La Pasión

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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I have been in this city for almost a week now, yet it seems like I've been here for months.  It's easy to blend in and absorb the culture.  Everywhere I go, I notice a general passion common to the entire city.  This past thursday, we attended a Boca Juniors futbol game, which was a fantastic way to be introduced to a large part of the culture here.  I say 'passion', but it's more than that.  People put their hearts into this game of futbol, which is a pride of everyone in attendance.  Looking around the stadium, I saw every eye glued to what was going on in the game. 

If it can be compared to a game of American football, I notice a big difference; people in the stands in America will drink, turn around to chat with friends, talk on the phone, or even bring their laptops to get work done (I've seen it!).  Here, nobody does anything that would take their attention off the game.  Songs and chants fill the air during the game, and when the game gets exciting people will join in singing whatever is being played at the time.  It truly is a wonderful game that unites people and can even bring a pause to civil war.

Another thing I have noticed around the city is all the PDA (public display of affection).  People are not shy about where they show their love.  On the train, in a park, or on the sidewalk, you will find couples kissing and groping like there was nobody around.  Their passion for each other shows no boundary.  Two nights ago we were sitting in a cafe and saw a couple outside doing a bit more than just groping or kissing; her head finally appeared above the car they were behind and he zipped his pants up.  Quite shocking, and something you would never see in the States. 

When people here do anything, they put full effort and passion into it.  The cemetary we visited was full of elaborate mausoleums which the family of the deceased usually keeps clean.  All the food I've tried has been wonderful.  The museum we visited inside the Boca stadium was great; there was a wall full of championship years, with videos playing of great goals, what was going on in Argentina at the time, and what was going on in the world at the time.  I can't wait to see more of the city and this part of the world - there is a different atmosphere here that is welcoming and flexible.  Not to say that the US is entirely unfriendly, but people here seem to go out of their way to meet and talk to others. 
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Even at 5 weeks into the program, I am discovering vast cultural differences.  To preface my story, I met up with a girl from a different program 3 weeks ago, and we had fun after going to a club.  I found out the next day that I was "very brave" to have had her stay with me that night.  Fast forward 3 weeks to last night.  I find her again after a night of going out to a lounge/club where they were playing videos of Beatles cover bands, U2 and Oasis.  As we are laying down, two short guys in hoodies come into the room with a bucket of freezing cold water.  Guess where it went?  If you said all over the 2 of us, my bed, my clothes, and a little on my friend sleeping in the bunk bed below us, you are correct.  Needless to say, they bolted out of my room and it's still a mystery of who might do something like that.  Looking back on the situation, my best guess is the maid (or whoever watches security cameras late at night) saw us go in and not come out, and found one of her friends here to do her dirty work.  In any case, it sent a clear message - someone did not want me doing what I was in this building.  A simple "no" would have sufficed, but apparently that was not machismo enough for someone.  Something gives me the feeling that it was more or less a cultural attack - it was most likely a couple Hispanic kids doing this, and we were two Americans on their turf.  I feel if we were two Hispanics, there would have been a better way to say it than degrading us, maybe knocking on the door and kicking her out.  Needless to say, my friend sleeping below me had some questions this morning, like "why were half of my jeans wet this morning?"  It was luck that his brand new leather jacket was far enough away from the splash zone that it was unaffected.  In any case, the immaturity and lack of respect for personal space became very apparent that night.