Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hasta Luego, Buenos Aires

Time sure flies when you're studying Spanish in a foreign nation. Can it be that I've already spent a month in Buenos Aires? This is now officially the longest term travel I've ever made, and sorry United States, but I just don't miss you enough to come back yet.

Initial Goals of Beginning Long-Term Travel Adventure With One Month in Buenos Aires, Argentina

  1. Learn enough of the Spanish language to travel more comfortably throughout Latin America
  2. Get to know Buenos Aires, which I had heard many good things about
  3. Meet other travelers
  4. Get my feet wet in the most Europeanized city in Latin America

Goal 1: Learn some basic Spanish

Mission accomplished. 
Four weeks was enough to get me through the semi-complicated different present tenses and through the fairly simple past tense. I definitely learned plenty to get around comfortably and hold simple conversations, but still my sentence formulation comes quite slowly, too slowly for practical use with strangers who aren't complete saints or have lost their sense of time. That will just take more practice and I might study again for a few weeks in Santiago, Chile or Medellin, Colombia in the new year.

Goal 2: Get to know Buenos Aires

Mission accomplished, at least at the level of someone who isn't living here long term. Buenos Aires is a friendly, large, loud, beautiful, stately night owl. It is not too dissimilar from most other cities around the world of 8-10 million people. It is thoughtful enough to have wonderful parks and plazas. It is friendly enough so that people are quite comfortable being in close contact with each other. The people, Portenos, are very considerate of others and work well in their density. Like, I think, most Latin or Spanish nations, it is a place where people eat lunch at 2:30, dinner at 10pm and don't show up at the nightclub until 2am where they party until past dawn.


Goal 3: Meet other travelers

Mission accomplished. Through the Spanish school I met a handful of terrific new friends that I hope to keep in touch with. I know it can be difficult, however, when everyone moves on to different parts of the world and next steps in life. But at least I plan on coming through their hometowns at some point in the coming years, so we will do our best.

Goal 4: Get my traveling feet wet

Mission accomplished. Buenos Aires is plenty different from Denver or Bozeman or St. Paul, but still similar enough to Chicago or New York that it is fairly easy for the American traveler to feel comfortable here. I am very much looking forward to visiting smaller cities, though, and doing some hiking in the Andes mountains. It seems the more I mature in life the more comfortable I am in smaller cities or just living in a cabin in the woods (with internet connection, of course, for I am not a savage). So the massive city experience is becoming something that I crave less and less.


Miscellaneous Buenos Aires Photos

This is Puerto Madero, the old port part of town that has recently been renovated into classy high-rise condominiums, an artsy pedestrian bridge and touristy restaurants.


This is the obelisk in the center of town two blocks from my hostel. It's a great landmark to help find my way home after a long and wandering walk.

Sean from Chicago reflecting the liquor cabinet at my favorite bar in town.


Funny story. The other night Sean and I were coming back to the hostel after a night out drinking. I was surprised to see that the OPEN 25 HOURS convenience store was closed. See the locked gate in photo. As I took the photo I noticed the guy in the back who I though was the overnight stockboy or something. He looked at me like I was crazy for taking his photo and walked up and asked to help me. It was then that I noticed an open gap in the locked gate to allow transactions. It is simply a late night precaution. I still can't find photographic evidence to disprove the notion of being open 25 hours a day, however.

Next Up: Patagonia

I'm completely psyched to be traveling next to mythic Patagonia, land of majestic mountain peaks, gauchos, and penguins. Here's my planned route after flying to Bariloche.

I'll try to take more pictures along this part of the route as I expect it to be spectacular. Here's one I stole off the interwebs as a teaser...



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