...It's true...We feel like VIP's! From the barrio de los barrios to the hippest Baires hood! How can this be?
7 months, 4 apartments, 4 neighborhoods, over 30 different bus lines, 500+ bus rides, and who-knows-how-many-teaching-institutes later, here we are...Cozily curled up in the home-iest apartment---Nick, Caitlin, and I...And altogether working on a project as our full-time jobs. Oh, thank goodness!!! These past 7 months have been crazy...At times the most wonderful, at times the most stressful, but altogether, as we stand still in this moment, we realize that each moment here has been invaluable. And we are so thankful to now work together for something we believe in, to live in a new neighborhood where we feel a bit more in the heart of the city, and to look forward to the adventures ahead...
Caitlin has now been here for officially 2 weeks, and she has had some big tastes of Argentina! Here are the Argentine things she has already experienced:
We ate mouth-watering matambre (my personal favorite...matar means to kill, and hambre means hunger, so matambre literally means kill the hunger), ojo de bife, and PROVOLETA (or cheese-block, as Caitlin calls it...It's just a big hunk of provolone cheese baked until melty and crusted in herbs...It is my favorite Argentine goody.).
2) THE BEACH
The three of us spent the weekend in lovely San Bernardo, a five hour bus ride south of the city. It was beachy and perfect. We body-surfed the waves, sun-tanned on the sand, drank pineapple daquiris and ate, ate, ate.
3) SALSA (okay, that's more Cuban...but it's Latin, so we're going to throw it in there!)
That's the three of us before we got on the dance-floor. :-)
4) THE COLECTIVO/THE BUS
And boy has she gotten a taste of public transportation's good-bad-and ugly. Yesterday after work, Caitlin and I hopped on-board the 109, at the dreaded rush-hour of 6:45...It was packed to the brim, triple-layered. The poor bus driver--ten of us were clumped right next to him, as he tried to navigate through stop-and-go traffic. The only saving grace to the whole ride was that the driver was blasting, "Turn around, bright eyes!" over his speakers. Caitlin and I looked at each other right at the height of the song's passion, right at the height of the bus's over-crowdedness, and we summed up the situation: "Well, at least we won't forget this moment."
5) THE TBA TRAIN
After biking around the eco-reserve a week and a half ago, we all took the TBA train back to our friend Laura's house. We stood in the train car reserved for bikes, next to a little girl with a butterfly catcher attached to her bicycle, and across from the TBA drifters. The TBA drifters are two young men, obviously companions who meet up daily without needing to discuss meeting plans. I think they wander with little forethought, and that particular day found them drifting through barrios aboard the Linea San Martin. They were tattooed, froed, and a throw-back in general to the days when mischief was wholesome, and involved train hopping and annoying the other commuters by using the floor as their own personal bongo. I really loved them...I wonder where they are now?
Ah, Fernet. The death of me! Fernet is Argentina's national liquor, a somewhat minty, very herbal-esque and strong liquor that is drank mixed with Coca Cola...On Sunday night as we sat outside in San Bernardo, full from El Inmortal's amazing pasta, we finished off two bottles of wine (I think it might have been three in all seriousness) with a Fernet and Coke. Oh my goodness was it fun at the time. And in the morning, it's been so long since I have really been drunk, I thought I had the flu...Until I remembered the Fernet. Oh, the 5 hour bus ride back to Buenos Aires was not so fun!!! But the fun of the evening before made it all worth it. :-)
On Caitlin's first weekend, we took her to the Recoleta cemetery, where we walked around the mazes of mausaleums and peered into the broken glass doorways that guard the entrance to Argentina's most elite resting sanctuaries. And of course we stopped by Evita's tomb, where there was a line of tourists with flashing bulbs, all scrambling to get a glimpse of Eva Duarte's final grave-spot (she made some brief detours to Spain, Italy, and the headquarters of the CGT union...with some interesting grave robber, hostage holding, and mummifying stories all thrown into the mix!).
I'm sure there is so much more, but my brain is a little fried from the scramble of today's move...But all I can say is that Caitlin is becoming quite the little Argentine!! :-)