I've survived week two.

Trip Start Aug 03, 2008
Trip End ??? ??, 2008

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Flag of Argentina  , Capital Federal District,
Monday, August 18, 2008

Hola Guapos,
I'm writing to you on plenty of sleep and plenty of cold/cough medicine, so this should be good!
Nothing too eventful-- just had a nice weekend despite my cold.  My host mom left on Thursday to go visit her daughter, I think, for her birthday.  She has texted me every meal time to see if I've accomplished feeding myself, and begged her son Marcos to sleep over here every night.  He has declined, which means I got a nice relaxing quiet weekend with this beautiful apartment all to myself. 
Friday evening, deciding to ignore my cold, I met up with my host cousin Ailin (pronounced Eileen) who lives about 6 blocks away.* We then went to a bar to see a band whose lead singer works with Ailin.  It was pretty decent music, cheap drinks, and a nice little atmosphere (albeit smoky... there is a city-wide smoking ban but it's tough to notice).  Then Ailin and some of her work friends came with me to a "Canto Bar" (karaoke bar) to meet some Americans from my program.  It was a fun night, and it was fun for me to have my Argentine friends and my American friends meet.  I failed to accomplish a true Argentine night (awake until sunrise) yet again, but I was close, only heading home at about 5:00am. 
Saturday, I woke up at about 2:00pm-rough life--and my host brother Marcos was here with his girlfriend (to ease my host mom's anxiety).  He only lives about 12 blocks away, but I had never met him before.  He went to law school at Northwestern, so I knew he was intelligent, but he was also very amiable.  They took me out to eat at a little Italian place near my apartment, and he kind of gave me the 'low-down' on his mom, saying that she can be very nit-picky and annoying but that she's very nice and had told him that she trusts me and thinks I'm very responsible, so that's good. 
Saturday night, still having a terrible cold, I decided not to go out to any clubs or anything like that, but instead to a movie.  Before the movie, we went to el Ataneo which is a massive, beautiful old theater which has been converted into a bookstore, and then to a place called Volta for ice-cream.  Buenos Aires may have the best ice-cream in the world; I've certainly never tasted anything better than that of the 3 places I've been to here.
Anyway, I wanted to see an English movie with Spanish subtitles, but I was overruled so we had to see an Argentine film called "Un novio para mi mujer" or something.  I probably understood 10% of the dialogue, and the audience was laughing the whole time, so that was pretty frustrating. 
Sunday, I went on a bike tour with a small group of kids from my program.  It was about 12 miles around different parts of the city (parts I've already seen several times, haha, but it hasn't gotten old yet).  Our tour-guide wasn't bad looking either, so that made it even more interesting.  I'll attach some pictures of that (the tour.. not the girl).  It's fun to see that not everybody my age actually knows how to ride a bike, haha.  One girl in our group, Denicia, ran into a post, and a man's leg.  He was able to walk away from the incident.  I will never let her live it down, however.
            I finished off the tour with a ham and cheese omelet at a little restaurant in San Telmo.  It's a little tough here because the food is quite bland.  No tobasco sauce, no hot peppers, no actual pepper!  There's always salt, but there's no pepper.  People who know my seasoning tendencies probably understand how hard this is for me.  Condiments are limited to ketchup, mustard, and mayonesa.  The only salad dressing is vinaigrette.  I'm surviving, but I can't wait to come home and eat some spicy food and slather some things in ranch dressing, and wash it all down with an icy-cold mountain dew.  I've also learned that compensating with salt isn't a good thing, as I think my face is actually swollen from the water retention.
            Feeling worn out and even sicker after a day of biking in the cold, I stayed in bed all night Sunday night.  It was great. 
            Today, a bunch of my friends decided to take a bus to a city nearby called Tigre, but I figured it was in my best interest to stay home.  Boring!  I took lots of drugs today though and I'll hopefully be better tomorrow.  If not, I'll whip out the big guns this week (i.e. antibiotics that I brought from the states).  Class starts tomorrow, I'm not too nervous though, as they're all in English!  
            Have a good week everybody; enjoy the shoddy pictures from my bike tour.  (They're shoddy because I used my crappy little Wal-Mart camera, I didn't want to worry about dropping my nice one.)
*I feel like I should mention my altered perception of distance.  In St. Paul, if something (say, the place I get my hair cut, for example) is 10 blocks away, I either hop on my bike or borrow a car.  Walking would happen in an emergency-only situation.  Here, in Buenos Aires, I'm thankful if something is 10 blocks from me.  I walk so much that my feet ache every night. 
This will get better as my subway and bus navigational skills improve, but as of right now, it's difficult.  I spotted a Dr. Scholl's about 3 blocks from my house, and I think I'm going to pay them a visit.  I wear my grey Oasics running shoes on the days it's really bad.  That's really sacrificing beauty for comfort.
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