Buenos Aires is bueno

Trip Start Jan 26, 2007
Trip End Feb 06, 2008

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hello. Let me tell you how glad I am to be in Buenos Aires.

I am very glad to be in Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires me encanta.

Also, I am very glad to have left Brazil.

Overall, I did not fit in well in Brazil. I looked as gringo as you can get, which in retrospect probably had something to do with a lot of the high prices I paid. Let me elaborate a bit - almost everyone in Copacabana walks around with their shirt off, or at least wears sandals, or at least is slightly tan, and certainly donīt wear glasses. I wore glasses, a button-up light shirt, and had a backpack with a Canadian flag on it. My sandals didnīt stand a chance at helping me.

Before speaking about Argentina, I have been asked to clarify a few terms I haphazardly used in my last post. In the early morning, I didnīt think very hard about what would or would not be understandable lingo to my readership.
Favela - the official word for the poor areas, or īslumsī in Rio. Often found in beautiful locations, like above a beach cliff on a gorgeous hillside... very confusing.
Rave - All-night dance parties happen all over the world to electronic music, and raves are just very large all-night dance parties. Some folks think that raves necessitate drugs etc., but the one I attended just served alcohol for a price. There were probably drugs there, but not many - one of my fellow travelers tried very hard to find a small amount of weed and was unable to do so.
Fatboy Slim - one of the worldīs biggest DJīs. He has released many very popular electronic albums worldwide, and is also renowned for being a great party DJ (which he was).
Scouser - this is an English term (I think borderline derogative, but not that insulting) for a person from Liverpool, who are said to speak Scouse, their distinctive regional accent.

Now, Buenos Aires -

The flight to Buenos Aires was the second leg of a flight from London, so I walked onto a British Airways plane filled with Brits and very proper British flight attendants. A humorous and welcoming 2.5 hour break from being the outsider.

Once I arrived, I felt absolutely amazing. I hadnīt seen anything yet, but from reading the guidebook and thinking a lot about actually being able to TRY to speak the language, I became very excited about BA. The city is described as sophisticated, European, safe, cheap, fun, beautiful architecture... These are things that made me interested. Also the emphasis on how delicious the steak is supposed to be (I have yet to try it... went to a Tenedor Libre - all you can eat - yesterday, but I chose poorly and went too late, so the pickings were slim).

Yesterday (when I arrived) I took a bus into town, from which a van took me straight to the hostel. this for $9, my hostel for $8.30 per night. I took a 4 or so hour stroll around the city, and let me tell you - the guidebooks donīt lie. Argentinians dress well, at least in this city. Every man wears business casual, the women are all dressed to the nines, and everyone looks extremely refined. After about 2 hours I also noticed that, even in 85 degree weather, not a single Argentinian was wearing shorts. Anyone wearing shorts was almost definitely a tourist. Today I will try to brave the heat in jeans.

Carlos, one of 7 roommates I have this time and the only one I have talked to so far, is another Chilean. Last night we talked for about 3 hours in the hostel bar downstairs. Heīs in his summer break before his final year studying the equivalent of pre-law in the states. We spoke predominantly in English, since most Chileans love a chance to practice their English with a native speaker. Chileans, it seems, are friendly. I got a ton of advice and also suggested some books for him to read in English that would help him learn the language. This is because we were talking about literature, and after describing him Joyceīs Finneganīs Wake, he said he might try to read it. I told him that there were probably better books to try to read first before Joyceīs most complicated and dense masterwork. I donīt even think I could read it and understand it without about 2 months of work, and I speak English.

 Today I will walk around a lot more, try to expand my comfort area, and hopefully choose a good place to eat this time. Maybe I will try to go up to the top of the big-ben-like (kind of) clocktower, which is said to have good, free views. Maybe I will walk farther north or south, to Palermo the wealthy suburbs, or San Telmo the more bluecollar town of tango. There is an Irish pub that I might go patronize. I remember reading about a time in Ben Reddyīs blog where he absolutely craved a Guinness and went to find a pub... I donīt crave one, but I wouldnīt mind one in this heat.
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bred on

find that guinness. or don't and drink the locally brewed beer, which is usually not that bad. (unless you're in potosi, bolivia. stay away from that.) your excellent blogging is keeping me sane in the blizzard that's wreaking havoc in chicago. enjoy

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