08 January, 2009


It is very sunny.

That was my first impression of Buenos Aires (BsAs) as my flight descended upon Argentina’s capital city. Having just left a cold and snowy North American Christmas, summer in January is fantastic!

* * * *

I feel like a child. I am in a foreign land where I lack proper command of the local language and sound less coherent than a 2-year old. This shortcoming makes life in my new home very interesting, at least until I improve my Spanish.

Subte station in Buenos Aires

“Where are you from?” two señoras asked in Spanish as I stepped into a locutoria (calling center and Internet cafe).

“At least I got that one,” I thought to myself. Struggling with my two rucksacks with a combined weight of around 40kg, I replied in the most disgraceful Español, “Yo soy Californiano.”

“Suerte!” they wished me luck as we parted.

My poor Spanish makes daily life more difficult. For example, on my first day I went shopping for a prepaid mobile phone SIM card. While I returned with the right item, I couldn’t successful call customer service and activate my phone. This morning I went to the supermarket and had an entire conversation in Spanish with a very nice señora. Aside from telling her that I am American and I’m in BsAs to study Spanish, I haven’t a clue what we talked about. I just nodded, smiled a lot, and said muchas gracias whenever the lady offered another helpful suggestion.

* * * *

shady Arenales Street just around the corner from my apartment

Palermo is my new neighborhood. From my balcony I can see the leafy Jardin Botanico (Botanical Garden) across the street and I can find life’s necessities all within a few blocks; Disco, a local supermarket, is three blocks from my apartment; I found a nearby store that carries wine from Familia Bianchi, one of my favorite Malbec producers from the Mendoza region; the Subte, Buenos Aires’ subway, is literally right at my building’s front door.

Palermo, the neighborhood of Jorge Luis Borges, is geographically large and culturally and gastronomically diverse. From what my roommate told me, Palermo Soho (because it is trendy like Soho) offers some of Buenos Aires best boutique shopping and bars; Palermo Hollywood (because of the area’s high concentration of movie studios, actors, and directors) is geared towards the fashionistas and entertainers; while Palermo Chico, sitting prettily by the Rio de la Plata (River Plate), is one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhood.

Russel Street in Palermo Soho

* * * *

It is almost 1:30am now. As I gaze across the Jardin Botanico at the nearby highrises of the Belgrano neighborhood, it is getting increasingly challenging to keep my eyes open. Tomorrow is another big day; I will be going to a language institute to register for a beginner Spanish course to start next Monday.


Quickroute said...

The adventure begins! - looking forward meeting up tomorrow

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

This is sounding like the start of a great adventure! I look forward to reading more!

TCL said...

@ Quickroute - See you Friday night for chopp, billiards, and probably more steaks.

@ Vanilla - thanks for coming back!

Baino said...

Wow you didn't waste any time! Looks gorgeous, so colourful. Between you Quickie and ClareBear, I'm warming to South America, really . . .Ooh you get to meet Enda I'm so jealous! Gotta go . . entertaining tourists is hard work! Haha. . get used to the late nights apparently they don't even kick off until 11ish

Megan said...

Oh boy this is going to be some vicarious fun, I bet.

I want to live on that street!

(Which one, Megan?)

Any one!

Ben said...

Hey Ted...glad you made it down ok.

Already enjoying loads of steak?

Good luck with the Spanish class. Just remember to nod and smile a lot and say "si".


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