The neverending journey

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
The beautiful mosque by our apartment

            The theme of today is PLAYED. I say this not with a bitter tone, but with an understanding heart that today clearly was a learning experience. We spent the entire day being PLAYED by the Porteños/residents of Buenos Aires.

            The day started off a bit rushed. Luqman wanted to go on a tour of a local mosque that he had seen on his jog. The tour started at noon and we were running late! We hurriedly walked to the mosque only to discover that they would not let us join the tour because we were late. We begged and pleaded with the attendant but he would not budge.

El barrio de Flores
(PLAYED count: 1) Dejected, we headed back to our apartment to eat lunch and regroup.

            After our usual meal of empanadas, we decided we were on a mission to find some affordable even bootleg soccer jerseys. On the previous day, we had asked our tour guide where to go to find the jerseys. He told us to go to a part of town called Once which is also known as the garment district. He informed us that we would find dozens and dozens of stands/shops full of clothing. I rechecked this information in my tour book and the three of us left for this mission. We got to Once and found no discount soccer jersey stands. Instead of these stands, we saw miles and miles of shops that were selling obscure objects such as thongs/underwear, socks, cell phone covers, and bootleg sneakers. We even stopped to ask a local where we could find these discounted soccer jerseys, and all he did was try and sell us the dirty magazines that he was pandering.

Korean church off of Carabobo Street
(PLAYED count: 2)

            I was feeling kinda down, but Luqman suggested that we try and find Koreatown because we had heard that Koreans owned a lot of garment shops that sold these soccer jerseys. We hopped on the subway and took it to the last stop on the A Line to the Primera Junta stop. This led us to a part of Buenos Aires called Flores, which is on the outskirts. After we got off the stop, we asked a local vendor how far to Carabobo Street, which is the main street that Koreatown is off of. He told us about 8 blocks and that “we couldn’t miss it.” After about 15 blocks or so, I started to wonder if we had gotten played and that the vendor had just told us something to get off his back. I doubted that he really knew where Koreatown was. Accordingly, I asked another store owner and he told me that I needed to go for another 10 blocks or so. Seeing my crestfallen face, Luq encouraged me to use my “Kor dar,” that’s Korean radar, to help us. I sure felt something in my heart, but I don’t know if it was just frustration on trying to find my people.

            Finally, we arrived at Carabobo Street and to my delight I saw a group of Korean school children walking. We walked in their direction and thought that we would arrive in Koreatown in no time. This was FAR from the case. We walked about 10 blocks or so and saw NO indication that we were anywhere near Koreans. Thus, we turned around and headed in the opposite direction hoping that we would find Koreatown. We walked to the edge of train tracks where I stopped to ask another shop owner where “las tiendas de coreanos” were. She told me to keep going straight for 4 blocks and then take a left. “You can’t miss it!” she said.

            Well we definitely missed it. In fact, maybe it missed us. We kept asking person after person who kept telling us different directions. We walked for what seemed like forever. At one point, Luq even commented that he thought we had walked into a neighboring country. Koreatown seemed to completely allude us and the Porteños were of no help. (PLAYED count: 1230913208921309832190813209).

Finally, I was ready to throw in the towel. I was so disappointed and almost felt betrayed by my own race. I mean I asked an Asian lady who owned a cleaners and she even failed me! I looked at Luq and Brandon with a depressed face and told them that we should just take a cab to take us back home. However then out of nowhere I heard a beautiful noise.

            As we were standing at the street corner to turn around, I heard some people speaking Korean. I quickly turned my head and asked “Are you all Korean?” The ladies smiled at nodded at me. They asked me if I needed help and I lamented my tale of trying to find Koreatown. After talking some more, I learned that Koreatown was on Carabobo Street but it was a ways down from where we were. I asked the ladies what was the best way to get there and one of them told me to take a taxi and it should cost no more than 10 pesos. I gratefully thanked the group of Korean ladies and got in the cab.

            We finally arrived, with a taxi count of $9.60 pesos, in Koreatown! I told the guys that I was very relieved and happy that the group of Korean ladies had finally steered us in the right direction.

“She even got the amount of pesos for the taxi ride correct,” commented Brandon.

“Well you know those Asians and math,” replied Luq.

I was floored by the dozens and dozens of Korean shops. I went inside a Korean grocery store and found all of my favorite Korean chips, candies, and drinks. There were even Korean bakeries that sold some of my favorite Korean pastries. We walked around some more and I was surprised to even find two Korean churches. The thing that I found most interesting was that I really found myself shocked that the Koreans spoke fluent Spanish. I have become so accustomed to being surrounded by Koreans who speak English and Korean. It is very rare that I meet someone of the same race that speaks fluent Spanish. However, when I processed this thought, I felt kind of stupid. Why wouldn’t they speak Spanish? They live in a Spanish speaking country?! Thus, I realized my prejudice and felt a bit embarrassed.

            After walking around Koreatown some more, we decided to take a taxi to take us back to Locos, the sports bar in Recoleta. We hopped in a cab and made our way to Recoleta. We enjoyed a hearty meal and watched part of Santos and Caracas soccer match, which is part of the Toyota Liberty Cup.

            Afterwards we hailed a cab and headed back to our apartment. We sat in the cab, half awake due to our exhaustion. However, I soon noticed that our driver was not taking us in the route back to our apartment. I asked him what he was doing and he told me that he had to take an alternate route due to Guemes, the street we live on, was a one way street. I gave him a puzzled look and then he proceeded to drive us in a big circle to get to our apartment (PLAYED count: who knows, but this one was the worst one!). I was indignant! I could not believe that he PLAYED us! Luq yelled “you insult our intelligence,” in English because he was so upset. Then to top it off, the cab driver claimed he did not have change for us. I told him that either he could give us change for 50 or 20 pesos, or we would just get out. He kept insisting that he did not have change. Finally, I became fed up and proceeded to open the door. Finally, realizing that I was serious about my threat, he grudgingly got change out of his pocket.

            We rode up the elevator in silence and walked into our apartment. We all changed and made our way to the living room to unwind a bit after a traumatic day. We all sat there in silence for a while, until I decided that we should change the mood. I started to chortle which then turned into laughter.

            “What’s so funny?” asked Brandon.

            “We got PLAYED all day!” I replied.

            “How is that funny?” asked Luqman.

            “It’s not funny. It’s not funny at all. It’s actually pretty sad and tragic and pretty unfulfilling.” I replied back still in laughter.

            “Then why do you keep laughing?!” asked Brandon.

            “I dunno. I guess it’s just me trying to balance everything out. Today kinda sucked guys, but you know, I’m glad you guys were with me. I love you both!” I said as I hugged them. They both looked at me with “what is wrong with her?!” faces and then both let out a small laugh.

            I continued to laugh to myself as I made my way to bed, hoping that tomorrow would definitely be a better day.

kelnino says:
If it makes you feel any better, the oven caught on fire today. Not only did the fire alarms go off, but I had to finish cooking by bisquits in the microwave. There were obviously terrible. Then I sprayed myself in the eyes with PAM. Basically, I got PLAYED by the kitchen.
Posted on: May 15, 2007
KDeeDoubleU says:
Crazy Americans...
Posted on: May 13, 2007
rogue says:
OH Hannah Cho...I'm glad you guys made it out of there OK. Sounds like a pretty crazy, event-filled day...even with being PLAYED so many times. Lovin the blog!!
Posted on: May 13, 2007
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The beautiful mosque by our apartm…
The beautiful mosque by our apart…
El barrio de Flores
El barrio de Flores
Korean church off of Carabobo Stre…
Korean church off of Carabobo Str…
Sponsored Links