Buenos Aires Conundrums
Buenos Aires Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
January 10th, 2010 – by: alexpc
I stepped outside to find the sky darkly clouded. And after about a ten minute walk with my cold hands in my pockets, among the jagged unkempt sidewalks which I instantly found do not work well in the rain, I safely walked down the slippery wet stairs into the subway station and inserted my 30 trip card into the mechanized gate and walked through with my shoes now gushing with water onto the platform and waited for a total of about 30 seconds for the subway cars to arrive.
I was now in the downtown financial district of Buenos Aires and passing men in business suits, stubborn women still wearing heels, and the occasional elderly woman wearing the standard elderly woman outfit so familiar across the globe.
My pace was unmatched even as my head dodged the dark flimsy umbrellas, left and right, who’s spokes stuck out perfectly at eye level.
A large man dressed in sweatpants and an old graphic t-shirt displaying a very faded anime cartoon character stood out at an intersection corner yelling something incomprehensible to my ears through the vehicle and pedestrian traffic now pounding and splashing away at the hard puddled pavement around me.
Immediately below the man was a basketful of different size umbrellas. I needed one of those so, I swiftly shifted to the side out of the way of the walking crowds and paid the sweatpants man 15 pesos for a small black umbrella I had to perfectly angle with such grace and precision as I scaled the rough rocks of Buenos Aires sidewalk, so that the slightest wind would not blow my recently purchased, soon to be souvenir inside out and become so quickly evolved, like most cheap umbrellas, into a broken seemingly crippled one with it’s spokes sticking out and bent in all different directions from a formerly frustrated owner beating it against an unsuspecting lamp post over and over again and finally being discarded on the wet puddled ground where the street meets sidewalk.
Yet I made it, only 10% less wet if I had not bought Herald, the name I had promised to give my newly coveted umbrella if he did not lose his shape in the wind and fail on me like his counterparts scattered amongst the wet ground.
I stepped in front of the first desk in sight with my now squishy shoes and asked politely where the placement exam for foreign students was going to take place.
“Permiso?” the old scratchy voiced woman asked.
Slowing the frequency of my now rapid breaths I repeated my question slowly and she understood.
Her finger pointed to the window I needed to go to.
It held a line of about 10 people. I stood and waited hoping to decipher any English among my fellow line waiters and at the same time hoped that I had not arrived too late.
The website had stated to arrive as early as possible since the classes are filled very quickly.
The morning class is what I desired, it takes place from 9 am to 12. This way I hope, I can get up and start the day off early with the other commuters and people that move the life of this city.
Finally it was my turn at the counter underneath the window. I hurriedly stepped up inches away from the glass I was now fogging with my breath and asked her about the exam in the best Spanish I could utter. She lazy swiveled in her tall chair to her left and pulled out a piece of white paper, wrote something on it, and nonchalantly instructed me to fill this out and come back at 3 pm.
Was I too late for the morning class I nervously wondered? No, it can’t be, the woman wrote on the top of this paper that states that I was the 12th person in the order to receive this particular form.
Initially I handled the paper delicately, like I would Egyptian papyrus. Now how am I going to prevent this from getting wrinkled and wet from now until 3o’clock this afternoon, I wondered.
But I folded the paper twice, to make an almost square, as my concern quickly faded and turned into frustration due to the race I had made to get here early in the morning’s rain to gain that coveted spot, as the website had made it appear, in the class of my choosing.
As I squished my way to the large wooden cathedral like doors of the University and down the four concrete steps onto the sidewalk I opened up Harold then closed him seconds later upon realizing that the rain had now seized.
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