A Travellerspoint blog

¿Habla Espanol?

School, football and tourism in Buenos Aires

all seasons in one day 16 °C
View South America on Davelanky's travel map.

Well, I'm coming to the end of my time in Buenos Aires, so thought I better make use of the internet whilst it's still freely available to write another post.

The last week has been incredibly hectic and great fun. I have been studying Spanish at the Academia Buenos Aires to try and get a basic grasp of the language before I go any further. This has involved 4 hours of lessons each morning, working on grammar, conversation and vocabulary. It has been very stimulating and really enjoyable, and I feel a lot more confident about speaking and understanding basic Spanish. Hopefully with lots of practice it can only get better.

As part of the course, I have also been staying with an Argentinian family. My hostess has been Marisa, a mother of three grown-up chidren, lwho lives in a lovely flat in San Telmo with Mayra the dog, and Vito and Max the cats. Marisa has been a lovely host, and it has been really interesting getting to experience life in Argentina and to know more about the country. Marisa is also a great cook, and any hope I had of losing a few pounds has been put on hold whilst I have been fed one delicious meal after another. Fortunately I´m also doing a fair bit of walking, which has stopped me getting El Gordo!

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My Argentine family

The afternoons have been filled with the usual tourist activities; visiting Recoleta, which is the famous cemetary where Evita is buries. It is filed with the most amazing mausolea and is very impressive. As usual I was taking excessive numbers of photos, but the fact it's more than just a tourist attraction was brought home to me when I bumped into an actual funeral party, complete with sobbing women.

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Cementario Recoleta

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Cementario Recoleta

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Evita's tomb

Other highlights have included exploring the city centre and visiting Casa Rosada and of course watching lots of football. I also visited La Boca and Estadio Boca Juniors, the home of Boca Juniors football club. It's an impressive edifice, with some lovely board faced exposed concrete finishes for the engineers amongst us! I took the tour, which unfortunately was only in Spanish, but was still interesting. I´m not sure the changing room was quite up to Premier League standards, but maybe that's why Argentina can play football!

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Casa Rosada, literally "the Pink House"

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Estadio Boca Juniors - lovely bit of concrete!

The Argentina game was shown here on Thursday at 8.30 in the morning, so we all went into school early and watched it there. I was hoping Messi would score, as I've gone as far as to get a dodgy Argentina shirt (no.10 of course), but sadly he just missed a couple of times. They are still looking very impressive though, unlike a dire England performance on Friday. The most entertaining aspect was that ESPN had sent a camera crew to film in the (largely English) bar I was watching it in, and after the game they interviewed me for Argentinian tv. Fortunately my Spanish isn´t good enough to say what I really thought, but I managed a few phrases (mostly "yo pienso Inglaterra esta muy muy mal").

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Even the dogs are supporting Argentina!

Later today I'm leaving BA for Posadas, to start my trip north. I still haven't quite figured out my route, but will probably pop into Paraguay for a few days before heading towards Iguazu and Brazil. So the next post is likely to be from Brazil. Now I'm off to catch a bus...

Posted by Davelanky 15:47 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Gol!

Coupa Mondial in Argentina

all seasons in one day 15 °C
View South America on Davelanky's travel map.

A horrible wet day 5 days into my trip has given me the excuse/opportunity to write my first blog post actually from South America.

After the expected last minute panic as I ran out of time to pack, prepare and generally make sure I had everything, the traveling went very smoothly. I landed on Thursday morning, with a beautiful sunrise as the plane landed to welcome me to Buenos Aires. Getting a bus ticket into town was fairly easy, apart from the realisation that my few phrases of Spanish I had been learning were great until someone spoke back to me at ten times the speed, at which point I was completely lost. Definitely some work needed there.

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The rest of Thursday was taken up with finding the hostel, and then some low key acclimatisation wandering around the city centre, including an amazing shopping centre with some very impressive decoration:-

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I was lucky enough to find my dorm already housed two Americans and one Brit, creating a ready-made rivalry for the football later in the week. In the weird way these things happen it turned out Nicky, the other English guy, had also been to Bath uni, although a few years after me - it´s a small world!

Friday saw the beginning of the World Cup, together with the realisation that I may not get much sightseeing done until the football finishes. By the time I had watched the opening ceremony, South Africa vs Mexico (with some Mexicans) and France vs Uruguay (with some French guys), there wasn´t time to do much more than have a quick wander round San Telmo, the area the hostel is in. It´s a slightly run-down, but beautiful area, with some fantastic streets and buildings. I´m beginning to see why people can fall in love with BA.

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On saturday the weather was awful, which gave the perfect excuse to watch lots more football. The highlights were the Argentina game, which Nicky and I watched in a local bar with a cacophony of whistles, rattles, clapping singing and general excitement (note my carefully chosen shirt colour). It was a great atmosphere, particularly as Argentina won! The England game was a complete comedown, with Rob Green´s howler giving the Americans in my dorm bragging rights (well they though it was a win for them).

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I also moved out of the dorm in with my host family for the next week whilst I do my Spanish course. My hostess Marisa has three children who have left home, as well as a dog, two cats and several toads in the garden, all of whom are very friendly. I´m sure it´s going to be a lot of fun, not to mention help my Spanish - I spoke more in the first 2hrs than I had the previous 3 days.

Sunday was slightly better, so I enjoyed a morning at the antiques market, together with some geriatric tango performances before heading out to the Evita museum. This was really good, but fairly one-sided (being pro-peronista). It was very interesting to hear a different side of the story from Marisa later.

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I think that´s probably far too much already, and I´ve got to do my Spanish homework, so I better go get on. Fingers crossed for better weather later in the week (not to mention an England win).

Posted by Davelanky 14:31 Archived in Argentina Comments (3)

Leaving

The time has come...

semi-overcast 17 °C

"DLa LWD, Return 04/01/2011*". These fateful words in my office daily diary last Friday were the sign that I'm really off and there's no turning back. Leaving work on Friday was the first time it really hit home what I'm doing, and I could definitely feel the butterflies churning in my stomach.

The last couple of weeks have been a blur finishing work projects, seeing friends and trying to sort out all my packing.
The highlight was my combined 30th birthday and leaving party last weekend, which was a fantastic opportunity to see everyone and say goodbye. Thanks to everyone who made it, I had a great time (from what I can remember).

I'm writing this back at my parent's house, 71/2 hours till my flight and I still have a long list of things to do, not least packing my bags. Next time I write a post it will be from South America - I still can't quite believe that!

  • "David Lankester, Last Working Day, Return to work 04/01/2011" for those of you wondering

Posted by Davelanky 00:35 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (3)

Getting Ready

sunny 18 °C

Well, here it is.

After several weeks of pondering, I've finally managed to come up with a (not particularly witty) name for my blog. Hopefully this will be where I keep the few interested people up to speed on my various misadventures in South America.

There are currently 19 days to go before my flight, and I'm sitting in the office putting off an increasingly long list of things still to do to write this. So, on that note, and with nothing much else to say, I better go and get on...

Posted by Davelanky 10:38 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged packing Comments (0)

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