Pues, I am finally here in Buenos Aires, Argentina!
What a whirlwind of a week it has been, and it hasn't even been a week.
This city is bigger than any place I've ever lived, and I think bigger than most cities I've been to. From what I can understand, there are around 12 million people in this city, but only 3 or 4 million of them live in the main center. Right, right, only 4 million...
Coming from a town of 33,000 to this is definitely insane. I commute every day on either the bus or the subway and each one takes about 45-50 minutes. And then I have to walk a few blocks. I love commuting. It's a nice way of learning the routes of buses and it's a good way to see everything.
Well, it'll be hard to EVER see everything here, how big it is.
I live in un barrio by the name of San Telmo. There are many barrios, neighborhoods, that make up the city. San Telmo has a residential area and also a touristy place where people come to buy lots of handmade goods and clothing. It's gorgeous, but sometimes living in a touristy area means the prices are also touristy.
Prices. Ah, let's talk about prices. 1 USD = 3.8 pesos here. I can get lunch for about 10 pesos. You do the math. Que barato! So cheap!
Well, things like food are usually cheap. But this week my whole group of friends from my college were trying to buy cell phones and THAT was awful. When the people working in stores see us come in and we speak, they immediately know that we speak poor Spanish and they jack up the prices. There is a guy from Barcelona who attends Knox, and is on this trip, and Spanish was his first language. He too needed a phone. He bought one for about 150 pesos. The next day, he told us where to go to get cheap phones. We went, and they told us 200 pesos or more for the same thing.
Luckily, I already had a phone from a friend on the program last year, so all I needed to do was buy a pay-as-you-go card for minutes, which you can buy from shops on the street, so that was not a big problem for me. But it was frustrating for all of my friends and also the fact that NONE of us could communicate much outside of classes.
Ah, classes. This week we have classes in which the professors come and explain for an hour what their class is about so we can decide if we like the subject and understand them well enough to take their class. I think I am going to be taking Literatura, La cultura de Argentina, yyyy posiblemente la Evolucion de la sociedad argentina (political class, methinks).
There are many abandoned animals in this city. It's very, very sad. Lots of dogs walking around look like they are going crazy. Many cats perch in windowsills outside. Que triste.... But also, there are many people who walk their dogs without leashes, through busy, crazy streets. Very obedient. That part is cool.
I am currently in a cafe with wifi, and I think soon we will go back home for dinner. Each barrio has a nice personality of its own. Me encanta. We eat VERY late here. Like 9 or 10pm. And also, meals here are an experience, not just something to get over with. If you go to a restaurant, expect to spend at LEAST 2 hours there, always.
I love this city so far. This weekend we go to Iguazu.
Dos besos, amigos! Adios.