Buenos Aires Update, Day 37

Last modified on February 11th, 2011

As the title says, I’ve been in Buenos Aires now for 37 days. After next week, I will have officially crossed the half-way mark here, at which point I’ll be winding down and starting to get in my last sight seeing before leaving. I still have almost seven weeks here though, which is still quite a bit of time.

This last week was mostly uneventful, other than a very late night out at the pub last Saturday night. Unlike North America, most people don’t even go out on the weekends here until midnight, and often later. I was in a little pub at around 5am and they were still serving drinks to a packed establishment. Last call was shortly before 6am, at which point we all walked outside and saw the sun coming out. I got to meet a few people from Ireland that night, as well as a few new locals, so that was great. The same group of us is going out for round two this weekend (a little anti-Valentine’s day single pub crawl, which should be fun).

Next weekend I’m heading to Iguazu Falls, and I’m definitely looking forward to the adventure. I’m starting to get a little bit of cabin fever hanging out near my apartment all the time, so the change of scenery will do me good. I’m staying in a fairly nice hotel in Puerto Iguazu, and I fully intend to take advantage of the pool and the hot tub about 90 seconds after checking into my room there.

My trip to Ushuaia is also booked, and that will be my final adventure before leaving Buenos Aires in March. Thinking back on my flights down here, I really don’t know where the 14 hours went since I don’t really remember them – hopefully when I head to New York City next the flights are equally as uneventful. In fact, if you factor in Ushuaia and Iguazu Falls, I’ll have another 10 hours or so of flying under my belt before I leave. So I’m going to be a pro at flying before heading back to Vancouver.

With regards to New York City, I’ve gone and booked a hotel for Dale, Sara and I. We’ll be staying in the Flatiron District which is just a few blocks south of the Empire State Building, and within walking distance to both Chelsea and Greenwich Village. Previously I had stayed in a hotel just south of Central Park, which is about 30 blocks away from the Flatiron District – so it’ll undoubtedly be a far different (and far less touristy) experience.

Spanish Update

I need to get my ass back into gear and start studying Spanish again. I made great progress with my Spanish teacher, but haven’t really picked up a book since my lessons ended a week or so ago. So this weekend I’m going to sit down and practice/learn verbs for a few hours. I understand basic sentence structure here, but my lack of vocabulary in the area of verbs is what I perceive to be my biggest hold-up right now. So, hopefully by the end of the weekend I’ll have another 20 or so under my belt.

Shrinking Me

Other than December (where I pretty much abandoned my normal diet in favour of drinking beer and eating lots of food), I was on a pretty serious path to getting in better shape the last six months or so. I got on a scale around mid-December and was 15 lbs or so below where I was about four months prior, so I’m definitely on my way down.

Given that I don’t have a scale here, I can’t really tell the progress I’ve made with any absolute certainty. But a pair of jeans I bought in December that were tight then are now starting to get loose, so I think it’s still ongoing. I also have a belt that I’m sure I’m going to have to replace in New York City since I’m now on the last hole and it’s getting loose. All good things, so I’m happy.

Food In Buenos Aires

Other than amazing steaks, Buenos Aires isn’t really known internationally for its food. I read quite a few blog entries before coming here talking about how great the food is, and just as many where people found it rather bland and boring. My personal experience so far is that the cuisine down here is definitely more simple than back home, but it’s still rather tasty. One thing that’s certain is that spices are a lot harder to get down here. Other than basil (which is used on pizza here), the only other herb I’ve seen has been cilantro. Even in restaurants the only “spice” you’ll see on the table is salt – there’s no pepper. So most food down here has a really simple kind of taste.

For example, a pizza here is basically a simple pizza sauce on a thin-crust pizza with minimal toppings and cheese. It’s very light and actually pretty tasty. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I miss a big, tasty North American pizza, because that’s what I’ve been craving lately.

Steak down here is really good and Argentine beef is very tasty. But truthfully I’ve had a lot of great steaks back home too, and I would put those on par with the steaks I’ve had down here. But given the steaks down here taste so good and they generally only use a bit of salt to flavour them, that’s a pretty amazing feat when most steaks back home are loaded in BBQ sauce.

So, while I’m definitely enjoying the cuisine, it’ll be a nice change to have some North American foods again when I hit New York City.

The Ladies

The one question I keep getting asked over and over is how the ladies are in Buenos Aires. Maxim magazine rates Buenos Aires as one of the top destinations in the world for pretty ladies, so it’s about time I comment on it.

Definitely the ladies here have a unique look. Most are brunettes, and many have large, dark eyes. Compared to back home, most of the girls here are definitely slim and have naturally toned bodies. In short, they are definitely pretty girls. Thankfully most of the girls I’ve met have had personalities that match their appearance, something that one rarely encounters back in Vancouver.

One of the reasons you haven’t seen many photos of any yet is because I’ve been warned several times about taking a nice camera out in public here. While you see photographers on the streets with SLRs from time to time, having a nice camera sitting next to you in a bar for a few hours is just asking for someone to take it, so I haven’t even bothered yet. But at some point I’ll probably take one out, and hopefully have enough people around me helping to look after it that it shouldn’t be a big concern.

The Weekend

There’s a small chance I may go to a club later tonight called Asia de Cuba – it’s apparently one of the most happening spots in Buenos Aires, and it’s in Puerto Madero, about a 15 minute cab ride from here. I would like to go, but I’m also signed up for a pub crawl tomorrow night, and I don’t think I’m up for two nights in a row. But we’ll see. Either way, I’m looking forward to meeting up with a few locals tomorrow for dinner, and taking in a Valentine’s day pub crawl. I’m fairly certain I’ll try bringing my camera out tomorrow, so we’ll see how that goes.

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