For those of you not keeping up with my whereabouts, I am currently residing in Buenos Aires for the next two months studying Spanish and absorbing the culture. I did make a brief stop in the U.S. to pay my taxes, change clothes and tend to my foot. I am still trying to find the upside of that visit other than a much needed haircut as I owed money to the government (Yes, I can run for office since I pay my taxes), the doctor diagnosed me with nerve damage and I could really use those unworn tank tops and sundresses I lugged through Africa since it’s 85 degrees and humid here.
The last few days I spent exploring neighborhoods to live (temporarily of course). Buenos Aires is a very cosmopolitan city and the central downtown area looks like a cross between Fifth Avenue and the Champs d’Elysées. There are tree-lined streets, numerous parks and gardens, cafes, pubs and restaurants and apartments galore. I am crashing with mi amigo, Tim, who moved here permanently from NYC last Fall. Our Spanish teacher at the Cervantes Instituto (NYC) would be so proud of us, although Tim is definitely a few months ahead of me on the learning curve.
Locals definitely enjoy comparing Buenos Aires to Paris and New York. Tim says Buenos Aires is more like New York in the late 70s than present day but I won’t touch that statement. I find the city clean, safe and very inviting. There are a few skyscrapers but nothing like Manhattan or even Chicago. In fact, other than the parks and some of the older buildings the architecture doesn’t resemble either city. On the other hand, the people are beautiful. They are an interesting mix of ethnic Argentinean (Amerindian/Inca) and European. There are approximately 13 million people living in Buenos areas where ninety-seven percent of the population is of European descent with Spanish and Italian immigrants comprising the bulk of that number. The influx of Europeans dates back to Argentina’s independence from Spain in 1816 when the new government opened the doors for other Europeans to work and live here. The Italians worked at the docks, while the Germans and Spanish had much to do with the cattle industry. The majority of people in Buenos Aires are Catholic but there is a small Jewish population as well.
Fitness is considered a necessity (I guess especially if you are eating slabs of beef and drinking wine every night). There are gyms, running tracks and Pilates studios on every block. Let me give it to you straight: People are in shape with long legs and flawless skin. It has left me a bit envious as I walk the streets thinking I should visit a Pilates class soon. To match those fabulous bodies, women wear cute little tops and shorts and men wear T-shirts and jeans. However, the dress is a bit more conservative than I expected. I figured with the tango and late nightlife people would dress more provocatively but in fact they dress very European with a flair for originality. Buenos Aires is not Rio and it’s not Miami.
I chose to restart my blog as I can’t talk on the phone and wanted to share some thoughts on my new city and the movie I watched tonight. After three stressful days of searching for an apartment, speaking inaudible Spanish and watching the Spartan’s play in the NCAA tournament (Go GREEN), I ventured to la cinema to see, He’s Just Not That Into You, properly translated into Spanish as Simplemente No Te Quire. When translated back into English, it means, “he simply doesn’t want you.” I’m not one for sitting around waiting for life to pass me by but I did find it ironic that the first character to get dumped in the movie was appropriately named Kelli Ann. I am sure it’s just a coincidence and I do spell Kelly with a Y and not an I but still. It left me pondering my Argentinean dating plan of attack. I’m hopeful the kissing bandit in me will reemerge in Buenos Aires when I am making an ass out of myself trying to tango. I expect some very HOT, SEXY Argentinean man to whisper Spanish sweet nothings in my ear and the best part about that is he might be telling me I smell and I won’t even know it.