Me with Lumumba and Vanessa in the plaza at Retiro in Buenos Aires.
Hola queridos lectores!
Well I arrived in Argentina yesterday after three long, but all in all comfortable, flights from Newark, which totalled over 18 hours of travel time. Although I was a bit tired from what seemed an epic journey during which much of my intelligence was siphoned away while watching "Catch and Release"--I assure you, one of the most impressively mediocre Romantic comedies known to man-- I somehow managed to successfully explain in Spanish why I did not have a student visa to the immigration agent, a victory that I took as an auspicious sign for the rest of my trip. Sure enough, a taxi driver holding a placard with my name whisked me off to meet my host family, the Campagnos, for the first time. After about an hour of whizzing through traffic that was "interesting," although admittedly less harrowing than that of Thailand, I arrived safe and sound at my new home where I was greeted by my host mother, Marieli, her daughter, Maria, and a very welcome spread of croissants, cheeses, heavy cream, and other coronary inducing delights.
I consider the Argentine definition of winter to be very lax when there are still orange trees blooming on the streets.
After about only a half hour, I was brought to Marieli's sister's home about fifteen minutes away, where I was fed more food and met four other exchange students from the program. We spent a wonderful afternoon in the yard talking with our host families, eating, and walking around the neighborhoods, which are very unique with truly unique architecture of an old world elegance that is certainly hard to come by in New Jersey. The other exchange students were extremely friendly and we all shared in the burden of trying to decipher the Argentine accent, which I imagine to be the equivalent of a Scottish Brogue in English. Much to my embarassment, I discovered that my host family did not own a horse, as I tought they had previously told me, but rather a Guinea Pig by the name of Sammy.
Three gentleman tangoing for the amusement of the tourists and passerbys.
I can only imagine what other errors are to come. After a walk around the small but modern and attractive university that we will be attending come Monday, we returned to Marieli's sister's home where we ate once again, just in case the 4 pounds of carbs we had consumed wore off within the past half hour. Exhausted from red eye flights and gorging ourselves, we returned to our respective homes, where I took a nap and chatted with my family before eating dinner at about nine o clock. Exhausted, but extremely happy after a great day, I finally collapsed into bed around midnight.
Today I met up with three of the exchange students, Cara from Washington DC, and Lumumba and Vanessa from Harvard, to journey into Buenos Aires. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the train from my suburb, Beccar, takes a little under an hour to reach downtown and costs all of thirty cents! We spent most of the day simply wondering around the city streets and taking in all that Buenos Aires has to offer.
Can you tell that they are into meat here?
The architecture is amazing, the town is filled with open plazas and tiled streets, and everything is extremely cheap as the American dollar is three times as strong here. We found that BA is extremely lively (people leave their homes to go dancing/drinking at about 1 am and return at about 6 in the morning) with a ton of street performers tangoing in the middle of wide boulevards that are blocked off to traffic. All in all it's been a great time, and I can honestly say that after only two days, Argentina is one of my favorite countries that I have visited. I would write more, but for now its time to say buenas noches, as despite the freakish amounts of delicious coffee that I've consumed, I'm fairly exhausted. Hope all is well back home.