Why, hello there, it has been a while, hasn’t it? I have a pretty good excuse… I’ve moved countries! As I hinted in my last post, there is a new adventure ahead of me and it’s in Buenos Aires, Argentina!
My husband and I moved here just a little over two months ago, after a very long wait for our visas and we feel that we’ve really hit the jackpot – this city is ah-mazing! This city is definitely alive and we’ve spent a lot of time walking around and exploring as much as we can. It’s a really easy city to get around with cheap and plentiful public transport, and flat terrain for pounding the pavement.
I have to say that my blogging mojo got a little lost along the way, but I’m hoping that I can get back on track. So I thought to start things off I’d give a little taste of some of our first impressions of our new home.
Anyone who knows anything about Argentina will immediately start off by asking about the food – steak, red wine, anyone? We have indulged in plenty of those, but then there’s also the pastas, the pizzas, the facturas, the alfajores, the ice cream. And dulce de leche. Dulce de leche in everything. This country is just one big temptation after another and it is dangerous. My willpower has definitely been sapped. If you haven’t experienced the joys of food in Argentina, then this wonderful blog, Pick Up The Fork, written by an American expat living in Buenos Aires, will give you a taste of how you can very quickly expand your waistline living here.
And everything gets delivered. If you have a crazy desire for ice cream at midnight, you can get it delivered. Don’t want to cart your shopping back from the supermarket? They’ll deliver it for you. Run out of beer or wine? No problem, just jump on your phone, open your app and order away.
Well known as the “Paris of the South”, Buenos Aires is an amazing mix of buildings in a variety of styles: baroque, art deco, renaissance… I just actually sounded like I knew what I was talking about then. I don’t. I know nothing about architecture other than there are a lot of incredible buildings in this city. Take a look for yourself below.
The things to do
We are overwhelmed by how much stuff there is to do. You can easily spend days just looking at and wandering around this beautiful city, let alone then add in all the things that you can do. There are galleries, restaurants and bars, sculptures, and all sorts of classes ranging from music to photography to languages. Hundreds of companies offer tours to take you into hidden parts of the city and help you understand the complicated history and culture of Argentina. I recently joined a vocal techniques class at the Centro Cultural de San Martin as a way to improve my Spanish while belting out soul tunes, and the centre offers dozens of other fun things to learn. It’s just one of many cultural centres in the city.
We have been pretty damn lucky with winter here in Buenos Aires. There have been very few days where there hasn’t been a blue sky. It’s certainly not the tropical heat of Papua New Guinea (bring back perpetual summer!) but it will do very nicely, thank you.
Pardon the language, but there isn’t a street in this city that isn’t littered with dog shit. And all that beautiful architecture I just mentioned? It’s very hard to look at it while walking along for fear of stepping into one of those bombs. I highly recommend stopping and looking at buildings, not viewing while in motion. Luckily for you, I haven’t included any photo evidence here.
It’s true what you read: Argentines are a social bunch and they like to socialise as late into the night as they possibly can. We read about the late nights before we came here but didn’t quite believe it. It’s not uncommon for people to go out all night to a boliche (nightclub), finish up at 7am, have a quick nap and then be at work by 10am. The lines for restaurants are longest at 10 or 11pm and Argentines don’t eat dinner before 9pm. In fact, many restaurants don’t open their doors until 8 or 8.30pm. We see toddlers out at dinner at 10pm, and senior citizen wandering the streets at midnight.
So why is this on the bad list? For some party people, this is heaven. For us, it is hell. I can barely keep my eyes open after 10pm and I need time to digest a meal before going to bed. We celebrate wins when we go to bed at 11pm (woo hoo, we are almost porteños!) and the other weekend we ate dinner at TEN AT NIGHT.
The night rules here.
Argentines like to do things differently and that extends to Spanish. Everything I have learned about Spanish has been turned on its head since arriving here. Oops, I should say castellano, not Spanish. The Italian influence in Argentina has extended to the way people speak and I have to concentrate like hell when I’m listening to people. The “ll” is not a “y” sound, but rather a “sh” sound. And then there is the lunfardo! That’s Argentine slang – of which there is plenty.
Similar to the late night thing, Spanish is in the “bad” list because it is harder here than I expected. I LOVE listening to the way people speak – it is so different to everywhere else in the world – I just wish I could speak it so easily!
I have a lot of plans for exploring Buenos Aires, Argentina and South America more broadly – look forward to having you come back to read again soon!