No Habla Espanol

Trip Start Sep 30, 2011
Trip End Dec 13, 2011

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Where I stayed
Palermo Apartment
What I did
ECELA Spanish School in Buenos Aires
Feria de Metaderos

Flag of Argentina  ,
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

No habla espanol. This was one of the only phrases I knew in Spanish when we first arrived in Argentina on the 6th of September. Therefore, Jessie and I decided that we would launch our adventures with a few weeks of Spanish school. We found a school in Recoleta (an older wealthier region of BA) that fit our goals perfectly. From the first day we were impressed. The school sent a taxi to pick us up from the airport and brought us to their headquarters where we were greeted by a friendly staff. Much to our relief the school did exist, was not a scam and was in fact located in a very nice part of BA.

We stayed in a shared apartment in Palermo with 4 other students from the school. Again we were relieved to find that the apartment was gorgeous. It even had an adorable little tiled back yard with an old school grill perfect for Saturday barbecues. Jessie and I shared the apartment with students from around the world. We had roommates from Japan, Germany, Chile, Brazil and Washington DC. Although most everyone spoke English, for most it was a second language and so we found ourselves speaking Spanish to communicate (well at first I didn't communicate much because I didn't speak Spanish...but Jessie spoke a lot of Spanish).

Because we arrived in BA on a Tuesday we didn't start classes until the next Monday. Thus, we were able to spend our first week sightseeing and enjoying the city. The school had a few activities at night including an amazing Broadway style tango show called Tango Porteno. Being economical travellers Jessie and I opted to bring the minimum of everything. Therefore, we showed up in Buenos Aires with two t-shirts, two tank tops, two jeans and a skirt. Not knowing what type of show we were attending Jessie and I showed up with our skirts, flip flops and a t-shirt... we looked like we just stepped out of a Southern Baptist church in Georgia. As it turns out it was a luxurious dinner show where we would have been able to ware our prom gowns. The Champagne cost about $200 (US) and a glass of water cost five bucks. Despite our awkward appearance we loved the show.  The dancers were amazing and there was a live orchestra. It was more of a Las Vegas style show than anything, but it was amazing.

We also went to the Feria de Metaderos a traditional gaucho market located at the outskirts of Buenos Aires. It was amazing! It was much less touristy then the market at Tigre which we visited a few days before. With stalls full of leather goods, homemade empanadas and roasting armadillos it was about as country as you can get while still being in a city of over 10 million. While at the market we watched the Carerra de Sortija (the “Race of the Ring) which is a horsemanship game where the rider has to stick a pen through a ring the size of a shot glass while galloping at full speed. Being the country kids that we are, once we found the horses Jessie and I were distracted from everything else at the market. We spent the entire afternoon watching the men in traditional clothes race for the ring. It was fantastic, and it inspired us to try and work on a WOOF ranch in the country. We will see how that works out. 

Once Monday came around our exploring slowed and we hit the books.  Jessie and I were in separate classes.  I took group lessons from an adorable little Argentinian woman named Leila. Even though I started in the zero level class we almost never spoke English everything was explained using either hand motions, English sounding Spanish words, or pictures. Leila was amazing, she was patient with me despite my serious lack of language skills. In two weeks I learned more than I learned during two years of Spanish classes back home.  Leila also had a great sense of humor and enjoyed my Spanish blunders. I learned that caliente does not mean temperature hot, but instead means horny...whoops I won't make that mistake again. I also learned that you can't add "ish" to the end of words like you can in the US (well you probably shouldn't there either). Therefore, altoish does not mean that someone is somewhat tall. 

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