Monday, February 7, 2011
buenos aires en diciembre
flashback to december, again. i wish there was some kind of sound effect i could add to accompany this. we haven't posted many photos from our daily life in buenos aires yet, mostly because i wanted to do this epic organization and captioning effort that would have melted your faces and blown your minds. realizing that this will prevent us from ever posting more photos, here are some snaps from back in december.
it's funny how when away from home, each month (or sometimes even week) feels like a completely different epoch. as if darwinian-galapagos evolution would take place in between and a new set of beasties would be with us on our trip. in december, we lived in palermo soho. which is a convenient analogy, actually. it feels a lot like nyc's soho, full of boutiques and restaurants and many humans speaking english. there were great things about living there in terms of access to bars and dining, but it was suboptimal in terms of true immersion in an ex-US city. so in january we moved to a different part of the barrio (palermo is big), on the border btw palermo viejo and recoleta. we like our new neighborhood better because it feels more residential, less riddled with ex-pats. and we're closer to the trains and to better helado. but i digress.
in december, we went to spanish school 20 hours a week. it was called I.B.L. we don't recommend it. we chose it thinking we were signing up for a small school justin had gone to several years ago called I.L.E.E. but IBL ate ILEE in some sort of corporate take over and there was no sign of his alma mater. i say corporate because it felt like they were pretty focused on taking your cash-- the classes were overcrowded with people at disparate levels. it was fun meeting people from all over the world (a typical class might have australians, brits, germans, dutch, kuwaitis, brazilians, etc.), but of course none of these people spoke spanish so during breaks etc. we always defaulted to english. bah. (although many of the fun people we met through school are in these photos-- they are the december finches). entonces, in january we switched to private tutors where the learning is more targeted to your individual strengths/weaknesses and every word you speak is in spanish. plus it gave us more time to write/play poker/live etc.
december was also different from january in that the city was hot as heck, humid, and packed with people. there were events almost every night. we went to a jazz festival, inside and outdoor concerts, a futbol game, etc etc and one of the cooler city events i have seen-- noche de las librerias, or the night of the bookstores. they block off a main drag (corrientes) to pedestrian traffic and have live music while people wander about looking at and buying books. this is one of my favorite stretches in buenos aires, as it is crowded with bookstores (my favorite thing on earth outside of "parks and recreation") and theaters. on this night, the bookstores have big sales and stay open until 2 am. it was mad cool. the busyness of december is partially why this blog was not born until january.
in december we were still finding our feet. i learned not to have my gadgets out and not to text while walking and other idiot-american activities (my blackberry was stolen while i was using the GPS, ugh). we did a lot of fun tourist-y sight seeing, like going to the big san telmo fair. we went to a lot of dinners. it felt sort of like a vacation with intensive school, whereas january has felt more like we just live here like humans. it took me awhile to start jogging with my ipod and that sort of thing. and we cook a lot more now, etc.
one thing that has been consistent is my obsession with the ice cream. it is called helado (secondary to the italian influences) and it is creamier, denser, tastier, and superior to american ice cream in every way. i will devote a separate post to my helado explorations, flavors, and establishments as this has been the main focal point of my culinary experience. (lostie will have to blog on the meat, because i just eat this grilled cheese thing called provoleta at the parrillas.) helado allows for the combination of the classic argentine confection dulce de leche (like caramel, but much much better) and ice cream which has revolutionized my existence. i am going to go eat some now even though i haven't had lunch yet. damn you, helado. damn you!