Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Waking Up in a New Room, Again.

Time is escaping quickly, I just realized I haven't posted anything in several weeks. I moved to a new part of the city, San Telmo, which is an authentic older part of the city known as the tango district. The culture is very rich in this part of the city as you can find a place to dance tango within nearly four blocks of corner and the nightlife is second to none. San Telmo is the place to be on Sundays as it hosts a large street fair where numerous creative artists make an appearance to earn a couple pesos for their hard work. The antique, cultural ambience in this barrio provides a confirmed sentiment that this is the Argentina I had dreamt of before flipping my world.

Not to be confused with Palermo or Recoleta, which are much nicer areas of the city, San Telmo still has everything you need and fills the role of tourist central on the weekends. However, it is not an area to be a naive tourist aimlessly wandering the streets late night, some of the areas in San Telmo are to be avoided after 1am. I've discovered the best way to walk 'shady' streets late night while alone (which is not recommended for white boys in Latin America) is to camouflage yourself with your surroundings. Not literally but walk with a purpose and have a sense you know where you are and where you're going (even if you don't), street smarts: 102, feel free to laugh it out. As I'm writing this, I search for the nearest wood to knock on as to avoid jinxing my white boy street smarts.

The house:
Now, the neighborhood is great but its really about that place we call home. I found this home on a local website for renting apartments in Buenos Aires called compartodepto where you can find more reasonably priced apartments than craigslist. The catch, be ready to negotiate in Spanish. This was my a great experience due to the fact I had to call the owners (duenos) of these places and arrange times to meet and negotiate price, if necesarry, all in castellano. The house we settled on is a Bohemian style artistic home that provides a rather endearing feeling. My distractions have been cut enormously since there is no television here. Without a television present, this has left a greater amount of time for reading, internet research and conversing in Spanish. Every day I leave work, I leave the English language behind as well. The house is very simple, artistic, cultural and only one language is spoken, Spanish.

Vanessa y Josephina loving life over some mate

Since moving here nearly two weeks ago, I've already noticed a difference in my conversational skills. One of the housemates living here is an Argentine, Danny, who is from another province and prefers to speak mostly slang. Therefore, we are learning a lot of street Spanish which is hugely beneficial. Josephina is the renter of this apartment and she is an incredible artist. She is the reason this house has such a creative, cultural feeling. Josephina is in her 40's and possesses of load of knowledge from her many years of travel. Her stories are incredible and my favorite is how she climbed the Incan Trail in Peru to Machu Picchu with Manu Chao, who is one of my all-time favorite musicians. She has the picture to prove it because I certainly did not believe her at first. Unfortunately, Josephina and Danny are moving this weekend to travel more. Alexis (the funny French kid), Jenny (Australian study abroad girl), Mike (Chinito) and I (Colorado) round out the rest of the international vibes.
Josephina y yo Mike and I with Danny and Josephina

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