Buenos Aires: Life is too short to learn German

Welcome to my first post from Argentina!  The last couple weeks in Brazil were both hectic and emotional.  It was tough saying goodbye to all the friends I had made during my ten weeks in Brazil, but I know I will be back again someday.  So I’ll attempt to give a rundown of my journey from São Paulo to Buenos Aires and my initial impressions.

First off, I will always remember to never book a 6am flight again.  I ended up heading to the airport around 11pm because that’s around the time the last transfer bus could take me there, and I was avoiding paying extra for a long taxi ride.  The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful, and when I arrived in Buenos Aires I was delirious from lack of sleep, emotional from saying goodbye to a country and people that I had come to love, and mildly depressed about the challenge of communicating in Spanish as opposed to Portuguese.  *Note:  U.S. Citizens must pay a reciprocity fee upon arrival in Argentina, so don’t forget your credit cards or you might end up in a bad situation!

The day before I was set to arrive in BA, the person in charge of my housing situation e-mailed me to say that there had been really bad weather and that my homestay would not be ready until a week later.  With such short notice, I ended up booking a hostel.  I knew hostels are essentially places where productivity goes to die, but I figured it would be a great time to meet new travelers and take advantage of the sightseeing tours and events offered by the hostel.  My gamble paid off and I met some really cool people from all around the world!  We tried our hand at a tango one night, had a halloween party (I went dressed as a Gringo), and took tours around the city.  Special shout-out to Team Sweden for being awesome.  Also, shout-out to the Milhouse hostel for having hilarious staff shirts that say “life is too short to learn German.”  Stimmt aber nicht ;).

Always listen to what Dean Wiseman has to say. Also, never show up to a tango lesson without a partner.

On Friday night, one of the guys at the hostel mentioned that there was a cool tango place where you pay a small cover fee and then are treated to a mini tango show, free lesson, and then have the opportunity to try out any and all newly acquired dance skills.  The mention of tango always brings back a certain memory from my freshman year at Wofford.  My roommate Viraj and I had read in the daily announcements (yes, people actually read those sometimes) that there would be tango lessons in the Richardson building that evening.  Young and naive, and looking forward to fully grasp all aspects of the college experience, we set out to learn some new dance moves.  What we didn’t think about is how intimate of a dance tango actually is, and (all clichés aside) it does in fact take two to tango.  So there we were, just two partnerless guys trying to learn how to tango.

I also distinctly remember Dean Wiseman teaching us certain steps and saying something along the lines of “You will need this.  You will need this step when you are on a crowded dance floor in Argentina with hardly enough space to walk.”  Fast forward several years, and I found myself desperately needing this step as I found myself recklessly leading my partner into pretty much every other dancing couple on a spring night in Buenos Aires.  It’s funny how time changes, I suppose.

Thus, after ensuring that our group would have a favorable girl to guy ratio, I went along for a night of tango.  Though we only mastered the very basic step, it was a lot of fun and I got to know some of my fellow travelers in the hostel (group photos to come).

First impressions of Buenos Aires

It’s awesome!  The European influence on the architecture and layout is pretty unmistakable, and it seems that at every corner there is a beautiful building or monument or park.  The favorable exchange rate is also amazing–doubly so after spending so much time in one of the most expensive cities in the world, São Paulo.  A friend and I cooked three gigantic and delicious steaks last night that only cost us about $5 for all of the meat.  Winning!

Phototime:

Glimpse at some of the amazing architecture–on the way to the FLACSO center where the CIEE coordinator works.

I know buddy, I’m just as excited as you are about buying 6 empanadas for about $4.

I know it’s hard to tell, but if you look closely…I FOUND MESSI.

Dog-walking is a profession here

Tango champions

9. de Julio Avenue, the widest avenue in the world. Had the opportunity to jog across this entire stretch while going for a run–an incredibly epic experience.

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