Recap: Buenos Aires

16 10 2009

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is an awesome city. It reminds me of New York, San Francisco, Barcelona and Paris all combined into one. There are endless amount of restaurants, bars and coffee shops. The Subte (metro) and the bus lines are very efficient (except when there is traffic) and easy to navigate. There are also quite a few nice parks.  Not to mention, the nightlife is great.

Like any big city, there are all types of people, friendly and unfriendly. For example, a recent friend and I were lost, and we asked a local businesswoman for directions. She spent several minutes talking to us and showing us the right way to go. The unfriendly person I encountered was a professional dog walker. There are tons of dog walkers here who walk between about  five and twelve dogs all at once. They take their job very seriously, and I learned that they hate it if you take pictures of them. So unfortunately, I didn’t snap any good pics of them. I’m not sure that anyone picks up the dog droppings though, because there is dog poop everywhere! Luckily, I have been careful, and I have avoided stepping in it.

Here are some more observations I’ve made about the city and culture:

  • The Spanish here is much harder to understand and speak than in other parts of South America. The accent is different, and they use the “vos” form instead of the “tu” form. I hear Chileans are the hardest to understand.
  • Marijuana is just as prevalent or more prevalent than in San Francisco. I went to a soccer game, and people were smoking it close to the front row. No one seemed to mind since it’s so accepted here.
  • The men here are aggressive. They will usually say something to you when you walk past them. Also, many of them have mullets, and it’s a completely normal haircut here.
  • There are McDonald’s and Burger Kings everywhere. It literally seems like there is one at every corner.
  • Porteños (people from Buenos Aires) are proud.
  • The expats are really friendly. I’ve enjoyed some great meals and delicious Argentine wine with new friends.
  • All the taxis are yellow and black.
  • Tango is the national dance. People dance on the streets, in restaurants and professionally in theaters.
  • Soccer is obviously very huge here. Maradona, one of the most famous soccer players of all time, is the coach for Argentina’s team. There are photos and statues of him everywhere.
  • Empanadas and alfajores are everywhere. For people who don’t know what an alfajor is, it’s basically two cookies with filling inside. The cookies can be chocolate or sugar, and the filling is usually chocolate or dulce de leche. They are delicious and deadly.

Next Steps

Tomorrow, I go to Uruguay for a few days. Then, I’ll come back to Buenos Aires for a day or two. After that, I’ll head to Cordoba and Mendoza, and then Chile.

I have decided not to pursue work here in Buenos Aires. It’s a great city, but the pay is not worth it to me.  I could look for other, non-teaching jobs, but I’d rather stick to teaching. In Chile, I have a couple of job interviews lined up. However, it is not really hiring season. So, I am seriously considering teaching in South Korea. The benefits and pay are phenomenal, and they are always hiring in Asia. I figure I can teach in South Korea for a year or two, save up some money, and then return to South America to teach when I have more spending cash. That way, I can enjoy my time here more and take more time to learn Spanish.

If I go down the South Korea route, I’ll tour around South America for another month or so and then return to California for a little bit. If that’s the case, there’s a high chance I’ll be back in California for New Year’s Eve.

Below are some snapshots of the city.

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

Maradona Statue

Maradona Statue

Tango

Tango

Soccer Game

Soccer Game

Soccer Game

Soccer Game

Obelisco

Obelisco

Financial District

Financial District

Ecological Reserve

Ecological Reserve

Ferry Entering the Harbor

Ferry Entering the Harbor

Apartments

Apartments

Night Club

Night Club

Park

Park

Alfajor

Alfajor