Destinations, South America

Why do I always seem to find the creepy guys?

April 30, 2009 • By

I may have mentioned my building super.  It turns out he isn’t the super he is the engineer.  He has been a great sport helping me learn Spanish and forcing me to speak to him.  Of course, I didn’t think anything of it until he added me on Facebook.  The first day as “friends,” I received 12 messages.

The next morning the messages continued to appear on my blackberry.  I took some of the messages to class so my teacher Alberto could translate.  Upon reading the first few lines, he burst into tears laughing.  When Anna and I didn’t understand his excitement, he asked me if I understood what the words meant in English.  When I shook my head no, he started laughing more and walked around the room reciting the words in Spanish.  I knew I was in trouble when in English he started saying things like perfume and flowers.

My teacher then wrote the word poesia on the board.  Ahhh!  Entiendo.  He wrote me a poem. What to do?  My class decided I should leave it be and stop responding.  Now I answer once a day about the weather or the magazine I read or some other protest going on in Buenos Aires.  It does not always pay to be nice.

The weather heated up this week in Argentina.  It reached 90 on two of the days.  I don’t know what these people would do in a real winter.  They bust out their scarves and winter coats when the thermostat drops below 20C (70 degrees).  Here I am sweating while walking to class and these people are decked out for a snow storm.  It must really be hot here in December. Otherwise,  there is no explanation for the excessive layering of clothes.  I know they sweat because I’ve seen them do so at the gym.  I guess it’s one of those things I just have to accept as “foreign” to me.

Today, I finished up my level one course and move to level 2.  It’s really been a great week with lots of tango (I only fell once this week) and some school activities.  Last night, I tried the tango intermediate lessons and of course I got stuck with the guy from Africa who speaks a combination of Swahili and Spanish and who definitely cannot count.  I mean seriously I was counting out uno, dos, tres, and I was pushing him and pulling him to go the direction I wanted him to go.  After some chick in her 5 inch tango shoes nailed my toe, I told my partner politely I needed to leave.  I figured being dropped at 2 pm by a professional partner and then a foot massacre at 10 pm there was no need for further torturing.  I needed to get a good night’s sleep for my test anyway.

I’ve had some great wine and food this week.  William and I checked out Chinatown which turned out to be great fun and even tastier food.  Chinatown seems to be the place where many of the locals purchase international food. The lines were so long in the markets I wondered if a storm was brewing on the horizon.  This had to be one of the biggest suppliers of restaurants in Argentina.  They had noodles galore, fresh fish and I even found my Skippy peanut butter.  I really wanted the Skippy but after waiting in line for 15 minutes, my patience thinning, my stomach growling, I gave up on having my American treat.

I also checked out a new neighborhood called “Las Carnitas.”  It caters to a European crowd and more well-off locals.  Monday was a gorgeous night so I ventured out for a walk.  The streets are lined with gorgeous trees some of the leaves turning colors while others fighting the cooling air.  It reminded me of Lincoln Park(Chicago) or Brooklyn Heights(NYC).  There were many couples and groups of men and women dining on the sidewalks.  That is one thing Buenos Aires has mastered.  The use of outdoor space.  It’s truly remarkable the number of restaurants and cafes serving underneath the stars.

As I was getting hungry, I decided to taste test a local favorite, Campo Bravo.  I seated myself next to two businessmen so I could eavesdrop on their conversation and possibly learn a word or two.  It turns out they were from Brazil and didn’t understand a word.  Good thing I brought my journal I had a lot I needed to add about William anyway(HA!).  I ordered a bottle of wine because I didn’t like the glasses they were offering and at $10USD a bottle I figured I could afford to splurge.  Don’t worry I used portion control and besides I needed to save room for my amazing dulce de leche crepe with cream flavored ice cream.  Simply divine.

While I’ve contained my steak feeding frenzy, I’m finding it very hard to avoid the pizza restaurants.  They are seriously on every single corner and most of the cafes in between those corners.  I’ve now made it my mission to find the best pizza in Buenos Aires.  The first month I started strong but lately my last few picks have been disappointing to say the least and I’ve had to make up for it by sampling the apple or banana panqueques (desserts).

I’m off to Montevideo, Uruguay tomorrow for the holiday weekend.  Argentina celebrates LABOR DAY on May, 1.  I’m not sure employees do a whole lot of laboring to deserve another day off from work but I am not currently in the position to judge.  Montevideo is a popular South American spot and an easy jump for Argentinians.  I’m traveling with Landra(a fellow American and friend from school) and William on the 3-hour ferry ride from Buenos Aires.

It should be interesting.   More information on Uruguay later this weekend.