Evita Peron

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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(Week One)

 

I knew very little about the history of Argentina before coming here for study abroad.  I knew even less about Evita Peron as a historical figure.  In fact, all that I really knew was that Madonna played the role of Eva in a movie that we received extra credit for in Spanish class for watching in middle school. 

 

Through the readings, lectures and especially in our tours of the city I have begun to understand the extreme significance of the mysterious figure of Eva Peron in Argentine history.  She was beloved by many and yet hated by many others during her time influencing the governance and programs of Argentina along with her husband Juan Peron. 

 

On one tour in particular, the importance of compañera Evita moved from words on a page or spoken in class to reality when we witnessed an old man recount his personal experiences with her.  This took place at the CGT building that was given to the workers as a means for all of the unions to come together and unite.  He shared his story of waiting in line for more than one and half days to see her body after she died of cancer.  This man became very emotional and it was obvious that she had touched him with her social reforms that allowed others like him to enter other sectors of society that had eluded them before. 

 

Evita allowed for the poor working class to participate in many parts of Argentina’s culture due to her accomplishments and their raise in salary.  Seeing this man share with us his own experiences allowed me to see another side of her. 

 

It also seems to me that she acted largely out of revenge due to her past to get back at elite society.  She may have hurt many aspects of this portion of society.  However, what she did for the majority of the country was to provide a better life or at least a possibility of one. 

 

Evita created a means for the working class to join society and enjoy the benefits of Argentina culture.  Even if what Eva Peron did harmed some parts of society, I feel as though what she did for the poor was praiseworthy.  She will forever remain one of the most important figures in Argentine history.

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(Week One)

 

One of the very first things that I noticed in Buenos Aires was the large number of dog owners and dogs roaming the streets.  Everywhere you go in the city you will be sure and see all shapes, sizes and breeds of dogs throughout you trip. 

 

The interesting side of what I have witnessed is that there are apparently no leash laws of any kind, as many dogs with owners accompany them without any form of restraint.  Also, there are many stray dogs that linger around restaurants and trash piles looking for a meal.  Both the strays and the dogs with homes use the sidewalks and streets as toilets. 

 

Just as you can find dogs across the city, you can find their droppings everywhere as well.  I have had the great pleasure of stepping in it twice already.  Dog owners have no problem letting their dog answer the call of nature in the middle of the street or sidewalk. 

 

This in particular cannot be found in the United States.  People back home would find many faults with this type of behavior and would raise issue with the obvious sanitation problems.  Perhaps the most interesting part of this story is that I have not seen it anywhere outside of Buenos Aires.  I did not see this in Mendoza, el Tigre or in Colonia, Uruguay.  People here do not really seem to mind the streets littered with dog excrements.  I guess all I can do is watch where I step and do my best to ignore the scent of this and the stray canines.

(Week One)

Another first impression that I shared upon entering the city was the number of pizzerias and other Italian restaurants I saw.  In the taxi ride to the residencia we passed one pizza place after another.  I had no idea what to expect when traveling for my first time out of the United States besides going to the Bahamas on a cruise.  In my mind, I never expected to see so many types of foods that I knew from home.  In fact, I had prepared myself for the opposite because I had intended to see all different sorts of foreign foods and restaurants while only recognizing familiar foods on rare occasions. 

After the first few lectures of class I came to realize why there was such a large Italian influence on the tastes of Argentines in Buenos AiresArgentina is similar to the United States in that its population is made up of a large number of immigrants.  Early in Argentina’s history, especially during its golden years in the early twentieth century, there were many immigrants from Italy that would forever shape part of the Argentine culture.  This large portion of their society is still very prevalent today. 

Again, there are pizzerias on almost every block.  Italian foods remain very popular.  It is also apparent that Argentines share a love for olives that top every pizza that I have had to date.  Also, on a tour in Mendoza we saw the large amounts of olives produced for olive oil that is also very popular here as well.  The bottom line is that what I’ve seen is not what I expected.  However, I like pizza and have not had to suffer withdrawals here in Buenos Aires.