Welcome to Buenos Aires!

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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In front of the English Tower near the Plaza San Martin.

My initial impressions of the city are consistent with what I had been told.  The only city that I can compare Buenos Aires to is Paris.  Wide avenues (12 lanes), cafes on every corner and even more clothing shops.  Many of the cafes and McDonalds have free high-speed Internet so all I have to do is buy a cup of coffee for a few hours of free access with my pc.  There also seems to be a wide variety of neighborhoods from those with cobblestone streets to recently revamped streets which will keep me busy over the next month.  I spent the first day wondering around the city and went to mass in the Cathedral in the same clothes that I wore on the plane.  It was a rough Sunday afternoon sitting in a cafe tasting empanadas and drinking the coffee (sarcasm).

A war memorial to the Falkland Island wars.
  This is definitely a city that I could live in.

I showed up at my homestay at 4pm and met my new family.  People ask what makes me want to show up in a new country by myself and move in with a family.  The funny thing is that I always ask myself the same question.  Even now after a few days I am still wondering that!  It can be awkward enough when you speak the same language as the person, have the same customs, and know them, but these people are complete strangers. They eat dinner at 8:30pm normally which is ok and may even help my diet.  My room is about 6feet by 12 feet and consists of a tiny desk, a few dressers, a nightstand, and a bed. The first couple of nights I had lots of problems with mosquito bites, but they have put a raid dispenser next to my bed and last night was good.

Calle Florida...my favorite street so far.
  The family has two children which are near my age (24 and 29) and they have invited to a few events over the next few weeks.  If I get more comfortable with my Spanish I might join them.

Class has been good my first week especially since the other students normally didn't show up for my group class. So I essentially have 5 hours of private classes per day.  I have ran a few times despite the crowded streets and have found my way to a few large parks.  The rest of my free time has been spent working on stuff in the states for different business school clubs and applicatiosn for stuff in the fall.  I have also started to plan some other trips to Uruguay and Iguazu Falls on different weekends.

Today is a holiday in Argentina (Labor Day) so no classes.  I went for a 6 mile run in the morning which was easier than normal since there were many cars on the streets before the little robbery incident which is in my other posting for today.  After coming back and showering , I went back out and took the photos that you see attached.

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The school is in this building. The actually have outgrown this building and are also renting another building and I have classes in both.

I was having a nice holiday in Buenos Aires today and walking through a park.  I knew I was a target walking by myself with a backpack on, a lonely planet guide in my hand and my camara around my neck.  I am sure the blond hair, blue eyes and the fact that I was wearing a shortsleeve shirt while everybody else had coats on only made me stand out more.

I was walking through a park near Recoletta cemetary and under some trees when it felt like something dropped on my head. I touched my head and it looked like some water with poop and smelled similar (I later realized it was just vinegar with some die).  A woman came up from behind me to help clean me off.

The grave of General Jose de San Martin. Liberator of Argentina, Chile and Peru.
  I then noticed that there was a lot on my back so I looked up in the trees because this was more than a bird could do.  Then two more people came up and they had wet paper towels and dry paper towels and took me a side and were trying to help.  It was all happening pretty fast and I realized that they may be trying to rob me so I started watching my camara very closely.  At one point the lady touched it, but I made sure that it stayed in plain site.  She then told me i had some on the back of my leg so I started wiping that.  Next thing I knew all three of them were gone. I looked and still had my camara and still had my backpack so I touched my pocket..."damn't my wallet is gone". 

It will take you longer to read the next few things than it actually took to happen.

Looks like a courthouse but it actually is the Cathedral in Buenos Aires.
...I looked up and saw two of them walking quickly away so I through my camara in my bag and put it all on my back.  I began sprinting full speed at them and then began to yell when I saw them getting in a taxi.  I don't remember what I was yelling or even what language I was speaking, but I was loud.  They quickly closed the door but the driver had his window open and I was headed straight at it.  Right before I jumped at him I saw that the driver was scared to death.  As I tried to jump into his window to stop him from driving I conveniently knocked off his side mirror and took a step back from the car.  Suddenly, a wallet came flying out from the taxi.  I quickly picked it up and the taxi drove off with his mirror still sitting in the street.
The grave of Eva Peron (Evita).
  Amazingly, all of my money was actually still in my wallet (it was only US$60) as were my credit cards and ATMS so I was happy with the way things ended.  

I went back to the tree to see if I dropped anything and realized that I had left my lonely planet book.  It was at this time that I also realized that I had apparently gained the attention of quite a few people who were watching.  They then pointed out who the third person was and she was still in view.  I decided to see where she was walking off to and started following her.  I didn't plan to confront her until I saw a police officer, but after a few blocks she eventually began to walk back and started talking to me. She asked me what happended which is the same question that I then asked her.

The second window from the bottom on the corner is the apartment that I am living in. I luckily live in a back room that does not overlook the noisy street.
  She asked me where my hotel and what my telephone number was and I asked her where her friends were but she insisted she was not with them.  I told her that I belive her which is why we should go explain to the police what happened, but she didn't seem too interested in that.  I quickly ran into a cafe and asked them to call the police which gave her enough time to find a taxi and take off also.

While all three or four people got away.  I still I feel some victory in the fact that I scared them all quite a bit.  I figure that I have spent 2 and a half years of my life traveling or living outside the United States and this is the first time that someobody tried to steal something off of my body.  Hopefully it will be 2 and a half more before it happens again.

kmoeddel says:
Your pictures bring back memories of Europe and the walking streets. Pretty nice!
Posted on: May 04, 2008
dlillback says:
Nice work JoeMoeddel....where is your travel wallet? It's a good thing they didn't steal your "camara", since you take nice "piktures".
Posted on: May 02, 2008
ms_travelr says:
Glad that the only thing that got 'hurt' was the book when it fell. You probably freaked the robbers out when you went chasing after them. Not likely you'll be a target for them again.
Posted on: May 02, 2008
In front of the English Tower near…
In front of the English Tower nea…
A war memorial to the Falkland Isl…
A war memorial to the Falkland Is…
Calle Florida...my favorite street…
Calle Florida...my favorite stree…
The school is in this building.  T…
The school is in this building. …
The grave of General Jose de San M…
The grave of General Jose de San …
Looks like a courthouse but it act…
Looks like a courthouse but it ac…
The grave of Eva Peron (Evita).
The grave of Eva Peron (Evita).
The second window from the bottom …
The second window from the bottom…
My room.
My room.