finally, in buenos aires. had been waiting for this since late october and here i am! two 7ish hour plane rides (thankyou, stranger who offered me tylenol pm) and arguing with customs and immigration control (coincidentally take absolutely no notice and utterly rude until i yelled at them in spanish) no doubt will put a damper on arriving in a totally different country. but a good night’s rest and freshly-made bread generously spread with goops of freshly-made jam is an upper.
first of all, it’s been incredible how quickly i’ve reverted to speaking only spanish. hearing spanish all around is no doubt a drastic change but it feels very natural; in fact, as i write this i’m having trouble thinking straight in english. and my spanish accent, which i assumed would entertain humor and jokey imitations has actually seemed to charm the natives. “ahhh, che, pero vos de donde sos?!!” they say beaming, but i don’t really know how to answer where i’m from (ny/england/california/spain?) so i just say that my mum’s spanish and they think it’s a hoot, in a good way. and found out ‘platano’ means black banana (to cook with), when i asked for a ‘platano’ and he gave a black floppy one. so i told the fruit guy to give me a better platano and he gave me an even moldier one.
buenos aires is bustling. i love it. construction and scooters purring and loud conversation all around. my home (my host-mother’s apartment), and the nyu center, is in la recoleta. la recoleta is old and sycamore-tree-lined and reminds me a bit of paris with it’s large bay windows and white shutters, floral railings and flower pots. also a bit like madrid and italy with it’s traffic. however, you don’t forget you are in south america; there are fruit stands and ‘confiteria/panaderias’ (bakeries with ‘medialunas’ and flaky treats and yummy pastries stuffed with more juicy goodies) on every corner.
driving from the airport to buenos aires i recoiled as we drove by what looked to me like the projects, but with more weeds growing out of them, graffiti scribbled, and cardboard keeping it all up. this isn’t new york.
-they really like their chicken and their meat. haven’t seen anyone eating any vegetables and have failed to find any in my host-house.
-i can’t find any streetsigns. they seem to be painted below windows or advertised in a plaque that is off-brown to blend in with the off-tan walls.
-the older women are beautiful. did you know buenos aires is one of the most popular destinations to get plastic surgery? because it costs 1/3rd of what most operations will cost in the states. soooo that explains the leather-tanned older woman with their blond hair and perky assets.
-“fat-free” milk doesn’t exist here. it probably shouldn’t anyways.
-ate my first ‘alfajores’ just now. two crispy digestive cookies with dulce de leche in the middle, and some coconut and white chocolate on the outside. heaven.