argentina throwback: semana santa y mis visitantes

note: these argentina throwback posts are migrated from an old blog. please ignore all the formatting issues that may have occurred. i don’t want to go through and fix them all. 🙂


Well apparently after only one week of classes, my program decided we needed a break, an Easter break! I had Thursday through Monday off. Monday was not off because of Easter but because it was memorial day for the war over the Falkland Islands. But since I do not have classes on Tuesday either, I had a very nice break, during which my favorite fake-Chilean and her Australian roomie came to visit me. Kelly and Sam. I was not much of a tour guide due to my March 1 arrival. Two weeks did not make me a professional. They, on the other hand, were prepped and ready with Kelly’s Lonely Planet guide book to discover the city. So I tagged along offering whatever help I could.

Tuesday: Kelly and Sam arrive and eat meat. I meet them in some small restaurant on Lavalle where it is apparent that the workers are eager to close. So we travel back to their hostel near San Telmo and get a recommendation for a fun bar. La Puerta Roja. The three of us hang out and drink a beer while I learn how to decipher Sam’s Aussi accent. It took me a day, but now I have the hang of it. Words to learn from Sam: jumper = sweater, runners = tennis shoes, fanny = vagina. Good to know.
Wednesday: I have classes, but then I meet them later in the park. We attempt to go to this sushi club and dance show on the water in Puerto Madero, but apparently our online reservation does not make it through correctly. So instead we walk a bit further and eat sushi without the dance show. It was a very nice dinner with very nice people haha. A storm erupts and we get to watch all the people eating outside scramble for cover. The storms here are amazing. Brief and loud. Beautiful streaks of lightning and thunder and loud downpours of water all calmed within the half hour. I think we call it a night and head home, but I could be wrong because it is hard to remember.
Thursday: First the largest bookstore in South America, El Ateneo.
Then, San Telmo baby. We head to the hippies. We stare at all the goods laid out on blankets on the street, tour a small store with lots of treasures, and make friends with a toothless, dreaded man playing the guitar and some other instruments. He sits down at our table and asks me if I like Bob Marley. “Por supuesto.” So he begins…no woman no cry…I think those were the only lyrics he knew in English because he hummed the rest and then randomly transitioned into everything’s gonna be all right. He introduced us to his friends and we gave him some change. Then another band set up on the Plaza and we enjoyed an amazing drum solo along with a blues voice that unexpectedly came out of a hippie looking man. We sifted through some antique shops and took the subte back to Palermo so we could catch our reservation at Thelonius, a local jazz club. It was amazing. The singer apparently performs there Thursday, and now my roomie Brittany is obsessed, sooo we are going again this Thursday. She was pretty amazing. Although the percussionist was a bit cheesy with his t-shirt displaying a chain necklace on it. Brittany’s friend Zac and his gay uncles who were visiting came also. Tons of fun. Talked of art and music and San Francisco, my home away from home. After the club….it was
Friday: We headed to Plaza Serrano for more partying and ran into my friends. We hung out with them and got some nachos at Nativo. Then headed back to meet up with some other friends. Around 6am, I went home. Kelly and Sam went back to their new hostel in Recoleta. But despite our distance, we all watched the same sunrise around 6:30 or 7. I finally stayed awake for a sunrise… After many hours of sleep, I met them at their hostel at the time they decided, 2:30pm, but not to my surprise, they were both passed out still. The front desk woman told me to go wake their butts up. By 3:30pm, we had begun our “American” day in BA. It started with a quick lunch at McDonalds. Then off to the amazing tourist site of Recoleta Cemetery where Evita is buried. It is a city in itself. And so bizarre to be able to see all the mausoleums with coffins within hand’s reach. A crazy tradition we have….keeping dead bodies in wooden boxes surrounded by cement buildings, where the bigger they are the more important you are or were I guess.
Next, off to a photography exhibit to the Borges Cultural Center. Rene Burri. Interesting images. My favorites were of people, like Picasso and Che. His work seems very documentary but with this edge of leaving out the truth at the same time. Then we tried to go see The Bodies exhibit, but after traveling to the ticket sales place aka the mall, we discovered it is now in Santiago, lucky for Kelly and Sam, not for me. So we went back to my house to regroup since our plans were foiled. Decided to go to a theatre work, got there, computer was broke… typical South America…. so they would not sell us tickets. So again we returned homeward and decided to see a movie. Darjeeling Unlimited. Very good if you like Wes Anderson films. We were a bit early so again we burned some time at McDonalds. They are ridiculously nice here. Cafe section. Ice cream section. Then the normal food section. Finished film. Went to sleep.
Saturday: The weekend markets. Recoleta. Then Plaza Serrano. Lots and lots of shopping and people. I still have not bought anything. I do not know why I have not been in compulsive shopping mode like usual. Maybe I have finally learned how to save… probably not. After a day of shopping and finding the infamous bookmaking store we were searching for all day, we had dinner. Then Sam and Kelly went to the theatre work we couldn’t get into the night before, but I rested. Too much for me for one weekend. But, I think I will have to go see it now. Because it was blind theater. In complete darkness. They tell the whole story through smells and sounds and touches. Crazy. While they were gone, Brittany and I watched Across the Universe. My obsession. When everyone returned, we headed to Plaza Serrano once more to grab a drink before Kelly and Sam caught their 6:45am flight. Hoesgarrden. Look it up. Good stuff. Lucky Sam.
Sunday: Visitors gone. Easter here. CHOCOLATE EGG TIME.
My “mom” gave me one before she left on vacation. But my “sister” said I could not eat it until Easter. Turns out, it was worth the wait and was filled with chocolate covered peanuts. Yum. For the long weekend, everyone left the house. I was all alone. Scary at first. Very nice at second. Spent the day relaxing. Calling the family.
Monday: Recuperation day number two. A lot of Dawson’s Creek, my other obsession. Some homework. Then a headache. Then a bath. Then sleep.
Tuesday: Errands. Picked up my Media and Society (documentary film class) coursepack. Lots of reading to do before next Monday. I still need to come up with more in-depth film themes. My classes are going great though. My schedule is as follows:
Media and Society (film class)
Argentine Poetry (Borges and other amazing poets that I cannot wait to read)
Spanish (required, but sounds fun and lots of group projects)
Painting (doesn’t start until April 4, but at an Argentine art university)
Jazz (doesn’t start until March 31, but at an Argentine dance university)
So, overall an amazing schedule in my eyes. All of which will transfer back to Michigan and be applied towards my majors! Meanwhile, I am also trying to organize my Fall 2008 schedule for Michigan which I have to register for on April 3. Craziness.
A list of noted cultural differences for you:
everyone wears shoes inside. brittany and i still don’t. i like barefeet.
you have to ask for the bill when you want it. they do not bring it unless you ask. so you can sit there all day and they will think you are still doing fine.
children all wear uniforms that look like lab coats to school. different colors and styles mean different schools and grades.
dinner is at 9:30pm.
no one sleeps until around 2am.
they love the simpsons. (i guess that is a cultural similarity)
cigarettes and coffee are accepted as an essential part of everyone’s lives.
boys and girls cannot be just friends. you either are dating a boy, or you have all girlfriends.
plastic surgery is like a right of passage.
converse all stars are golden!
Okay. Homework calls. In Spanish. Get out the dictionary….

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