The First Week (Written 7/27/14)
After a week full of doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments, trips to target, packing, and a long flight, I finally made it Buenos Aires! Within half an hour, we were through customs, picked up our bags, and were on our way to the city. I have never been to South America before, so I had no idea what to expect to see in Buenos Aires. The first thing I noticed is how enormous the city is. The drive from the airport the city took me past many different suburbs and neighborhoods, and you immediately get a sense of the diversity there is in this city. It is a melting pot for many different groups of people, and the variety of restaurants and shops, as well as architectural styles, serves as evidence of this mix. The other thing that struck me was how alive the city feels. If the economy is struggling as much they say it is, it’s hard to tell when walking down the streets. Every café, bakery, bar, and shop is packed with people at all hours of the day.
So far, the food has been amazing. My host-mom is a great cook, and I have had everything from milanesa to pumpkin soup. Café con leche and croissants has been my breakfast staple, and for lunch empanadas have been my favorite meal. I could honestly eat empanadas for every meal; they’re so good that I don’t get sick of them no matter how often I eat them.
Although I expected the city to be exciting, I am absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of things there are to do in Buenos Aires. It’s almost paralyzing, but luckily IFSA helped me get oriented with a dinner Wednesday night at a restaurant called Big Mamma. I got to have my first taste of Argentine steak there, and it definitely lived up to its reputation. Thursday night, we went to Fuerza Bruta, which was unlike anything I have ever seen before. It was a complete sensory overload. I have never really enjoyed theater that much, but I actually really liked Fuerza Bruta. I’m sure Spiderman: The Musical would have gotten better reviews if it had gone for a similarly disorienting route, but like I said, I also know nothing about theater.
Today I got to wonder around Belgrano, the neighborhood I live in, a bit. It’s a very pretty neighborhood and mostly residential, so it feels like an authentic Argentine living experience. Buenos Aires’ Chinatown is located here, and it looks like there are a lot of restaurants to check out!
It has been a long first week, but so far I’ve been blown away by Buenos Aires. The people are incredibly friendly and welcoming, the food is delicious, and there is so much to do here. I can’t wait to spend the next 4 months here and explore the city even more!