Return to Argentina
I consider learning Spanish to be the most productive thing I’ve done over the past few years. Remodeling my entire house comes in a close second. While the rapid staccatos of some Mexican friends still whiz above my head, I can read and understand most conversations with an upper-intermediate level of proficiency, and am able to communicate and express my ideas in a solid and confident manner. When deciding on a fall trip I kept that in mind.
As mentioned in previous posts, my “Future Gringo” goal is to take two overseas or international trips per year, one in the spring and one in the fall – when the weather is generally agreeable in most regions. Combined with weekend trips in the U.S., and some bike trips and summer camping in Colorado and Wyoming I think that makes for a well rounded travel schedule. At least for someone who works full time.
With pressing obligations at work factoring in during the first quarter I didn’t think it wise to disappear to Europe for two weeks, even if Skype and VNC can facilitate easy virtual accessibility. So my spring trip was a jaunt down to Puerto Vallarta to hang out with friends. After things settled down at the desk I pondered where to go this fall. Buenos Aires was the first place I found to be a true cultural learning experience and exotic place. Although I’ve been to Europe a couple times since, something about Buenos Aires still intrigues me. I love the culture, the food, the architecture and styles that abounds throughout the city, and the passion of the people young and old.
I’ve decided to return in order to learn more, polish my Spanish, (or Castellano,) and to further explore Argentina. I have an apartment rented in Palermo, and will be traveling with a friend here in Denver who’s an artist and designer, and will no doubt appreciate everything the city has to offer. I’ve maintained contact with a couple friends who I met during my last stay, so in addition to meeting new faces I’ll have some friends to catch up with as well.
I’ll be taking some Spanish classes in order to improve on and refine what I already know. I have no idea how I’ll manage daytime classes while taking part in an active nightlife schedule too, which begins strictly after midnight. I guess I’ll adapt to the Porteños way of doing it.
Although not yet secured I’m planning a side trip down south to Ushuaia or somewhere in Tierra del Fuego. I’ve always wanted to see the “bottom of the world,” – and am working on arranging a glacier hike, a dive in the Beagle Channel, or something similarly active. If anyone has adventurous itineraries I’d love to hear – provided it’s actually doing something rather than just sitting on a boat.
When I visited a few years back we filled some spare time with shopping. I’m not an active shopper, but the exchange rate is still favorable and I found styles and brands that aren’t seen outside of New York and L.A. I’m instructing my friend keep his bags empty and fly down with the bare minimum – so we can spend our first day visiting Abasto Mall or Alto Palermo.
I’m quite enthused about returning. However even though the city is exotic to me, like any other city it’s not without its own unique and specific problems. Last night I was grabbing a bottle of wine and saw that the Smithsonian had a cover feature on Argentina. (Yes my liquor store carries the Smithsonian.) The writer, Daniel Politi, shares my “pie in the sky” view of the city, however in reading the online version at home I saw the comments of several residents and ex-pats offering various criticisms of the “American in Paris” outlook. It’s worth reading and noting the quality of life issues affecting the citizens.
Read the Smithsonian’s “Hola Buenos Aires” here.
And finally I can figure out what Te Mataré Ramirez is all about. Updates to follow…