So, we´re in the middle of the end of classes here. I’ve only got one more week, and I´m a free woman. This unfortunately means a bit of stress, so it was awesome that last weekend IFSA brought us all to San Rafael to go swimming and hiking and rafting. We jumped into the cold water of the Valle Grande Dike and lounged on the beach tomando sol. A group of boys actually climbed all the way to the top of a giant sand dune, slipping down about half the area they climbed with each step, then jumping their way down. The climb was at about a 90 degree angle. This was hilarious to watch, as you can imagine. Especially on the way down.
Also, we saw 6 condors!! Condors are ¨new world¨vultures, and the largest birds in America with a wingspan of up to 9 and a half feet. They are apparently endangered and rare to see, but since we are up in the Andes, we got to see six this weekend!!
It was awesome to just get away for a weekend to relax in beautiful cabins in the mountains. Also, the food was delicious. We ate an asado, and we had vegetables!! Vegetables are always exciting down here because they are lacking in our diet. It is normal that your daily serving of vegetables here is one type of potato, mashed or in the form of french fries, or your ensalada with just lettuce and a bit of tomato. When we see a salad bar, we go a little crazy.
Here are some pictures of the beautiful scenery this weekend:
Jardín de Cabañas en Cerro Encantado
This is the garden of our cottages. A river ran through it. There were also pools here and there for us to enjoy.
Valle Grande Dike
This is the beach where we went swimming at Valle Grande Dike.
Another photo of the beach we were at.
Here we are walking up the mountain covered in sand. Later, when we emptied our shoes, we had a competition to see who had the biggest pile of sand. Elise won by a long shot.
The Canyon where we were hiking.
I´ve been having a great time here in Argentina. I have awesome classes in the University of Cuyo and we´ve learned to dance folklore and tango in our dance class at Chopin. Tonight we might be going out to dance milonga on Aristides so we can show off our new moves. We just had our tango exam Monday, so we´re as good as we´ll ever be!
As I mentioned last post, we´ve also really been enjoying the food. I wouldn´t go so far as to say too much, but last night my host sister and I were joking about it and she said then when I got back to the states and lose the weight I´ve put on, about ten pounds, I can always have the pair of larger Argentine pants as a ¨recuerdo¨of my time here. we all joke about the weight we´ve put on; stories about unzipping jeans to sit down and eat, then forgetting to zip them back up, some people can only fit in one of their jeans, we all have funny stories relating to fattening up in Argentina. But, amazingly, we are all happy with ourselves. We´re thoroughly enjoying the pounds of bichotes, facturas, churros, media lunas and dulce de leche, and of course, asado, that we have been eating for these last few months. No one would dare think of dieting and missing out, especially not with only one more month to enjoy these delicious treats!! No, we´re all going out to buy new pants. Yay new pants!! I realized how much a part of studying abroad the food has been yesterday when we had the Dean or Provost of Barnard come to visit and I gave her a list of all the goodies she had to eat before leaving today; in the mercado central: pizza, 2 slices covered in grease and a jugo for 6 pesos, empanadas: jamon y queso, carne, and caprese, and the deliciously glazed peanuts, in Grido Helado: the 3 bola waffle cone dipped in chocolate and nuts also for 6 pesos, in a little kiosk that is really a panaderia: churros and tortita frita (it´s like a doughboy, but thicker, more delicious and absoutely covered in granulated sugar!).
We are currently most excited about the helado because the summer is here. We have crickets chirping and nice warm weather with beautiful nights for walking.Last night my host sister and I went for a walk in the park before dinner, (we got back at 10), and it was breathtaking. Everyone here is always exercising and the park was full of people, all chatting and walking or running, or rollerblading as that is very popular here right now. I feel really lucky to have been able to get close to my host sister. Last night walking with her, musing about life and boy and happiness, I was very sad to be leaving so soon.