was patted down 4 or 5 times and my ticket must have been ripped and torn 7 different times. We were sitting…well, standing in the “populares” section, or the cheap seats with the rowdy crowd. But, our view of the field was great and allowed us all to see Messi’s spectacular skills – I feel like he was putting on a show for us. He had one goal and one assist! …my favorite cheer was “Olé, olé olé olééééé, Messsiiii, MEsssssiiii!!” …mostly because I could figure out all the words :) but he really was so much fun to watch! The final score was 4-1 with Argentina taking the W!

On Sunday I took a trip with Noah and Ben to El Tigre, a little town about an hour outside of the city. On our train ride there we couldn’t stop raving about how beautiful it was outside, and how we couldn’t have picked a better day to go - we planned to walk around one of the outdoor markets and then hang out by the river. But, we have a serious problem with jinxing ourselves. The moment we stepped off the train it started pouring! It was time to find a place to take cover to let the rain pass and in a moment of nostalgia/hunger/desperation we decided to get some all-American fast food – which turned into running back and forth in between Burger King and McDonalds (more than once – our plan to take immediate cover didn’t really happen and we ended up getting kinda soaked…) in hopes of finding the cheapest/fastest food. Burger King had the shortest line and the best deal so that’s where we ended up. Only a little ironic that we took an hour train ride to stop at Burger King… but I will admit the outdoor covered seating area was pretty nice. After the rain passed we headed to the market… it was alright. Then, we made our way to the little port area where we decided to take a boat ride through the delta. Being surrounded by nature in very picturesque setting, and having a chance to lean over the side to feel the water spray off the boat (just like I do when we go boating at home :) was exactly what I needed. Our trip to Tigre was completed with a stop at a churro stand. They were made right in front of us, filled with dulce de leche and topped with powdered sugar. Ohh man, they were SO delicious!! - can you say, life changing?!

Speaking of life-changing, can you say Lion King?? Haha. Yes, it is quite possibly The Greatest Disney movie of all time. El Rey de León en 3-D is being shown in theatres in Buenos Aires so we went to see if after class today –- it was all in Spanish, without any subtitles and I knew exactly what they were saying! Either my Spanish improved tremendously since class time when I only understood half the lecture OR I know almost every line by heart. Either way, I fully enjoyed Disney’s masterpiece.

Alright, well it’s time for me to get back to packing my suitcases (figuratively AND literally)… on Sunday I’m off to Brazil and Paraguay for 2 exciting and intense weeks. (We were just debriefed about the details today…yikes!)

Hope all is well in the US of A … or as one of our directors said today… “ooooosssah.”
And for my friends not in the states, hope life abroad is grand!

Miss and love you all,
xoxo, marie

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