Learning Spanish and getting to know Buenos Aires
25.04.2009 24 °C
I´ll begin with photos of a few of my favourite places in Buenos Aires before I give you a quick update.
This is probably the coolest of the Barrios (districts), with beautiful old buildings and a vast market on Sundays when the streets are packed with folk art, crafts, live music, and of course...tango!
The poorest neighborhood in Buenos Aires is also the most colourful. Its very touristy on the main shopping road, and then beyond that its not advisable to venture. Eep.
Just beyond the city is an enormous ecological reserve teaming with wildlife and tropical trees. It seems crazy, walking straight from roaring traffic to somewhere like this.
After one week at Expanish I feel I´ve gained a good foundation on which to build my Spanish. I´m already noticing the benefits. I can now actually have two way conversations with people (even if limited) and do some essential things like decipher menus and understand what waiters are saying to me. Phew. I´ll keep learning as I travel around. The flatshare has been great too. I´ve been living with Spanish speaking Carolina and two really nice guys from London, George and Simon, who are learning at a more advanced level. They´ve all been very welcoming. The other night we all went out to a Brazilian bar and had a bit of a boogie. The Argentinians don´t generally eat dinner until 10pm, and then maybe they´ll leave to go for drinks somewhere between 11pm and 2am. The bars seem to be open all night. When do they sleep? I don´t know!
I NEED TO TAKE A CHILL PILL
I do love it here but its a pretty hard place to relax. I had a few days over the last week where I reached a kind of burnt out stage. I was still dragging myself into classes every morning then rushing round trying to see everything and forgetting to eat and sleep properly then wondering why I felt funny. I´m now adjusting and making sure I keep myself hydrated and well fed. The next two places on my itinerary should also help me take it a bit more easy.
BIG WATERFALLS AND SUNNY BEACHES
This evening I´m catching an overnight bus to Foz Iguacu, some spectacular waterfalls on the border of Argentina and Brazil. They´re one of the National Geographic´s top three natural wonders of the world, and everyone I´ve spoken to says I HAVE to go. Okay. I´ll be there for two nights including atour of the Argentinian side and the Brazilian side. I´ll be back in Buenos next weekend (when I plan to hit the town with Brian and check out some more crazy bars) before heading on to my next destination, Montevideo. Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay and is supposed to be a very beautiful and beachy city, though comparable to Buenos Aires in some ways. All the cities on the Rio del Plata tend to share a similar European influence and folk culture. Its also a great place to see live candombe, a very cool Afro-Latino style of percussion music. I´ve booked three nights in a hostel there and then I´ll see what happens. The chances are my next move will be to get a coach up into Porto Alegre in Southern Brazil. You may have noticed this is completely different from my original plan. Well...
My next update may be next weekend if I get time but we´ll see. I hope y´all in England are having a wonderful start to the summer. Despite my rather enviable position at the moment I was very jealous to hear that Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart came to see a film at the Tyneside recently. I wish I´d been there to give Sir Ian a hug. Fool of a took! Speak soon, lots of love. Mark x