Friday, February 20, 2009

7 Months

I started to think of all the things I haven’t done since I left for Argentina. Some good, some bad.
-Eaten shrimp
-Eaten tofu
-Consumed high fructose corn syrup
-Driven a car
-Used a drier
-Taken a test
-Done a math equation

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Counting Sheep

Traffic was at a stand still en route to Punta Arenas...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stay Tuned

I have made a resolution to write at least two entries per week in my blog. This is a huge increase over what I have been doing. I also would like to do some more interactive blogging where people leave responses to questions, etc so if you have any questions for me about my experiences, Argentina or anything else leave a comment on one of my posts and I’ll try to answer them in future blog posts. I’ve also given my blog a slightly new look. Keep checking in!


I watch movies and television in Spanish and I speak Spanish all day long but I have one guilty “English-speaking” pleasure and that’s reading in English. Since my parents brought me books from the United States I have read:
-Stubborn Twig the Oregon Reads book about a Japanese American family in Hood River.
-The Road by Cormac McCarthy
-The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Right now I’m reading On The Road by Jack Kerouac and then I’ll read either Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey or Lion in the White House: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt by Aidan Donald. After that I’ll be out of books in English.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wishing and Waiting...

So it looks like I'm spending 3 weeks of March in Santiago, Chile. Roundtrip airfare from Punta Arenas (3 hours from Rio Gallegos) to Santiago, Chile? 160$ USD. The only tricky part is we have to buy the tickets in Chile, which means a 3 hour drive to Punta Arenas.

I'm also trying to snag a Radiohead ticket for the 26th in Santiago.

0 tickets down, 2 to go.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Communication (or the lack thereof)

I have had the worst luck making phone calls within this country. First of all I don't understand why you're phone number is different when someone is calling you long distance (you have to take away 15 and ad it somewhere else and then plug in a zero and some other code). Second of all it drives me crazy that most people do not have calling plans that allow them to call from their home phone to a cell phone. I can also send text messages on skype to cell phones in France and the United States but for some reason not in Argentina. It costs about an arm and a leg to make a call from a cell phone so about the only thing you can do is send text messages.

After having my first cell phone stolen I went in to buy another one in Buenos Aires. They told me that they were out of Rio Gallegos numbers but that I could switch from a Buenos Aires to a Rio Gallegos number within two months. But I can't go into one of the company's stores. I have to do it over the phone. In Spanish.

I'm now at Günes house (the Turkish exhange student) where, after running out of credit and trying to use her chip in my cell phone to send a message to a friend who sent me a message on my phone (we would use her phone but it's not allowing her to send messages right now), I have locked myself out of my phone without my friend's cell phone number. So I called my home phone (using Günes' home phone) to get my friend's cell phone number. I went online to my cell provider's website where you can send free text messages. I was told his number doesn't exist, although I'm not sure I used the correct combination of 15s. So we gave in and called his cell phone (using Günes' phone which you must remember can make calls which are expensive but cannot send messages (although it can receive messages (that's another story))). So his phone rang and rang and eventually went to voice mail. I left a voice message telling him that I was coming over later and to send me a text message to my cell (my phone chip is currently in another phone without any of my contacts). Meanwhile he sends a message to Günes' cell saying he can't answer the incoming call and wants to know who is calling him. Shortly after I received a message on my phone (not really mine, just unil I can unlock my real one) from him telling us to come over at 10. Did you follow all that?

So now I've got to go back to my house, write down my host parents' cell numbers and buy a phone card. Tomorrow I'll try to unlock my phone and change the number to a Rio Gallegos number. If you need to get ahold of me I recommend e-mail.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Buenos Aires

I can’t think of many cities that I don’t like (Los Angeles) so when I say that I absolutely love Buenos Aires I know my words don’t carry much weight. However, having seen most of Argentina as well as parts of Chile and Uruguay, I can say that it is my favorite part of Argentina.
Best of Buenos Aires:
• Recoleta Cemetery- Burial sight of Argentina’s wealthy and powerful, Recoleta, with its stone mausoleums of designs varying from modest to outrageous, has a certain charm: abandoned graves—I’ve literally seen a basket with a skull and bones inside—to polished marble buildings lit on the inside by crystal chandeliers, the eclectic mix of new and old, rich and famous, remembered and forgotten.
• Palermo SoHo- My favorite neighborhood. Not quite as ritzy as Barrio Recoleta and with a hell of a lot younger residents, Palermo is dominated by boutique shopping, trendy restaurants, and café culture.
• Café culture- When you go to a café in Buenos Aires you see your waiter three times: when they give you the menu, when they take your order, and when they give you the check. Having been accosted one too many a time by the over zealous Red Robin waiter, the hands off-take your time to enjoy your meal and company attitude is especially appealing. You can leave the tip calculator behind as well; gratuity is included in the bill.
• Taxis- Unlike in the United States the taxis in Buenos Aires are pleasantly cheap (a 20 minute cab ride costs about $6 USD) plus the ride is always an adventure. Lanes are a suggestion on 9 de Julio, the worlds widest avenue. I’ve met some really interesting taxi drivers in Buenos Aires. My favorite would have to be the driver singing along with “I Want to Know What Love Is” on the way to the airport.
• Culture Clash- 1/3 of Argentines are of Italian ancestry. Great gnocchi. Angry drivers.