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URUGUAY! oh, and scorpions…

So the weekend before last was my trip to Uruguay (one of IFSA’s included excursions), but before I get to the details about that, I’ve gotta share what my day had in store for me today…

Of course I can’t go one blog without talking about food, so I’ll start off with lunch.  I was walking down Corrientes and ran into a sandwich shop that sells pre-made sandwiches/salads/empanadas/tartas etc., so I decided to go in for a salad since I barely have the opportunity to eat something healthy for lunch.  Anyway, salad and sandwich in-hand i scooped up a little lidded soufflé cup of caesar dressing to put on my salad when one of the workers came out with a load of others that were… get this… RANCH. I basically died right there, as I thought my month-long search for ranch was over.  Welp, I was wrong.  I got back to my apartment and decided I was going to dip my sandwich in the ranch and have the caesar on my salad.  To my terrible disappointment, the ranch tasted like an unsavory blend of butter and mayo.  So then I went in for my salad and the aroma of fish hit my nose.  I remember looking on the back of bottles of caesar in the states and seeing anchovy at the bottom of the ingredient list, but this scent felt like it was penetrating my brain.  I couldn’t even finish the salad; it was so disappointing! So, now that I’ve written a sizeable paragraph about how my quest for sauce in Argentina has failed once again, I’ll continue on with the rest of my day.

Figuring out classes here is terrible.  Point blank.  In short, I’m now only going to be taking 4 classes for a total of 14 credits (one short of my normal 15-credit load), BUT it’s only going to transfer as 12 credits at UVa because my school isn’t going to accept Di Tella’s strange 5-credit-per-class rule.  I was going to take an art class to make it a total of 17 here and 15 at home, but then IFSA sent me my mandatory castellano schedule, and that plan died.  So, in the end, I’ll be taking 12 credits (US… I feel like I’m exchanging currency), and they’re only Tues-Thurs.  I’m not complaining about the schedule, I just feel like I’m a bit of a waste of life.  Anyway, I got home from a run at the park to clear my head from the class nonsense, and Norma brought me into my bathroom and was telling me to pour half a gallon of bleach down the flood drain after I use the bathroom because there is some sort of infestation of bugs (of which I couldn’t understand the translation).  So as we were laughing about how much she was freaking out, I asked her how to spell the insect’s name in castellano. Translation: scorpion.  Apparently a neighbor downstairs walked into her living room to find her dog barking at a scorpion on the floor, claws raised, stinger pointed.  I was actually a little taken aback, but as Norma ran around pretending like she had pincers snapping at Sebastian’s feet, I kinda forgot about it.  Then my dad came in later and told me to wear shoes around the house, and when I get up I need to shake out my shoes to make sure none crawl inside because those “hijos de puta” (translate it for yourself) crawl into dark places.  I’m still traipsing around in bare feet because bugs don’t bother me too much, but who knows what I’ll be thinking when I go to sleep in the dark tonight.

Okay, so now for Uruguay.  If I could choose a few words to describe my trip, they would be:

Tranquil

Quiet

Beach

Relaxed.

Not a bad combo, huh?  Anyone who makes their way to Buenos Aires for a week or more HAS TO make their way to Colonia, Uruguay.  The only formerly Portuguese town in Uruguay, population ~26,000, is a truly amazing place, and I enjoyed every second I was there.  The beaches are much nicer than those in Mar del Plata, you can get there on a 50-minute ferry ride (although of course ours was the 3-hour one), and it’s just a great place to relax and get out of the go-go-go mindset of BsAs.  Although my friends joked that you could buy a sandwich for 1,000,000 pesos, which would equal $1, the exchange rate was 19-1.  Even though I treated myself to some nicer meals, food was generally cheaper than in BsAs, the shady cobblestone streets were populated with a decent amount of mate-in-hand residents and tourists, and a lot of the IFSA kids were buzzing by on four-wheelers, vespas, and golf carts.  A perfect setting.

The first day, we went for lunch at the director of the program (Mario)’s house for lunch.  It was INCREDIBLE. His estancia was enormous, furnished with a pool, ponds, lemon orchard, fruit trees, and a 15-minute walk from the beach.  From the moment that I set my foot down on the soil until I heaved my much-darker body back onto the ferry, I was relaxed and completely enjoying every part of the trip.  Viva Uruguay! I’m definitely going back.

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