I’m starting a new, regular column to help keep me focused on writing and to capture the memories of our time living here in Buenos Aires (along with our travels elsewhere in the world). I’ll share things we’ve done this week, food we’ve eaten and any other interesting tidbits about life.
This week I headed out of Buenos Aires for a few days to Neuquén in the west of the country. Did you know that much of Patagonia is basically a cemetery for dinosaurs? They even recently found what’s believed to be the largest dinosaur EVER in Argentina! I popped into a small museum where we oohed and aahed over this little fella and got to touch REAL dinosaur eggs. Incredible.
The week in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is famous for tango dancing, and while we’ve seen a few performances on the street, I’ve never actually tried it myself. Until this week. I learned the basic steps with José y Luciana, famous Argentine tango dancers, in their home. My friend Evan has known José for quite a while and learned her moves from him, and she invited me along to a regular session held on Friday nights. It was the perfect way to start out, with a small group of people in a comfortable environment. I was transfixed watching the more seasoned dancers move around the room in what really is such a sensual dance.
Buenos Aires has a few secret bars dotted around the city – the thing is, they’re actually not so secret. You can find out about them pretty easily, which makes them a little more accessible. We headed downstairs to Florería Atlántico, a bar in Retiro that is accessed through a giant refrigerator door inside a florist on Calle Aroyo. The cocktails were incredible – from a huge list with so many choices it was hard to make a decision – and the food delicious. We nibbled on grilled prawns, perfectly cooked steak with chimichurri and crab and prawn empanadas in hip surroundings. The owners have recently opened up a brasserie next door which I’m keen to try out.
Sunday = fried chicken. Of course, right? NOLA has the best fried chicken ever. Period. Sitting in the sun, munching on fried chicken sandwiches and sipping on soda with honey and ginger was the perfect way to wind down the weekend.
My husband called me one day to tell me that a guy had yelled out “Flaco!” to him on the street and he was a bit distressed. You see, my husband is anything but skinny – he’s all muscle. But I quickly told him – and our Spanish teacher confirmed it – that in that case it was a way to call out to someone to get their attention (he had money hanging out his pocket and this kind soul was simply letting him know).
But “flaco” and “gordo” are actually mostly used as terms of endearment. We’ve often heard mothers calling their daughters “flaca” (skinny) or “gorda” (fat) and it’s not at all offensive. In fact, people call their loved ones “gordo” even if they’re all skin and bones – they also call larger people “gordo” or “gordito” and no one blinks an eye. These are not at all the taboo words that they are in English.
Chau gordos, hasta la próxima semana!