2010 Argentina Trip Abroad
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Journal entry for events from Thursday, January 14th.
It is another great day in Buenos Aires! Today, we went to the Plaza de Mayo. This is a major center where the Casa Rosada, the Argentine seat of government, among many other things are located. It was really interesting getting to be in such a historic and important part of the city.
While we were here, we saw the Madres De La Plaza de Mayo, a group of women who march in circles around the plaza, protesting the government. This organization started after the disappearance of many of these mother's children during a military exploit in the late 20th century.
While also happening while we were there, there was a workers union protest going on. It's interesting to see people so actively protesting their government. In America, we never see things like this. The people here try to work to change their government.
After spending a while in the Plaza, we went to la Calle Florida, the major shopping street in the city. We passed by tons and tons of shops, stalls, and street artisans. We were all exhausted after our eventful day.
We had been looking forward to this weekend the entire two weeks leading up to it. Estancia La Juanita is a quaint and beautiful ranch located in the countryside two hours south of Buenos Aires. We spent the weekend there to have free time and relax. We arrived at the estancia at around 2 in the afternoon and immediately went to our rooms to unpack. Each room was different, very charming, and spacious enough to hold two of us comfortably. Shortly after we were welcomed with a hearty lunch - one of the biggest I have had in my entire life - filled with steak, lamb, more steak, and to top it off a sweet flan smothered in dulce de leche. Although we were stuffed, we then had an epic soccer match. Everyone played a fun and aggressive game, which resulted in a tie. Overwhelmed by the heat, we decided to take a refreshing swim. The water was cool and offered relaxation after a busy two weeks. We were lured away from the pool by the colorful sunset that we will never forget. That night we ate a delicious dinner of chicken and rice covered in a special creamy sauce. Following our meal we went outside and gazed at the stars as our guide and our friend Fede explained the constellations. After we played many rounds of our favorite game Lobo, a Spanish version of the game Mafia. Finally we returned outside and enjoyed a late night. The following morning we awoke to a breakfast of tea and croissants (called media lunas, or half-moons). We spent the rest of our day hanging out by the pool swimming and getting sunburns. We were very sad as we loaded our bags into the combi and drove back to Buenos Aires. All of us wish we could have stayed there another night if not a week. Our time at the estancia was definitely a major highlight of the trip!
Wow. Yesterday was a another huge day. We woke up early and loaded the bus to El Tigre. El Tigre is the name of the massive swamp at the delta of the Rio de La Plata.
After arriving at the city of El Tigre, we took one of the many lanchas into the swamp. There are hundreds of islands in El Tigre and all are lined with houses and docks. The boat ride was about forty-five minutes and it was fun to see all the local families fishing, playing soccer, and eating out on their docks. The Islands are almost completely cut off from Buenos Aires, as they must receive all their provisions from the supply boats.
We soon arrived at Delta Aventura. It is a marvelous estancia filled with fun activities. As soon as we got there we began to play soccer and ride the giant zip line that had been strung from the tallest tree.
Before no time, we were hearing bells and we all rushed to the dock for lunch. We had one of the best meals so far on the trip, which consisted of sizzling platters of steak and sausage.
We then took a nature hike in the vast swamps behind the estancia and saw some incredible vistas. After returning from the hike, we separated into groups of three and began canoeing down the river. The guides showed us the way to a lake where we took turns swimming. We got back to the estancia just in time to catch the last ferry back to the port. It was another great day.
It is another sunny day in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It seems like every moment our Spanish is put to the test, in our apartments, on tours, and nearly every single encounter with anyone else. We even use Spanish talking to each other. Yesterday we went to the MALBA, of the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, a modern art citadel bursting at the seams with Latin-American art. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera originals covered the walls, a truly interesting moment for all of us. Ironically, there was a large temporary exhibit on Andy Warhol, called "Mr. America". We saw his Marilyn prints, Campbell's soup can masterpieces, and his wide array of photos. Of course, the tour was in Spanish, and we understood every word. After the museum, we spent a while wandering the halls of a mall (centro) in downtown. Only in Argentina do you have to ask for un-carbonated at a McDonald's! The evening was spent with each of our families, speaking Spanish and enjoying the local cuisine. Each day is a new experience.
Today we had a very eventful day. We went on a city tour, and we got a lot of shopping done for our family and friends back home. At the fair, our group saw lots of deals including dresses and fork sculptures. The market had tons of finely made leather goods that we learned are a large part of the local culture.
Next, we went to lunch and enjoyed steak, blood sausage, and fries. After lunch, we explored Boca, a poor neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It is home to the Boca Juniors whose stadium we toured a couple days ago. We walked around the shops to buy even more souvenirs. We had plenty to write about in our journals.
-- AS and CV
Throughout this trip we have been attending and studying various different sites in and around Buenos Aires. On Saturday however, we did something quite different.
We traveled by boat to Colonia, Uruguay. It was about a three-hour boat trip, and when we arrived in Colonia, we saw a very unfamiliar and interesting site. Cobblestone streets and ancient looking stone houses surrounded us. Then, we traveled out away from the city and to an old estancia. There, we ate a delicious lunch consisting of beef and empanadas. We then went on a tour of the estancia and saw sets of collections that the owner of the estancia had made over his life. The most astonishing of these collections was the 11,000 pencils that were laid out on the wall. After the tour, we were given free time to roam around the estancia. We played on an old playground, and also looked up-close at a group of emus.
After we left the estancia, we went back to the city area of Colonia and took a short and interesting tour of the old town. After the tour, we went with our friend Fredrico to a small beach, walked around in the sand for a while. After the beach we walked back towards our bus, stopping for ice cream along the way. We then made the relaxing boat trip home and got back to our houses to indulge in a nice night of sleep.
Greetings from Argentina where we arrived to beautiful California-type weather after a very long and tiring 10-hour flight. Everyone has pretty much caught up on his rest by now (day 4, Friday). We have had empanadas, alfajores, and carne asada, so as you can imagine there are no complaints regarding the food. Wed afternoon we visited the Japanese Gardens and then had a Tango lesson. You would have been surprised at how well the students picked this dance up -- at least the beginning part!! Everyone is starting to feel a lot more confident with his Spanish skills, and this will only continue!